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.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We are only five days away from being restriction-free with Swifty!!! Woohoo!! Keeping him from jumping or just being his natural exuberant self has been a real challenge! I love his natural exuberance and miss him flying around outside around me as I work. We have really developed his "radar", so he is continuously tuned in to me seeking direction or guidance. Meanwhile, he is always doing his work, as he thinks he should be doing it. He moves the ducks from point A to point B, he stands guard by the gate, and he "holds" the pile of footballs and sticks he's rounded up, as if they were sheep he needs to keep in one spot. All the while, he's looking at me and moving his ears, waiting for the next command! Our goal over the next few months is to turn that radar into predictable movements on command. We'll see if that works! :)

In the meantime, one very effective way to hold a Border Collie still is the trick of holding the ball like you're just about to fling it. This worked great with Shimmer (my last stock dog) when my arm was tired of flinging stuff. That keeps him still for quite awhile! Below, you see a dog poised to go like a loaded spring! He is so fast, sometimes he catches the ball in his mouth before he realizes it, and looks around for it briefly, then realizes it's IN his mouth!! Funny boy!
Like a loaded spring, ready to catch the ball!

Then comes the "big lean", where he leans way over his center of gravity, in anticipation of the chase. The more intense it becomes, the higher his tail goes and the bigger around his eyes get. Sometimes his whiskers twitch in the intensity of it! Here, we are just getting started in the "big lean". While he is doing this, he is frozen still...for however long it takes. That's what I love about Border Collies! They take their jobs so seriously and they are the masters of concentration! They make great examples to my human students on how to tune things out and concentrate.
So after his Border Collie therapy session on the sofa, there aren't many pillows left ON the sofa!'s a tip if you are young, buying furniture, and love dogs and kids. NEVER buy a sofa with loose pillows!!!!!!!!! You will spent the rest of your life picking up those pillows and straightening them....everyday....all matter what! WHAT was I THINKING when I bought that sofa?!? (giggle, giggle) Sigh........

Notice Swifty's ears in the above picture? Shimmer went through this phase when she was this age as a pup. I call it the "flying nun" phase! See how his ears are nearly straight out and seemingly weightless? So cute! Such a puppy look!

Eventually, he settles down. Confession. Keeping him off the sofa......just doesn't work! Why? Me. I was thinking about that last night. Poor Rollie and Simon (our Collie and Sheltie) were never allowed on this sofa. It saddened them, but they accepted it. Here now is Swifty, and he thinks the sofa is just for him! Makes for some emotions. What am I doing?? I let him go up there and I'm not sure why.

On to another thing...does anyone out there know who made these tracks in the snow?? Creeps me out! They were big, with the foot toe-ed in. There are no body drag marks in between the footsteps so whatever made the tracks was tall enough to walk through a few inches of snow without dragging quills or fur. There are no tail drag marks, either. Hummm..... and they led to a brush pile where there is a nice door that faces the south, protected from the wind. They lead to the apple trees and back to the brush pile. Even though the tracks are freshly made here, it had sleeted just enough of little round balls to cover the toe marks, so we could not see how many toes or if there are claw marks. Does anyone out there recognize who made these tracks??Creepy mystery tracks

On to the last topic...last night I nearly finished my pair of Lil'Rainbow socks! Exciting! In my next blog, I'll put up a picture of her again and the socks! I can't believe it's been a whole year since my last sock blogs!! Those of you who know me, know I'm absolutely nuts about Shetland socks! I've had them (socks from other sheep) on my feet everyday now for quite some time and oh how soft and warm they are!! My current socks are from Iris, Gwendolyn, and Sweetie. If you haven't learned how to knit Shetland socks yet, ya gotta get started, for you're missing out on a very wonderful sheep pleasure!! Stay tuned!

PS...owls are hooting a lot, and calling back and forth! So relaxing at night to hear them all around!

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