Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Blown Caps

Blown Caps

The crud just keeps comin',
the sea fills with black grease.
Jobs are lost over,
could this all be like sheep?

Staple inches, swaybacks, to throw out or keep,
the leaks keep bubbling with tension and heat.
We float on the surface and cast out our booms,
we study the camera, watch flames blacken blue.

The rules are in place but the smashers keep breaking,
the bogs, like sheep, decline with a flu.
The slick will be absorbed nothing short of years to come,
blackening all, weakening, gunking slum.

Breed Parallels are troubling, the Brit is out,
America takes over, the sheeps' future stout.
If only BP wasn't on our minds,
we'd go back to history, and long be fine.

Do I own a rocking chair? Yes.
You can decide if I'm sitting there. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shetland Showcase 2010

Now's the time. It's time to address our upcoming show in Jefferson (Sept. 2010).

Many of you know the Shetland Showcase was entirely of my own creation and design. (See prior blog entry back in March). It is also well known that my desire in putting together such an event was to restore education, camaraderie, and integrity back to our organization, all while restoring excitement in the breed by bringing people back. (Shetland numbers had been declining, while the rest of the festival and other breeds were growing.) Shetlands are a breed with fascinating history and textiles, which deserve celebration and embrace, for these things set it soaringly high above what nearly any other breed on the planet can boast.

Upon presenting my idea to Juliann Budde, then Education Chair of NASSA (and MSSBA member) back in Sept. of 2009, my idea was forwarded to MSSBA (Midwest Shetland Sheep Breeders Assoc.) President Chris Greene, with my permission. Chris responded that she loved the idea, and asked me to be Chair. I accepted. She wrote that I should wait, so I did. Then all went silent. Worried, I blogged about my Shetland Showcase event in March. What I didn't know, was that Chris loved my idea so much, she went ahead with planning the event without me. Upon writing my blog entry about it, Chris responded. On March 11, 2010 she wrote, "I know that Shetland Showcase was your original idea. And that when we talked about it some months ago I asked you to be Chairman of the committee." She went on to say, "This was discussed by the MSSBA Board and we decided that if we continued with the idea to add an educational program to the WSWF weekend we would have to call it something other then Shetland Showcase and would have to design a program that would meet with the standards of the WSWF Committee (Amy here...of course)...and the majority of the MSSBA members." (italics mine...MSSBA is the root of and home base for much of the camp)

So! Now's the time to begin addressing this. Why? Because it is obvious the camp was in control here. They know my farm comes with representing the truth of the 1927 Breed Standard, and they didn't want that, for my representation conflicts with their intense desire to create a new, more modern and different Shetland. Many of these campers have piles of lambs to sell each year, so the "new" event would become a new tool to market these lambs and their fleeces.

My goal was to improve education, support, and joy to the event. For example, I designed classes of 45 min. to teach halter training skills so Shetland enthusiasts had the support they needed to prepare for showing, and not come to the show with beautiful ewes in HUSKY HARNESSES! I think husky harnesses and dog collars on sheep in the show ring smack of an ununified organization that is failing to dispense support to it's membership farms (same with showing Shetlands in a meat sheep carcass hanging grip). I designed textile judging opportunities, and fun 45 min. class sessions into Shetland Showcase to help re-connect the textile history with the fiber we produce, among other things. I wanted to welcome people BACK to the Shetland barn, and restore joy. I wanted to utilize all these things to help the current stiff tension erode.

But as you can see, the camp had other ideas. They loved my idea, and took it, renaming it the "Handy Shepherd". If you look in this year's Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Catalog, you will find my Shetland Showcase event disguised as the the "Handy Shepherd". I, as Chris informed me, was NOT welcome. In the same March 11, 2010 email she wrote, "I hope you will forgive us for not including you. You can be happy that your idea was a good one and that it will go through, even though you will not be a part of the design committee." I believe this tactic was to prevent the truth from being displayed, that Shetland sheep are a breed with longish and wavy fleeces of soft, fine texture. Since the camp was working so fiercely hard (and hence all the tension) to redefine the breed, they wanted no representation by my farm which sticks with the original, genuine fiber. So they continued attempts to slander my farm and sheep (you know...that I'm a self-centered hairbreeder...for example).

