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, September 30, 2012

Interesting sheepy fact

It has been a gorgeous weekend here near Wheely Wooly Farm!  I've always thought that drought would brown the fall foliage but this year would certainly disprove that!  The leaves have been stunningly bright and catchy everywhere.  I spent much time outside, spending many moments just staring at the beautiful brightness...sometimes even just standing under the tree while the sun lit it up, with my mind in awe at the beauty of it all!
Swifty at the edge of LAST year's garden

Swifty loved sitting in this spot whenever he could.  When I look back at this photo, I'm amazed at how green the lawn is, how lush the flowers were, how big the pumpkins were!  It sure doesn't look like that around here this year!  Everything is brown, whole areas of lawn are dead, and the garden is just not the same.  The fall raspberries are only half as tall as usual, with tiny red raspberries hardening on the ends of the canes...not suitable for taking the time to harvest.  So I just shake them off, much to the delight of the hens waiting underneath, who promply make many happy hen noises as I send treats their way.  Thankfully, we had a nice summer crop of raspberries so we have plenty.

Today I dug potatoes and harvested another round of tomatoes that I didn't think would have matured on time.  Yum!  I've saved seed from corn, dill, sunflowers, and beans for the beanpot.  The fall garlic has already been planted with the rest in the house, and some already delightedly eaten!  I've spent a good deal of time making applesauce from apples off our tree.  The house has been filled with many, many good scents of late!  And since some of our hens went into molt early after the heat of the drought, they are starting to look pretty good again and have gone back to laying.  Great!  Molt is always a 'dry' time for eggs and comes with sadness!  So despite the drought and heat, diversity saved us.  We managed to get good things from our garden, trees, and livestock.

It seems the posts on general wool quality were much appreciated and popular posts.  I hope we were of some help in keeping your own fleeces in good order in the days to come!  There was a producer just west of here whom focused heavily on meat, but was attentive to the fleece quality on his commercial cross ewes and he was doing extremely well until the drought hit.  You do see flocks here and there where wool is just as important as meat.  It is always nice to see that.

Meanwhile, I've been spinning a lot everyday.  We'll be back at market on Saturday.  Watch for our new canopy!  Yes, we finally got a new canopy!  It's purple!  You're going to love our new set up, so come on by and see us!

Interesting sheep fact:  According to the American Sheep Industry Association, more than 4.2 million sheep were sheared in 2010!  It seems like a high number, but I remember my family talking about how in the 1950's there were thought to be somewhere between 50 and 60 million sheep in the United States.  Wow!  That's a shocking difference from then 'til now!   Where does the USA compare in total sheep numbers to other countries?  Stay tuned to find out!

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