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, August 15, 2012

Oh boyohboyohboy!!! Trophies!!!

WOW!!!  It was quite a fair!!!

I am just bursting with happiness for my Poygan Go-Getter!!  That's the name of the 4-H Club my Go-Getter belongs to...and a Go-Getter is right!  Please forgive me for bubbling over with happiness!  I know some of you out there are waiting to hear how fair went, so here it is!

It was quite a fair for all of us!  The high point?  Topping all the trophies she got LAST year!  We all thought she had a smashing first year last would one top that???  It's absolutely amazing!   Topping last year is just what happened!  It was an amazing second year!!!!

Here is the LIST! (giggle, giggle!):

Grand Champion Dairy Doe!!!!!!!!!!
Champion of Champions Goat!!!!!!!!!!!  HUGE!!!!!!
Grand Champion Standard Chicken
Reserve Grand Champion Chicken!!!!!!!!!!!
Poultry Showmanship Beginner!!!!!!
Outstanding Poultry Showman!!!!!!!HUGE!!!!!
Outstanding Goat Herdsmanship!!!!!!!!  HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!

ALL of these trophies except one were competition with older 4-Her's who've been in the goat and poultry projects for many years!  In the goat barn, some even had animals of better conformation.  However, Primrose is excellent in the showring, has an outstanding (and unmatched) udder, and truly sparkles with her handler!  

Hard work definitely pays off!  It's been a year of learning, doing, studying, interviewing, practicing, and more doing...and here is the the reward!  These trophies are accompanied by FIVE purple ribbons, SEVENTEEN blue ribbons, two reds and one pink!  It was quite a fair!

On the rough side?  Yes, there was a rough side!  Our truck died just before know...the one that was to haul the animals and stuff TO the fair???  Panic!!  Then, the Sunday evening before fair, I was washing laundry to get ahead when the washing machine died!!!!!!!!!  AUUUGGGGGGG!!!!!  There are always high and low points in life!  I now know it IS possible to go through fair week with NO washing machine!!!!!! I'd rather not ever go without again, though!

I think this might be the most exclamation points in one blog post ever!!! (giggle, giggle)  The Grand Champion Chicken was Sweetie Tweetie, our much loved Golden-Laced Polish hen...I've put pictures of her up on the blog from time to time.  We gave that hen to our Go-Getter as part of her very first flock when she was four years old!  She wanted a yellow chick...and the swap we went to had NO yellow chicks!!!!  Then, I learned that someone had chicks on a heated bus, so I alone went to find a yellow chick (think MOM-MISSION!!!).  I saw two yellow chicks at the back of the very crowded bus where people were grabbing chicks faster than you could imagine.  I elbowed my way to the back of the bus (think MOM-MISSION!), and swiped my hand out for the only yellow chicks on the whole bus...two of them!  As I swiped, a lady near me got one of them, and I barely got the other before her! (think MOM-MISSION!)  Triumph! That little yellow chick was lovingly held and cuddled by my Go-Getter all the way home!  (think MOM-MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!)  That little yellow chick is Sweetie Tweetie, forever titled around here now as Grand Champion Chicken!  

The rooster in that group of four chicks is Eddie.  He went to fair last year and earned a pretty red ribbon that looked so handsome with him!  This year, he earned a blue ribbon!  Muffy, the Ameraucana hen earned the Reserve Grand Champion Chicken.  She was from a batch of chicks the year after Sweetie Tweetie.  We named her Muffy for her lovely muffs and full beard.  The judge loved how the two top winners, Sweetie Tweetie and Muffy were in TOP condition!  The pink ribbon went to sweet little 'Sun Spark', the buff silkie pullet.  "Pink is PERFECT for her Mom!" :)

Primrose won Grand Champion Dairy Doe (and a bunch of blue and purple ribbons!) and Champion of Champions!  Her little doeling and buckling earned blues with her as well.  The dam and daughter class was really fun with those two girls!  My Go-Getter got lots of great help with showing them all in the ring at the same time.
Smile!  It's fair time!

The showmanship classes are the hardest.  You really have to know what you're doing with knowledge and detail.  Poise, interpersonal skills and interview techniques are all a part of it.  You have to have people skills AND skill with your animals...not an easy task!  Yet, my Go-Getter did GREAT!  Please forgive me for bursting with happiness, but she placed over smart and knowledgable HIGH SCHOOLERS!!!!!!!!!  Those of you who know her at the Sheep and Wool Festival and Market will understand! :)

Then, on the last day of fair, certain key awards are handed out...nobody knows who will get them until names are called off.  All exhibitors at the fair gather for this award ceremony, and high school kids clean up the biggest of the biggest awards.  My Go-Getter, who is not a high schooler (!) was called down the second year in a row!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She won the Herdsmanship trophy for the goat barn!!!!  This award is voted on by all the goat exhibitors (makes up 50% of the vote) and secret adults from the public (the other 50%).  The award is based on decorations, pens, animals, cleanliness,and interaction with the public.   It's a HARD award to get and this year's competition for it was tough!  Getting this award was a shocking and amazing last hour of the fair!  Last year, she won the same award for the Poultry barn!  Two years showing animals at the fair...two big trophies!!!!!!

But thatttttsssss not all!!!!!  Inside, on the knitting, she earned a blue ribbon and Best in Show ribbon for her knitting project. It's a poster with several knitting samples on it showing new techniques she learned.  The judge LOVED it!  She did garter stitch, stockinette stitch, 2x2 ribbing, Cat's Paw Shetland Lace, increasing and decreasing.  She was going to put a 4x4 cable on there as well, but didn't get that finished on time.  She also made her very first pair of mittens, and got a BLUE on those as welll!!!!!!!  Get this!  She knit those mittens out of yarn she SPUN!!!!!!  One is a tad larger than the other...but the judge recognized her skill  in learning to spin, knit in the round, knit a 2x2 rib on the cuff, and how to knit the thumbs.  The yarn is not Shetland, but rather fiber from a cute little crossbred ewe who does not live in our flock.  She dyed the yarn with blueberry kool-aid after spinning it for a super pretty pair of mittens!  She also entered a skein of yarn she spun and got another blue ribbon!  Also, she carded some of her Shetland fiber from her little ram Twilight, and got another blue!

Please forgive me for gushing with happiness for this little Go-Getter!  Despite all the trials of the last year with the economy, new fair rules, job cuts, storm damage, rising gas prices, everything breaking, and many many other things and obstacles, goodness prevailed!

And now, I'll leave you with little Hepatica.  Yes, she was sooooo sad after leaving the fair!  She LOVED all the people, all the attention, all the new places to explore, and all the petting, and all the kids!!!!!!!  Her little maaa was soooo forlorn Monday, for she really missed all of her new friends!  Here she is, the last day of the fair...zonked out!
I think we all felt the same way by Monday!  Get rested up and don't worry little Hepatica, for fair will come around again next year!!!!!

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