We all know now that the camp controls nearly all internet communication amongst Shetland farms. We all know now that farms whom represent the true, genuine Shetland have been censored off heavily and not allowed to "speak" much. We all know now that farms are told to cull longish and wavy as hair by the camp. We all know now that the camp members have utilized NASSA tools to pitch their own, more modern view of fleeces as the only fleece. We all know now that this more modern fleece-type sheep has been self-dubbed "classic" by camp breeders...a true misnomer. We all know now that this board has been extremely busy changing things within NASSA from their own disciplinary policy...which came first the definitions of the breed, all while delaying the flow of information SIGNIFICANTLY to the membership. And of course, we all understand that the camp is responsible for the stiff tension and driving away of Shetland enthusiasts, orchestrating coordinated blog monitoring of Shetland farms and timely slams in comments on those farm blogs. We know of their combative nature and ongoing misrepresentation of basic sheep language, such as long-fibered Shetlands are longwools, or that wavy means crimp, or that Shetlands were "never rug sheep". We know that their sheep look very different from the genuine, historical Shetland, and that they breed for short wool at the expense of long treasured conformation, such as bright expressions and straight, strong toplines, with plans to "fix that later". And of course, we all know that the camp acts as enablers to bullies who bash our membership around with inappropriate content not related to sheep, by allowing such bashings to post and remain posted on official NASSA sites, unless pushed HARD to have such posts removed by concerned farms. And of course, we have all deeply felt the loss of integrity of our "representatives", and the loss of interest in our breed by the general public, for everyone is truly battle weary... many frightened away.

So many of us have felt these problems so deeply. Why are we still putting up with it? It's time to send the camp on it's way, to the new ground they so desire. With some recent campers threatening to not renew their memberships, I think they are realizing that membership comes with ethics...ethics that involve integrity and adherence to the 1927 Breed Standard. If you don't want to breed for and support "Extra fine and soft texture, longish, wavy, and well closed" and "level" backs, then you shouldn't register lambs...and maybe you are in the wrong place. While I've had good influence on all this, I cannot do it alone. Unlike many in the camp, I have no monetary motivation for creating, designing, or implimenting Shetland Showcase. I am a teacher in my off farm life, and I love creating opportunities for others to make friends and celebrate the good things we have that bring us connections, advances our skills, inspires us and brings us joy. I am also passionate in preserving and protecting the unique diversity we have been SO LUCKY to have been given by the unbelievably hard work of some who've gone before us. How much longer are you going to put up with camp losses to our breed? Let's take action and fix this problem once and for all. Please come to the Shetland Showcase (i.e. Handy Shepherd) and demand that the breed representatives (mostly campers) return to the genuine Shetland sheep detailed for us in the 1927 Breed Standard. Demand that the campers who bash inappropriately with societally insensitive, insulting, at at times threatening language be removed from NASSA membership, for they shred our breed's farm integrity. Amazingly, these campers and their "friendfarms" have become the poster children for our breed...horrifically in a very bad way. Do not buy lambs or fiber from these campers and their friendfarms, who enable the bashers. Do not buy sheep with their farm prefixes. Instead, work to restore faith in the general public that if they buy a Shetland sheep or two, that they can trust the bashing won't be turned on them. Insist that the Shetland Showcase is for those who love and appreciate the genuine Shetland sheep, it's historic fiber, and the amazing textiles that result ONLY from genuine longish, wavy fiber, for these things give us heights over nearly any other breed on the planet. Demand that actions are taken to protect member farms, and future buyers. Demand that our current representatives stop busying themselves so excessively with changing the breed so something so common and start supporting our membership in saving our unique fiber and fortunate conformation so that we may begin repairing the damage these representatives and their supporters have caused, and begin the healing.

