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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Post of Thoughts...

It has been a happy summer, and a weird one.  I have not experienced weather quite like this in my lifetime and I must say, it throws my confidence off.  When animals and plants go through so much stress, you visibly see how hard it is on them.  Animals are not designed to go through much stress, and it affects them.  It's frustrating to someone who loves animals to see them have to go through that!  And it's frustrating to see what friends go through with their own animals.

The drought has also brought grasshoppers...tons of grasshoppers!

Our country 'neighborhood' has been through a lot this summer.  We were on the edge of extreme drought.  We did get some rain, but not enough to keep the grass growing.  The high temperatures  literally baked the earth.  This means there are large areas of grass killed off so that what grass is left is very thin...sometimes clumps are half a foot apart or more.  That's shocking for our area!  To make matters worse, huge dry cracks have formed in the earth.  This is very disturbing to a shepherdess who has small stock!  These cracks are large enough that a whole sheep leg could fall deeply inside.  If this happened when the sheep were running out or in, it could mean a snapped bone.  It hasn't happened yet, but I worry about it every day.  Meanwhile, in meeting up with the neighbors for quick country talks, we learn of the impacts they are facing.  Our neighborhood has had a staggering amount of livestock deaths, mainly horses and cows.  Not good!  And many tears.  Many of those animals were in their prime of life.  They were not the usual kinds of loss you see in extreme weather.

Last night while I was spinning, I could hear a steady, gentle rain outside.  It struck me that I haven't heard that since last spring!!  Today, the sun is shining brightly and the air is cool.  How nice!  The blazing brightness seems to have gotten better as the heat subsides and the sun sinks in it's autumn place.  Two phoebes visit our empty bird feeder frequently.  They seem to have nested in the trees just to the east of one of our barns.  When we check on animals during the day, the phoebes are flitting about, happily calling songs to each other.  The squirrels must be desperate for food.  There are holes all over our front lawn today.  They must have spent the early hours near dawn furiously digging!  Not burying, but digging up.

The morning glories had stopped blooming in the heat, and the tomato vines stopped producing fruit.  Now, in the coolness of the seasonal change, we have gotten a bunch of tomatoes, and the morning glories delightfully greet us each morning at chore time.  Last night, I actually had enough tomatoes to make wonderful tomato soup!  Scrumptious!!

Yep.  It has been a weird summer!

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