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, September 22, 2011

Welcome UK! and cute Posie

Posie's Fiber

Welcome UK! We sincerely hope you enjoy touring our farm! How fun it is to be able to exchange information over the great seas. We are currently heading into fall here on our farm. The leaves are just beginning to turn vibrant colors, but the flowers and tomatoes are still growing. Speaking of the UK, I've recently seen some LOVELY pictures of your REAL Buff Orpington chickens taken with a breeder (?) somewhere in England (The Poultry Magazine Vol. 3, Iss 2, July/Aug. 2011, page 40), and they were beautiful! It's pretty tough to get that true body style here in America. We are raising one Buff Orp. chick, but we know it won't look typey, but rather tall, leggy, and lean for right now, that is what is available to us. I just LOVE the low, deep bodies, very little showing leg, and fluffy feathers of your Orps! I seriously think a hen like that just needs her own pretty little yellow apron! Isn't it just like Americans to change things around?? I was talking to a Shetland breeder outside the United States this summer, and this person commented on how crazy Americans have been in changing things in animal breeds. I agree! Crazy!

Back to sheep! These two pictures are of little Posie, an East Friesian/Shetland cross. We wanted a dairy sheep, so we got one, and bred her to our foundation ram, Wooly Bear. I was a little nervous on what that crossing would produce, and I certainly didn't expect cute little Posie! She'll be bigger than a Shetland, smaller than a Friesian. She's very docile and friendly, coming over to me every chance she gets for sweet nothings.

Wheely Wooly Posie

Posie's wool also excites me. I had carefully planned out the purchase of a dairy ewe, and thought hard about what I would do with the fiber. Posie's mother, Claire, had an outstanding lamb's fleece that is very soft for a dairy sheep, and is perfectly wearable. I'd like to try dyeing it in goldenrod...soon!!! I know Claire's next fleece will be coarser, but I still can't wait to get it, for I already have plans for it. In the meantime, Wooly Bear even threw his softness into little Posie's fiber. It's softer than Claire's lamb's fleece was. Are sheep fun? YES!! :)

(This picture of Posie was taken two days ago, so you can see we are very lucky to have good, rich grass yet for grazing.)

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