Fiber, heavy culling, and Wheely Wooly Farm

Fiber is IT for us. We strive to produce genuine Shetland fiber that the 1927 Breed Standard calls for, which is "Extra fine and soft texture, longish, wavy, and well closed" (2004 NASSA Handbook, last page). The word "crimp" is not there. Nor do any of these words mean crimp. If someone tries to tell you wavy means crimp, think door to door salesman!!

Back to our farm's breeding goals: we strive to produce the genuine Shetland fiber that was documented back in 1927. Why? Because that is the fiber you need to make genuine Shetland textiles. What are textiles? Things that are made WITH the fiber...socks, sweaters, hats, mittens, gloves, nightcaps, lace, items for the home, etc.

You cannot make genuine Shetland textiles with fiber that does not match the historic wool definition. Therefore, you cannot make, OR CLAIM, to have genuine Shetland products if you are not using genuine Shetland wool!!! If you breed for "crimpy", you are raising a more modern type of fiber. That is NOT the fiber that made Shetland textiles famous!!!!! If you are raising crimpy fiber, you are raising something less historical. If you claim your farm is producing historic, genuine fiber with crimpy, short fleeces, you are misleading the public. That is why I don't like the term "classic" on crimpy-fibered sheep. It's a misnomer.

Wheely Wooly Farm strives to keep the textiles in the picture. The textiles tell the truth. Longish, wavy fiber makes the correct yarn for the textiles. Short crimpy yarn does not. Experienced (meaning not casual hobbyists) spinners and knitters understand this. While it seems to be getting better, we were very alarmed at recent attempts in the past months to separate the textile history from the fiber...for the two are a package that cannot be separated! Why would you want to separate fiber from textiles???? Because the textiles reveal the truth, that crimpy short fiber cannot produce genuine Shetland textiles, only longish, wavy fiber can.

On to heavy culling. Sheep need to be culled. The reasons for culling vary from farm to farm. Our culling is based on the following, and is not an all inclusive list: kemp, disease, fatal horns, bad conformation (severe enough to prevent the sheep from a fair and thrifty lifestyle). While we are a "young" farm, I have never had to cull for any of these things. We spent two years of educating ourselves with professionals, analyzing the NASSA database, and visiting Shetland farms before selecting a ram to breed with our flock. We carefully selected only a few ewes to breed...we do NOT breed everything that wiggles. Our breeding ewes were all at least two years old. The result??? Wow!!! This is a great breed that has it all!!!!!!! We were amazed at our results!! This is NOT testimony of my own personal greatness....sorry to disappoint those of you who try to make that claim....giggle, giggle!) Rather, this is a testimony of the strength of our breed!!!!

If I "culled" for short, crimpy fiber...I'd have to cull my whole flock!!!!!!!! Why?? Because that IS NOT WHAT THE BREED IS!!! This is a long-fibered breed that has wavy locks. The wool is smashingly beautiful and unique. This is the lamb you will produce. If you are trying to breed for shorter, crimpier fleeces, you WILL have to "cull heavily", because you are misdirected in your breeding, and throwing away the very thing the breed IS. Again, the word "cull" becomes a misnomer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What's the good stuff?

Fiber! That's the good stuff for me! I cover that on my blog a lot, if you look back. However, I've come to learn that Shetland sheep are the whole package. I've learned of shepherds that can only dream of the ease Shetlands provide...from feeding to lambing, to ease in daily management.

The other good stuff for me? Personality! These sheep have it! Friendly, personable, easy to train, easy to shape.

What else? Just having them around! Peace comes over the farm when the sheep spread out and quietly/happily graze. Mornings are quiet as sheep chew cud and rest while laying down. Driving in the driveway and being greeted by distinctive baas, welcoming us back home. Greetings when we step out the door to a responding baa or two when they hear the back door slam. Gentle baas when we pass by to pull weeds or prune trees, tend fences or some other farm work. It is all good stuff.

