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.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shame On Me!

Shame on me for not getting those pictures of our lambs for you!  Last Friday morning was blustery and chilly.  Much warmer weather was predicted for the weekend, so I decided to take a chance and get our rotational fencing up.  I wanted to start easing our ewes onto grass, but you have to catch just the right moment for two reasons:  first, you don't want to throw them out there without caution as they would bloat up and possibly die from too quick a transition to the lush grass with a higher moisture content and second, you don't want to have them walking on ground not yet ready, as it will make the soil rock hard, and delay the growth of the grass, yet you want to get them out there to adjust as grass greens up.  I was really hoping this weekend would result in good grass growth, so I began the slow transition from hay to grass.  It's a lot of work!  Also, the little lambs have to learn the routine.  They have to learn to run with their mothers to new and unknown spaces.  They have to be able to find their mothers if they get separated.  Then once out there, they have new things to see and explore, including the fence and how that works!  It's during this transition that I don't get too much else done, as I'm checking on them a lot, or sitting out there with them, making sure things go ok, that nobody gets overheated, stuck in the fence, or not able to find the water.

For example, Mona's little lambs, Moorwyn and Mousa didn't know to follow the flock.  So Mona wouldn't run with the flock, being such a great mom as she is!  The first day, we had to carry her little lambs out in front of her to get them all out. (...a good excuse to hug a little lamb!!...)  Once out there, they did fine together.  Meanwhile, Lacey was following little Lark everywhere and nearly passing out from the new heat in the process!  Lark is a strong, vigorous, active little lamb, very playful and full of mischief.  Rapport and Maggie Mae are like-wise, and were the leaders in lamb races and silliness.  How fun to watch them!  I kept thinking I'd forgotten my camera, but I didn't dare take the time to leave them for awhile.  Gansey and Peerie would occasionally lose their mum, Gracie.  Gracie would run around, trying to find them, and eventually, they'd be back together.

The weather did indeed warm up!  We were in the low 80's by Sunday!!  Sure 'nough, the grass exploded!  Then one night, we got a nice, well-behaved thundershower.  That always jump-starts spring!  The birds are very busy, the wren arrived, the lark is singing constantly, and the bluebirds are checking out our birdhouses. How nice it is!  By Sunday, the lambs were getting the hang of the run out, and how the pasture works.  Lamb races were on!!!  One spot out there has a mound, and there was lots of play there as well.  And us shepherds were in t-shirt sleeves all weekend!  Finally, we could shed our down coats, wool socks, and wool mittens.  Up 'til Friday, we were still wearing all of that.

As the lambs adjusted to the pasture, we slowly migrated the fencing down hill to taller grass.  Yesterday, they were on grass that was several inches high and pretty rich.  I think we could say they are now eased onto it well enough that I won't need to worry much anymore.  No one came in bloated or in worrisome condition.  So work on the garden has begun!  Peas, carrots, lettuces, spinach are all planted.  The garden was cleaned up, things pruned.  I found nice potato seed and the onions we always like to plant.  It was a very busy time as all these things must be done in a small window of time.  It's all done now, so perhaps I can get back to sewing the buttons on my Wooly Bear sweater!

Crocheted flowers make fun embellishments on other projects!
We have several for sale.  

We also have popular Shetland headbands for sale, in many colors.

If you enjoy our farm blog and learning about the sheep, you can support the flock by purchasing products from our Etsy store.  Your support is greatly appreciated and helps keep the flock going and growing!

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