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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spinning, mint, and hens

At last! I can finally control where the pictures are, and where the text is!! Here is a bobbin of yarn spun from one of last year's lambs. The color is absolutely amazing, the fiber long and easy to spin, and oh so soft!!! I've spun a lot of this in the last week. The goal of our flock is to bring genuinely soft, easy to spin, and very comfortable wool to our yarns. Our yarns are very light and pleasant to knit, and create very lightweight garments that are extremely comfortable to wear. Our garments do not have the excessive stretch in them caused by super crimpy wool. We all know what it's like to wear those disaster sweaters of the 80's that stretched and bagged so bad! In fact, I recently knit with wool that was only half Shetland. I noticed the extra weight on the needles right away, then when the garment was finished, I noticed right away how different it felt. There is only one true Shetland fiber!!

harvested mint

The mint is from the herb garden, and there's a lot more of it still out there! It makes great tea, or winter treats for bunnies. We also dry basil, which makes the kitchen smell so fragrant, and sage for our Thanksgiving meal.

Meet Muffy, the Ameraucauna hen

Muffy is a silver hen (yes, that's right...the silver color has brown in it) with lovely muffs on the sides of her beak, and a beard under the beak. She lays beautiful light blue eggs. We've had her several years, yet she continues to lay steadily, keeping us in supply. She's a very docile bird and extremely winter hardy with a medium pea comb. She's survived through some pretty rough winters around here, always laying her pretty eggs. She's very neat, keeping her feathers nice and tidy at all times. A great bird!!

Next comes perhaps by far, the most valuable bird in our flock. Her name is 'Silks', and she's a Silkie hen. She's tiny, and lays tiny eggs steadily even though she's now....let's see...five years old. Her value comes not only in her ongoing laying but also in her excellent broodiness. She can always be relied on to do a fine job of hatching out chicks for us. Excellent mother, docile, tender little personality that we adore. Each time I see her, it seems a baby chick should be popping out from under her wing!

'Silks', the Silkie hen

Her two favorite places in the world are the darkest nest box, and the raspberry canes. If you don't let her out of the coop, she protests loudly, for she adores that raspberry patch!!

Raising good chickens is a goal everyone should have! Ok, maybe I'm a bit of a bird enthusiast. They enrich your life in many ways! Take good care of them, and they'll take good care of you!

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