What else? The fact that these sheep made it to the US! That someone was bold enough and willing to give up time to create a breed organization! That someone wanted to spin Shetland so bad that red tape was overcome, and the dream came true. That early arguments settled down, and the breed grew. That breeders took care to keep the breed authentic. That all this was done so that people in their future could enjoy what they had the chance to experience. THAT is the good stuff! I am that future. I am the recipient of all that work, arguing, and toil. I am what all those shepherds discussed years ago...going all the way back to the Islands. I am so thankful for all you have done! Your efforts were worthwhile and so many of us appreciate what you accomplished! I don't think that gets said much these days.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Out of all the debate within our breed, I am SOOOOO thankful for the 2004 Handbook, old newsletters, and telephone numbers that take me directly to the real thing. If I had to learn from this "new" information given out by the breeders who push all the "new" info., "new" history, and "classic" lambs, I might not have ever found the true Shetland fiber.

What can YOU do?

1. Work to eliminate the bullying camp. How? Vote them off the board. Don't buy sheep from them. Don't buy sheep with their farm prefixes.

2. Write to the current board via direct email (addresses of each in the newsletter) and ask each of them to work for the whole membership, including those who wish to continue protecting and preserving the true Shetland sheep. They can do this by reversing Appendix A. They can also do this by allowing transparency to return (for example, the latest board minutes on the site are from early much has happened since then! But the membership continues to be in the dark).

3. Insist that planners of the sheep shows and those on the board of directors take a hiatus from showing during their tenure. This is just good business for the promotion and honesty of the breed. (I do not think this should apply to the planners' and board members' children, since kids cannot help that their parents wish to be involved.)

4. Insist that honest communication be restored to the organization's website list. Insist that violators who post graphic language not pertaining to sheep...such as illegal drugs, homosexuality, offensive name calling (such as "snotty Brits") and alcohol abuse be left unposted and violators given "watch" status on their memberships. If it happens twice by one member, that member should be removed from the breed organization. This strong language should fix the problem. Those of us whom are engaging in professional commerce with our sheep, wool, and meat deserve and expect protection from these unethical, unprofessional internet bullies. Currently, they are supported by our current board by such posts getting on the list, and by not removing them promptly unless pressured...a lot.

5. Write to our breed organization president and insist that website moderators be held accountable for censorship of honest questions. Demand that moderators be removed from the position and no longer paid if they allow inappropriate language to "slip...oops I let that one go...and that one go....and that one go..." into public viewing, or by withholding sincere, appropriate questions because they might reveal a problem within the board's actions. As members of this organization, we have the right to expect and demand this accountability.

The camp has embattled our membership and take joy from crazy, unethical debates. It is their way of getting people to stop "coming around" unless you take their view. This is not right. We all know who the camp members are. It's time to send them on their way.

Rain and our sheep organization

Well, I now know what it's like to receive rain, rain, rain, just like the Shetland Islands! We have had on and off pouring rain for the last two months now. Today was the worst yet...a worriesome downpour unlike much of anything I've ever seen...tropical storm-like. The sheep were inside for it all, which is good for the grass and soil.

On to our sheep organization. I have been deeply embarrassed by the current board we have, and the choices they have made over the last few months. I have had some correspondences with them that are not honest (on their part) nor professional(on their part). I came to learn in these correspondences that they were striving hard to redesign the breed. That is, they were NOT working for the membership and the Shetland breed, although they will be very quick to SAY they are. I have had to force certain situations (such as the removal of inappropriate posts) to at least spare some hope of integrity within our organization...but I haven't been able to chase all of the problems. One example is grossly inappropraite content on our organization's website. I'm not allowed to ask (censored off) valid questions that require communication with board members (which is what the list is FOR and members are invited to do so), but offensive posts regarding illegal drugs, drunkenness and gay lifestyles CAN post!!! Something is VERY wrong with that! (I have surely learned who's farm prefixes to avoid at all costs when purchasing sheep! If they behave like that on a public list, who KNOWs what you'd be buying in the animal.) Other problems have been outright lies and misrepresentation. More problems deal with intentional deception of the unknowing public, and ongoing support of members who knowingly mislead with skewed language...such as calling long staple length Shetlands "long wools". Drives me and many across our nation nuts with the deception, mistruths, and embarrassing language that this board supports with their allowance of these posts. For example, the paid board member who claims her opinions are not expressed "anywhere" on the website....sooooo not true!! Censorship has been a HUGE problem!!!!!! Since she has outright admitted censorship to me, her claims are obvious lies. The site on our breed organization's website is SUPPOSED to be an open forum for paid members. That couldn't be further from the truth. Opinions that do not match the moderator's opinion are censored off and discussion is not allowed to occur, even if you are a paying member, even though friends of her's, who support her views, are allowed to post slanderous, offensive comments regarding illegal substances, drunkenness, and alternative lifestyles, none of which pertain appropriately to sheep.

