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, October 28, 2011

Great work, Don!!

1. Great work, Don! Thank you for bringing your years of experience back to NASSA, and sharing with us. NASSA is facing a huge problem, that of an aggressive group of newer shepherds teaching people that the genuine Shetland sheep is a hairy Icelandic or crossbred throwback to be culled, in an attempt to get rid of genuine sheep for a shiny new breed. Thank you for clarifying to the unknowingly misled that genuine Shetland sheep are NOT the nearly naked sheep with puny fleeces this aggressive group insists them to be!!

1.a. ...and thank you to your wife for that keepsake handbook! The 2004 NASSA Handbook has many great photos of genuine Shetland sheep in it. I treasure it, because I know it's been censored out of the NASSA literature. That's a shame! I'm sure many new shepherds would appreciate it just as I did when I was new (and still do). If you are a new shepherd reading my post, ask NASSA for a copy of the 2004 NASSA Handbook and see for yourself some great photos of beautiful sheep, the three wool types, and the types of things made with the wool!

2. Our President, Mike, deserves a huge compliment for doing what he promised, that of bringing a cool head to the board. Boy, did we ever need a cool head to deal with a bunch of inflamed thieves who have stolen the Shetland breed right out from under the membership's feet!! Just as he has done with his awesome and beautiful flock, he is doing with our organization...great work! Thanks, Mike, for bringing integrity back to NASSA! I feel so bad that you have to work with such constantly difficult, inflamatory, and argumentative people on the board! They've brought much embarrassment to NASSA. Clearly, they do not care about the people, or the sheep! They just want to feed on control! You have stayed strong through some nasty punches, and we all appreciate you! Appendix A will fall fast when the time comes.

3. I'm really overdone with the loss of intrigity to our breed organization by the supporters of Appendix A. Their censorship, exclusion, lack of respect, and lies are old. Really old. It's like high school cliques revisited! Supporting Appendix A people is like supporting their bad behaviors. Can our organization take any more of their ongoing fighting (screaming)? Ongoing censorship? Ongoing attitudes that the membership is too stupid to be informed or participate? Ongoing misuse of NASSA funds for their ongoing hefty legal bills, because if they don't get their way, they screech and claw for their attorneys? How tired the attorneys must be of hearing from them!!

4. I joined NASSA for fun, and it has been fun for me. A wise person once stated that competition makes you stronger. I certainly feel that way. I'm against Appendix A, for it takes the genuine out of the sheep, and puts a nearly naked one in it's place. I've enjoyed the search for answers competition demands, with one particular conversation with Carole (Dailley) Precious the most outstanding. In that talk, she described the early flock and her flock as the years passed. It was as though I was looking out the window at my own flock. It was an amazing moment for me. I've sought answers from many very experienced shepherds. I've learned a lot, and it has all been outstandingly fun!

5. Whichever way the outcome of this election goes, not much will change here on Wheely Wooly Farm, for I have been well coached by the most well qualified Shetland producers here in North America and abroad on what the genuine Shetland sheep is. That is the sheep we will continue to produce, and that is the fiber we will continue to make available to our customers. The gorgeous, unique fleeces and colors sell themselves. What's there to 'improve'? Nothing! Nearly naked sheep feels like a 'deprovement' to me!

6. Our commitment to our customers remains the same. We will strive to produce beautiful, soft, colorful yarns perfect for knitting and even more perfect to wear, without compromising handle and strength. Diversity is the key to our farm's success. Maintaining that diversity has brought our farm respect from the most amazing places I never would have dreamed of. I've learned that narrowing genetics is not respected. Appendix A will fall fast when the time comes. The judge's packet will be changed back to protect diversity and historical elements of the breed. Correct photos will be put back in place, and faith in our organization will return.

7. And now, I'm going to go out and kiss my very wooly sheep! ........ Ok...well, maybe I'll wait until AFTER breeding season!

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