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, October 2, 2012

Maples, Rooster, Minty

Autumn can be so glorious around here on a warm, sunny day in October!  The leaves are very bright, the sky so blue!  We've had gorgeous weather with mild temps, calm winds, and quiet stillness.  Mornings are dewy, and fresh.  So nice after all that blazing sun and heat!!  We still desperately need rain though.

 Our maple tree, so glorious!

I dug pototos recently.  The ground was harder than I can ever remember.  The hard dryness is deep.  It's amazing the pototos could survive in that, but the soil wasn't like that until the drought.  Before the dry-up, the ground was fluffy and loose.  Digging them up was hard work!
 A young rooster

This little rooster is only three months old.  He's not crowing yet, but that will come.  His legs and beak are a brilliant yellow, which reminds me of my maple trees.  His bars are not bad considering where he came from, and he has a very nice rock body type.  I'm quite pleased, even if he isn't the best specimen of the breed.  His temperament is great!  All the barred rocks have the friendliest, most curious temperaments.  They are an awesome breed to have pecking around your garden and farm.  We love them.  They are very busy foragers.
Little Minty

Meet little Minty!  She's not mine, she's not Shetland, and I did not name her.  But I love her!  She is a lamb that has just been taken out of a long quarantine with a clean bill of health and integrated into the whole flock.  She needs a good, steady rain to clean up the last of the dirt from her first home.  That's hard to get with the drought this year.  She's soooooo sweet! (and she gets hugged a lot)  We are very pleased at how she has progressed and also amazed at her sudden growth spurt.  It will be fun to watch her grow!!  She's chewing her cud here...can you see the 'gumballs' in her cheeks?  Her fleece should be a really fun fleece to spin, dye, and knit up.  I'm expecting her fiber will go into lots of bright colors, and made into lots of fun mittens and socks.  Welcome little Minty! 

Now for the rest of that interesting sheepy fact.  Did you know that we have tens of thousands of sheep LESS than we used to in this country?  Did you know that with the drought the last two years, the numbers of sheep are still declining?  Did you know that the demand for lamb has increased in our country due to larger numbers of people from cultures who love lamb?  Did you know that wool is very useful in preventing fires, so the military is very interested in it?  Did you know that some of the largest aircraft companies in the world are located within our 'wool borders'?  How does America rank in sheep numbers in comparison to other countries?  To put it politely, it doesn't!  Our country is by far outranked in sheep numbers.  In fact, some of those countries are smaller than ours, yet have many tens of thousands of sheep more than we do!  According to the American Sheep Industry Association, China has the most sheep in the world.  Next is Australia, then India, then other countries far, far away.  How is it that America has soooo feeewwww sheep?  Something to ponder.

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