So, I am still waiting to hear about my questions...questions that the board has refused to answer, or continue posting on the site, because they don't want to have to answer them and convict themselves.

Question 1 Are my dues and regristration fees paying for all these "crammed" changes? Who is paying the attorney's fees to have made these changes "official"? I sure hope to God it wasn't MY money!!! Still no answer after weeks of waiting. I think that's because the answer is yes, my money did go to pay for those changes. That surely is not what I want to hear.

Question 2 I think it should be looked into to have a separate Ethics Committee to hold the board accountable for their actions. This current board has clearly demonstrated the need for this. No response...of course!!

Question 3 Does it make our organization look good if a current board member and THE person who plans a show earns a Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, multiple firsts, a few other places with SIX different sheep in ONE show (twelve classes)? This is not a question of that person's character or sheep, or of the judge's decisions, but one of integrity. It makes our organization look bad. It also severely discourages other members from taking the time to bring sheep to show, or from being involved. My question...shouldn't we look into this obvious image problem now, so it doesn't happen again? One board member actually DID respond to this question tersely and briefly, that this situation has NEVER happened, therefore doesn't merit any further discussion. (See placings in the Newsletter, Jefferson show, 2009) I had hoped his response was an oops...apparently, it wasn't. I emailed him directly, shortly after his embarrassing reply to the membership, truly hoping he had just made an unfortuate error by not realizing what his fellow board members have done. No response or apologies to the membership, or me. Silence. Does he REALLY think nobody noticed?? the embarassing mismanagement problems continue on. I am not proud of this group. I do not want to associate with this group. I am personally relieved SOMETHING was done in the right direction in the most recent vote. It restores hope in me that our out of control board and their small group of supporters, who control the online flow of communication, is starting to realize they cannot hijack the breed organization and redesign it to their own personal liking.

My personal feelings? This board has been disasterous. They have disregarded the hard work of MANY that have gone before them. They HAVE a breed organization to be board members on today because others created this and gave it to us, the next generation. Those founders had preservation and protection in mind, not changes that redefine the breed into a new thing. I am NOT thankful for this current board's " hard work", because all that "hard work" has been scheming to change the breed into something less special, something more common (have they left any stone unturned?). Don't you find it suspicious that they felt strongly compelled to "revamp" everything, even though our organization is young? I wonder if the founders are watching this with sick feelings in their could they ever have known to prepare for such a hijacking? I AM thankful for the work those founders did, and our farm strives to carry on that work of protection and preservation, whether the new breed organization is with me, or not. Funny, I'm finding a lot of people who agree.

So my next question is this. How much longer is the membership going to tolerate these ugly people? How much longer are good members going to put up with this embarassing, bullyish, dominating and unprofessional camp? How much longer is the membership going to tolerate this ugly camp's trench digging of our breed's integrity and uniqueness? I read over and over people pleading that this trashing of our breed's reputation and dissolving of Shetland farms professionalism stop. But the board doesn't listen. They just let it go on and on and on because they have a goal and that goal doesn't involve the membership farms reputations or the sheep, it involves their mission to create a different kind of Shetland...many of them have a pile of "new...I believe they dub them 'classic' " lambs to sell you! ("classic" is a misnomer here) Since I'm almost always censored off the "official" sites, I guess I'll have to ask my question here. We all know who the "camp" is. I surely am careful to not buy from them. It's time to send them on their way. I think they'd be happier. Just think, if they could get their OWN breed association and start winning at shows without having to hijack an existing association and totally rewrite and revamp the rules, they'd be soooo happy!! That would make me happy, too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grand Champ on the bobbin

