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, April 21, 2013
Here's the view out my window today. sigh
Well, today I was gonna put up fence. Maybe I'll just stay inside! I seem to be having a lull in lambing this weekend. Good thing! The weather is not lamb friendly, with lows near 20 degrees through the night and lots of cold, drafty wind. If I had put up fence today, in total defiance of the weather, I probably wouldn't have put the ewes out there anyway. There is a strong wind blowing that is very cold. Shetlands can certainly handle that...piece of cake... but if anyone did have her lambs out there, it could quickly mean disaster, so I guess they will stay tucked in the barn for another day. Even the most hardy, vigorous lambs would find that cold, strong wind a real challenge to overcome right after birth.
Meanwhile, frisky lambs are playing in the mixing pen. I have rubber tubs for feeding that are perfect 'rocks' for little Shetland rock-hoppers. I turn them upside down, giving them endless fun as they hop up on it, hop around, and leap off in all sorts of ways! I can't believe how fast they are growing already! I check all the udders on the ewes from time to time just to make sure things are going along good, and they are. Shetlands are well known for good udders and plentiful milk, and we are certainly seeing that here.
Speaking of easy, it's easy to think you are a good shepherd when you have Shetlands. Shetlands are very easy sheep in many ways. Don't learn to shear on them (!), but otherwise, they will help you experience success as a shepherd that other breeds would find hard to compete with. I'm very careful to not take it for granted how easy these sheep are...the old, hardy lines out of Shetland. We have other babies here on the farm and things are just not the same in terms of birthing ease, udder development, mothering instinct, and vigor in babies getting started. Experiencing the reality of other types of breeds and animals really builds appreciation for not messing around with those old hardy lines of Shetland sheep!!!!!!!!
I hoping to get some photos of the lambs this afternoon, so I might do a blog update later today if I can. But I also want to 'say' something else. Blogs are read by an amazing dynamic of readers. There IS no 'profile' or 'demographic' to blog readers. Our readers are people of nearly all ages. Some live in the cities. Some live in very remote locations. Some long to have sheep. Some have had enough of sheep and want to hang it up. Some come to our blog to learn about life on a sheep farm. Some read to share in like-minded choices of lifestyle. I have been asked why my blog isn't more "professional" or "business-like". The answer? Not everyone who reads my farm blog is a "business person" or "professional"! Sheep pertain to everyone. There IS no demographic of people who are interested in sheep. Sheep are loved by all. They are deeply rooted in our global history, global cultures, global ethnicities, and global food supply. We are all here today because our ancestors kept and utilized sheep, directly or indirectly. Some of our readers are youth. Some are people who speak very little English. Some are people who have no idea how hard it is to maintain a flock. We are read by all kinds. THAT is certainly one of the most beautiful things about sheep!!!!!!