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.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The sheep will do it!

See any leaves?

People often like to think that animal ownership makes your life harder. I beg to differ! Here we are, on a lovely fall afternoon...under a nice tree.....FULL of huge leaves that need raking up every year before snow flies. If these leaves don't get raked up, they kill the grass, for they are very large maple leaves. In the past, I've raked them up and stuffed the walls of the chicken coop with them for added winter insulation. Ok, doing that made my life harder...but I DID enjoy the work and the knowing that my hens would lay more when insulated so nicely from the cold.

Now along comes Posie. Posie is a very cute little sheep who is sweetness through and through, or so I thought! As I glanced out my house windows from time to time, I noticed Posie was parked under the maple tree all day. As time passed, I noticed that as leaves fell, they weren't accumulating like they should. Oh, I thought, she must be eating them up for me! How nice!

Then, I noticed that Posie was looking UP into the tree...waiting for the wind to jiggle a leaf or two off branches above. As they floated down, she ran to where she thought they'd land, and gobble them right up! I watched and giggled as this played out over a few hours. Good girl, Posie! Now I won't have to rake!

Later, as I amused myself looking out the window again, I saw that Posie's best friend, Maewyn had appeared. Now Maewyn was hanging out under the tree...and there still were no leaves around. I decided to wait and see what would happen if a leaf fell...who would get it? Now Posie and Maewyn are very close friends...always the first lambs to greet visitors...untie your shoestrings, or want a chin scratch. They are always together, always looking for attention, and always underfoot. Suddenly, a leaf fell...this way....and that way....and little Maewyn, being the nimble-hooved little Shetland that she is, swiftly pounced her way to the leaf just ahead of Posie, and quickly ate it up! Well Posie watched this, head turned sideways, a time or two before she made a decision! The next time a leaf fell, Maewyn again pounced ahead of Posie, only this time, Posie was frustrated and BAM!!! Posie butted Maewyn on the side just as Maewyn gobbled up the leaf!!! Uh oh! As the leaves continued to trickle down, this is what I saw...
BAM! BAM!!! (Notice the leaf in Maewyn's mouth?)

Good thing they are nice and woolly now! Maewyn didn't seem to mind Posie's jealousy. They spent the rest of the day competing for leaves, and I'd have to say for poor Posie's sake that Maewyn got most of the rest of them!

I've since rotated them to a new spot, where they will spend daytimes all winter. The danger now is that the grass has stopped growing fast enough to keep up with grazing, so the risk is great over-grazing. Because of this, I have moved them to where over-grazing is sacrificed, and placed hay out. Of course, they much prefer every little morsel of grass blade they can tear up, so the hay sits....meanwhile, Maewyn never seemed to get upset with Posie for the head butts, and they seem to be carrying on with their sweet friendship...continuing to get under my feet every opportunity they can get.

Oh the things you learn looking out your windows!

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