Petunias on the farm

Hey guess what! The computer is fine! Woohoo! Here are the pictures of Wooly Bear's fiber, spun as a singles and still on the bobbin.Wooly Bear's singles yarn and washed fleece

My goal was lace weight yarn so the singles is spun very fine. That was easy with this fleece type...something Shetlands are famous for! I was quite surprised when the picture came up on the computer screen with brown on the tips of the fleece. You can't see that in natural light, and it's not showing up in the yarn that I can tell. It just looks beautifully black.
His fiber is so fine, I was worried when washing it the first time. But wool is wool! I had no trouble washing it and it came out silky soft.You can see the lustre shining through. I'm not confident he'll stay black so this might be his only pure black fleece. next year, I'll still have Miss Mona's and Lerwick's black fleeces! I love that black! It is so nice for knitting, and it's a very versatile wardrobe color that just goes with everything in winter wear.

For those of you who belong to our Shetland breed association, look for Holly's picture in the most recent newsletter! I took that picture at last year's show. She entered the Youth Showmanship class with her ewe Sweetie (PS 23 Dolly). But that's not all she did! She had learned to spin roving on her drop spindle, and knitted up some luxurious doll scarves and stoles to display in her "Baatique". All of it was her planning and design, including the copyright name and layout of her "shop". That day was her first out with her shop, and it was a smashing success! Shetland sheep are soooooo good for kids!!!! (Sweetie had a single lamb, her first, this spring. He was named Wheely Wooly Pumpkin, and we adore him...!) Thank you to our newsletter editor for publishing the photo of that memorable day!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spinning Grand Champion Shetland

It's not everyday one gets to spin amazing fiber. As a production spinner, I spend many hours at my wheel, spinning a variety of fiber from a variety of sheep and Angora bunnies. I come back to Shetland over and over simply because it is so pleasant and easy to spin, and so comfortable to wear. It's soft, light, and blooms with amazing handle that is unmatched by any other fiber I've ever spun. It is very sophisticated, a very grown up and adult look. It is stunning in a professional wardrobe, or for a dressy event, or a nice evening out in a nice restaurant. It also wears stunningly well out in the barn, with style and integrity to keep you outside longer in the cold than you would ever imagine, with style and comfort. Actually, it's luxurious. My feet tell me over and over that Shetland socks are out of the norm...WAYYY out of the norm!!

This week, I'm spinning the fiber from our Grand Champ. ram, Wooly Bear (that's him in the picture on the top right of the screen). His wool is long, wavy, very fine, and very soft, which matches our breed standard (unless you are in the camp that votes for changing the definition of basic English words). It's intimidating. Let me say that's intimidating! From time to time, I come across a fiber that really makes me slow down and proceed carefully, for it is so beautiful, I fear "screwing it up"! When I sheared Wooly Bear, I knew it would take me awhile to get past that fear. Just as can be expected, his wool was very easy to shear. So his fleece has been washed, and sitting in a special place, where I'd see it each day. I pondered day and night what I'd do with his should I spin it?? What should I do with the yarn?? What gauge?? What end product do I want out of it?? Do I want to sell it?? Make a keepsake?? You can see it took awhile to get past the fear.

I ended up deciding to spin a fine laceweight yarn to make keepsake lace scarves..."scawls". This is a special wool, from a sheep that has changed our lives and put our farm on the international map (although some would have preferred that didn't happen!:). The wool deserves to be front and center in a wardrobe. That would be a garment that combines a scarf and a shawl...a crossbred of sorts. I dubbed them my "scawls". :) I sell a lot of them, for they are beautiful, versatile garments that show off the best a fiber has to offer...strength, beauty, softness and bloom.

