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, May 14, 2013

LAMBS!, Wildflowers, and AAARRGGGHH!

Lambie photos!  I actually got some today so here is a start!  I'll tell you who they are, then, after getting out my handy dandy NASSA Handbook, I will do my best to describe their markings for you! :)

 Wheely Wooly Chicory...Gwendolyn's ewe lamb...a cutie!
She's dark brown with a white spot only on top of her head.
So that makes her a krunet (which is dark colored with a white patch on top of head).
We are keeping her for future breeding as her bloodline is very special to us.  Krunets are wonderful for spinning, as their body wool is all one color.  Thus, she will make good sweaters and larger projects if so desired, but will also be really nice for many other projects.
Little Wheely Wooly Peat...Gwendolyn's ram lamb...another cutie!
He's also dark brown but notice his cute white markings!  Gwennie's lambs typically have this, even with different rams.  Peat's markings would be called smirslet (which means dark colored with white around the mouth, head, or neck).  In these pictures, Chicory and Peat are only 5 days old and they are VERY smart little lambies!  Tonight, they ran in with the flock like they'd been doing it for years...except they are so tiny!  Don't ever underestimate the intelligence of little Shetland sheep!  They are fast learners!
Wheely Wooly Peat will be for sale if his horns grow properly.  He has a gorgeous head, just like his sire's, with that genuine Shetland ram profile.  He is out of registered stock, so will be registered upon sale.

Side note:  Gwennie's lamb from a ways back, Wheely Wooly Splash (see right side bar) is another example of the color she throws.  He's tougher to describe as he remains dark, with white on his nose, forehead, ears and neck.  My guess is he'd be called a blettet smirslet, but don't know for sure!  Another thing about Gwendolyn, she is remaining a richer moorit color (not fading really), but had in her first two fleeces wonderful lightened tips, NOT caused by sun or element damage.  It was BEAUTIFUL, and made knock-out yarn!  Tips like that are known as blaeget, which is "a lighter shade of the outer part of the wool fiber, especially in moorit and dark brown sheep". (quote from Colors and Markings page, NASSA Handbook, p. 7).   It is my hope that Chicory and Peat will have the blaeget tips on their fleeces!  
 This is Wheely Wooly Moorwyn!  I'm positively SHOCKED at how much he's grown already!!  Just like his big brother, Lerwick, this little guy is very personable and friendly!  He will politely ease up to you and let you touch him under the chin for a sweet scratch.  His horns are starting to grow already!  He's all black, and 19 days old in this picture.  He's out of Mona, our flock matron/mascot and Wheely Wooly Moonlight.  Notice the extra fur on the sides of his nose?  All of Mona's ram lambs have that! :)  He is a twin, the other lamb being a ewe we named Wheely Wooly Mousa.  (Mousa is an Old Norse word meaning "mossy".)  She looks exactly like him, except the extra fur on her nose is not there like he has.  Moorwyn MIGHT be for sale, we'll see!...also out of registered stock.
 The other lambs were VERY hard to get pictures of with the limits of my camera!  So here is a good attempt!  This is Wheely Wooly Gansey (left), Peerie (in the middle), and I believe Rapport on the right.  Gansey and Peerie are Gracelyn's twin ewe lambs, and Rapport is the twin ram out of Lil' Rainbow this year (his sister, Rapunzel, looks similiar to Peerie).  We are keeping all of the girls, and Rapport will possibly be for sale.  (Rapport's sire is Wheely Wooly Whirlwind, Mona's ram lamb from awhile back, also a Maewyn!  Confused yet?  I'm surprised I"VE got it all straight...thanks to my pages of notes! lol)  He is growing very fast!  He has white whisps on his head around his ears, but probably not enough to give him a special Shetland markings name.  His horns are already growing!  Let's see...Rapport is one month old in this picture, Gansey and Peerie are three weeks old here.  Gansey has a slight bit of white on top of her head, Peerie is all black.  Will they fade or go greyish?  That's the fun of Shetlands!  I have no idea! :)  Gansey and Peerie are also Whirly lambs.  Whirly has dreamy fleece and an outstanding temperament.  He'll fade to soft gray in time.
 Trillium, one of Wisconsin's treasured wildflowers!  I love looking for these each spring!  They grow in deciduous forest floors and bloom just before leaf-out of the trees above.  Trillium stand about 9 inches tall (roughly).  The name comes from tri, meaning three petals.  They are always white, but can at times have a pinkish blush to the petals.  They can grow in 'colonies', creating gorgeous masses of flowers on the sun-dappled forest floor in mid-spring.
 Jack-in-the-Pulpit...see him in there?  Peep under the top leaf, and you'll see him in there, ready to give you a sermon on the importance of preserving our wild spaces!!!
Grows about 9 inches tall, but this one was tiny, only a few inches tall.
 Wisconsin's state flower, the wood violet.  These are tiny, but can grow larger.  This wild space is alongside a road near our farm. 
AAARRRRGGGHHH!  Sophie!  Get out of that wool! :)  Ok, but last time, though!  How am I supposed to spin it when you are in there, purring away????
Wool:  Kitty tested....and approved!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our lambs!  I still don't have a picture of Maggie Mae, Mousa, and updated pic of Daisy (she is CUTE!), Lark, and Rapunzel.  We are still waiting on Sweetie to lamb, and she looks about ready to go.  And Posie is STILL looking huge, with her udder FINALLY filling out! And Claire, well, we'll see yet!  Don't forget Primrose!  There is lots to come!

Last note: the whole group of 'black' lambs has drawn quite a bit of attention to our farm, and neighbors are all commenting on them with great surprise and delight!  Need advertising for your farm?  Buy Shetlands! :) (...ok...maybe I'm a little biased!)

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