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.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What else can one do...

...when you feel crummy about things?  Work!

The weather has been very warm here the last few days, so I've taken the opportunity to do many things outside that would normally wait until spring.  It always feels good to do those things!  As rain came down, I went to work.   I also worked on trimming hooves, checking on everyone to make sure they were all good.  The trimming is just one of many things that goes on behind the scenes of sheep farming that many people don't think about.  Some sheep need trimming infrequently, others need it every 3-4 weeks.   Like Claire for example.  She's not a Shetland, and she's a very large sheep.  Her hooves need trimming much quicker than Shetlands do.  She's not as active as a bright, alert little twinkle-toed Shetland is, so she doesn't wear down her hooves...pretty much at all!  (Claire is really good at standing still and looking pretty...sweet....sheepy!)

Hi Claire.

  So I trim away at the new growth about once a month to keep her standing nicely and comfortable.  Meanwhile, my Shetlands can go as long as six months, or longer (!) depending on who it is.  Wooly Bear moves around a lot, being King of the Farm, so his hooves need little care.  He doesn't even get much flap growth on his hooves...that little piece of hoof that folds over and can cause problems if left untrimmed.  Meanwhile, Lil' Rainbow's hooves grow fast and need careful watching, even though she's very nimble and active.  When I first got her, she would just collapse in fear at being trimmed.  Now, with good and loving handling, trimming her hooves is a piece of cake, and she feels fine the whole time.  I can catch her, put a halter on her, walk her through the gates, trim her hooves, scratch her chin, and walk her back and she's not a bit afraid anymore.  In fact, her eyes sparkle because she knows she's loved and well cared for.  They come to understand you are not a wolf, and that a good trim feels good.

The knitting on my Wooly Bear sweater is coming right along.  I had set it aside during the holidays as there was too much else to do then, but have gotten back to it now.  I'm on the second sleeve, then the whole thing will be knitted and I can start assembling.  Well, I guess the button band will still have to be knitted after that.  Then comes blocking, drying, and wearing!  Can't wait!  I've had so much fun making this sweater, I'm thinking of making another just like it only in different Shetland colors.

A pretty primrose can cheer things up, too!

When things seem haywire or all screwed up, sheep can sure make you feel better whether you are indoors or out.  Everybody loves sheep.  Knitters are found the world over, and knitters adore sheep.  You can talk to people about historical knitting, or about the latest plans for yet another pattern to be made available in the future.  Sheep make people think of good memories, or of favorite relatives now gone.  They also make people think of people yet to be born, or of hopes in the future.  Sheep and knitting span all time.  They have never gone out of favor.  They have been with us, and will continue to be with us.  There is comfort in that!

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