I am spinning the singles at a gauge of 40 wpi, so that my two-ply will be about 20 wpi. That is a comfortable laceweight that is not too tiny to see, yet not too big. Shetland spinners were famous for fine spinning. That is because the fiber is long, soft, and STRONG. The wavy length gives nice elasticity while keeping the fiber so fine, it's a breeze to draft, and the fibers sit well in the yarn. In fact, it's way too easy to get too many fibers into your drafting triangle, for the ultra-fine fibers just want to be spun. I spin this gauge nearly everyday, so it's not difficult. What IS difficult? Finding a variety of knitting needles in sizes 0, 1, and favorite gauge for knitting some things. Of course, the women of Shetland would have made this gauge seem gigantic!! But I'm not ready to go that fine...yet! I'll have to get glasses first...

So anyway, I have spun up a bunch of wool now, which takes a significant amount of time to do. I still have lots of wool left so I will get a lot of yarn at this gauge. I have pictures to show, but I discovered this morning that the lightning we had last night might have fried my computer. I asked the sheep about this, since that computer is mostly used for business, if they'd vote for a new computer. The answer came back a resounding NO!! They discussed it amongst themselves and voted for fencing improvements.'s their money! They earned it! They are significant around here! I guess I'll have to find a different way to pay for a new computer. Stay tuned....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where'd I go??

Pouring Rain

A Rainbow!

Oh, here I am! Wow! What a busy ten days we've had! Farm markets, family, hay, the 4th, travel, parade floats, and other things...whew!!Life is good!

The sheep enjoy being rotated around. On hot days, they get trees for shade. Sweetie is nibbling on the leaves while Gracie the lamb looks on with her own mouth full!

To market, to market....

We've had busy market days! It is always a joy to visit with people in our booth and sharing about sheep and projects! We hope you enjoy the scarves, mittens, and shawls some of you will be working on in the weeks to come! We also sold some lovely gift yarns. Someone is going to get really lucky when they get those skeins! People around here are going to be much warmer this coming winter...with style! Don't forget that Shetland yarns make such cozy socks, you won't want to take them off! Check the right side of my blog to find the link to the Yankee knitter! On her website, you'll find a wonderful, easy to read sock pattern that is an excellent starting point.
Cup of tea anyone?

Our 4-H club worked very, very hard on this ambitious float for our community's Fourth of July parade! The kids worked HARD!! We are very proud to be a part of this group (we chaired the float committee), and don't mind bragging just a bit on how focused these kids were, and how hard they worked to make this float a reality. The tea cups mimicked the spinning teacup ride at the county fair. Our tea cups turned, too, while kids rode in them! Oh yeah, and riding on it was fun, too!!! Some kids wanted to help throw candy this year. I'm tellin' ya...we have some real "go-getters" in our club!! In fact, their hard work earned them second place in a zillion entries!! How fun it was to work with so many nice kids! It was surely a great day that will be special as long as I can remember it! What a great way to celebrate our nation's birthday!
The farm is in bloom everywhere, even though I haven't had much time for flowers this year. We have single hollyhocks...
...lovely daylilies that glisten in the sun...

...and ruffly pink double hollyhocks under the purple wren house (filled with twigs from Mr. Wren).

...and of course, ruffly lambs! Gracie and Pumpkin have fleece that gets noticed! It is FINE! (...oh boyohboyohboyohboy...can't wait to spin this up!!)

I also had the privilege lately to get on high speed internet service and swirl around in old photo archives of Shetland women knitting. FUN! Wait, let me say that again...FUN!!!!!! In every photo I could find, the yarn was thick, and the working yarn came up through the right hand. This fascinated me! I studied each photo carefully, mesmerized. The bobbins were small, the wheels were off to the side of the spinner, and kitties were everywhere. My favorite, which cracked me up so much I disturbed my neighbors and had to call over my family, was the one with the women walking along the road, knitting, while their Shetland ponies walked slightly behind them, carrying their supplies. The info. on the photo said the women were walking to Lerwick for supplies. The knitting never stopped, even with a pony's lead rope slung over your arm. I'm going to try that myself!! One of these days, I'm going to get Calipso out and try knitting while taking him for a walk down the road. Let's see...I take him for walks frequently anyways....and I knit a this should be simple....right? (giggle, giggle!!) I'll let you know how we do!