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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thank You, Penny and Silks

Yep! I'm missin' the garden!

Thank you to those of you who came out to the market Saturday morning! It was another busy day with lots of goodies to pick up! We enjoy so much the chance to meet all of you! Lucky all of us that we can preserve so much of the garden and wool harvests to save for the dark cold winter days! Winter is just not that bad when you have delicious soup or scrumptious meats to enjoy while knitting on a warm garment or mittens or something, while those mouthwatering smells fill the air in the house! A deep sense of satisfaction and contentment rise out of such pleasantries. How wonderful to share in those feelings that generations long ago felt so frequently.

I finished the shoulder wrap I'm knitting with Iris's yarn. I am thinking I'll embellish it with a garden feel, so stay tuned! I'll put pics up soon. Meanwhile, let's revisit the warmth of late summer outside with our beautiful hens. They all have names so we can care for them to the best of our ability. We know each of their eggs, and can tell who laid each day....well almost! These hens have a wonderful life out here and we enjoy them immensly. How did it ever get to be that hens were so removed from so many people's lives??? Here are photos of two of our favorites, Penny and Silks. Penny is the black Australorp hen who is now six years old. Yes, that's right, she's six. She has weathered some mighty wicked winters and an ocassional bout with a rat or two. While she now goes stretches without laying, she is currently laying just about every day. So much for that "spent hen" theory! Her eggs are beautiful, a light brown with rich yellow yolks. She loves to come around for treats and is known to politely follow me around the farm as I pull weeds or clean in the barn. I hope she lives a long time! I've always wanted to make her a pretty yellow apron to wear, for I think she looks as if she walked out of the pages of a sweet children's story book. She came from a very experienced breeder of fine Australorps that repeatedly win top ribbons.
Pretty Penny

Next comes sweet Silks. She is five years old and will always be remembered here on Wheely Wooly Farm. She is not show quality, but has been an outstanding home farm chicken. Her breed is called "Silkie", an interesting little breed no doubt called "feather-legged bantam" Bantams are much smaller than the standard sized chickens most people are familiar with, in fact, bantams have been dubbed "the flower garden of the poultry world"! Her skin is black (and so are her bones), but she has these lovely irridescent pearly blue ear lobes on the sides of her head! She has just the sweetest temperment and is a very gentle little hen. A GREAT start for kids! Her eggs are about 2/3rds the size of a regular large grade egg, and are plenty usable in the kitchen. She is also an excellent mother, having raised a brood of chicks for us. That is the Silkie's reputation! They are all mother! If you've never seen little bantam chicks peaking out from Momma hen's wing, put it on your list of must see life experiences! I caution you however, once you see it, you'll want a hen of your own to go broody!

Little Silks

I hope you enjoyed learning about two of our hens here at home. We'll post by the end of the week if we're coming to the next market! I think if it's possible, we'll be there but we are on the 4-H project countdown to baby watch! Am I nervous about that? Yes!

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