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, May 12, 2013

Chicory and Peat

That's what I've named Gwendolyn's little lambs!  Wheely Wooly Chicory for the ewe, and Wheely Wooly Peat for the ram.  That is not a spelling error.  Do a search for the word peat, and you will learn more than you ever thought possible about the stuff!  It has such major historical significance for a number of reasons, including heating the homes of shepherds in the Shetland Islands in times past.  After watching a marsh burn near our farm last summer for weeks and weeks, I realized the value in boggy materials in sustained fires!  Peat not only provided warmth, but also a means for cooking in a land without trees.

Chicory is a wonderful plant that is good for livestock to eat, if you can get it to grow well in your pastures.  It is plentiful on the roadsides around here, blooming with outstanding beauty in July along with the white, lacy Queen Anne's Lace.  (It's flowers are a brilliant bright sky blue...very cheerful!) It seems to like dry, gravelly areas and doesn't mind the blast of breeze cars make as they speed by!  But that's not why I named this cutie little ewe lamb Chicory.  She was given that name as a way to remember her special bloodlines for us.  Little Chicory is a very special ewe lamb for me and I hope to propagate her line as she matures!  And I noticed something.  She's not black!  It's darker in the barn on a cloudy day.  Right after she was born, we had very cold air move in and lots of rain.  In the dimmer light, she seemed black, but upon seeing her in brighter light later that day, it was obvious she will be a moorit, possibly fading to musket.  Peat is a little like that as well.  We'll see when I get them out to graze in brighter sunlight.

In the meantime, I'm working on getting pictures and shearing!  Always hectic on a sheep farm in spring!  And I'm lovin' every minute of it! :)

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