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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

More Winnings!

For those of you who know who is winning all this stuff, here is the update!

Advanced Showmanship Reserve Champion!

Saturday was yet another fun day for the shepherds on Wheely Wooly Farm!  There was no market that day due to Appleton's splendid Oktoberfest, which is a huge event separate from the weekly market activities.  It's a great day to deviate from the world of sheep, into the fascinating and incredibly diverse world of poultry.  This year, the focus was on moving up in the hardest category of showmanship.  Advanced showmanship is for the smartest, wisest, and brightest!  lol  Well, it IS the category of those who have earned top trophies at least three times in other qualifying events, just to get INTO the competition.  Our competitor succeeded at that right out of the gate and rapidly advanced.  

However, Advanced showmanship has been the most fun!  The competition includes competitors from the entire state.  These competitors know their stuff, and work very hard at winning.  This is no piece of cake!  So this year, it is with many smiles and lots of sweat that this trophy now graces the pile of other trophies in the farmhouse on Wheely Wooly Farm!

This time, it's a golden chicken.  It's been a long wait for a golden chicken!!  Funny, the things that inspire...

Back to the know I can't stay off the topic of sheep long fall progresses, changes need to take place in the flock.  This is the time of year the rams really shine.  They've spent the last many, many months as obscure, good boys hangin' out, chewing cud, and listening to the birds while laying in the shade, but things are a changin' based on the whacking sounds coming from their pen!  As you get closer, you hear their grunts and the sound of horns clicking, as they tussle to the vibes of hormones.  I always wonder what is must be like to be such sweet creatures that are totally hijacked by those raging, wild hormones every fall!  

As the cool air moves in, the rams seem to wake up and realize they have a very important job to do.  Don't try to stop them! lol  This year, Lerwick is getting the same ewes he got last year, as we really liked the results of those pairings.  Wooly Bear has a batch of ewes that give a variety of color in fleeces that we love.  Some of the white ewes are going to a new, non-Shetland ram whom we also love!  Fall is an exciting time, as you put months of planning and dreaming into progress!  They will all go together this year around Oct. 1st.  We planned it late this year for a variety of very, very, very exciting, and scary reasons!!!!!!!!!!!!  But I cannot share about that at this time.

It's also a sad time as we have to say goodbye to some we love.  Some changes have been made to make those days easier, and that was really nice,  Plus, hay comes in, the barn is cleaned out and ready, and it's time to repair fences and stash them away for the next grazing season.  Speaking of grazing, our ewes are STILL out grazing!  The grass is in great shape and we'll be able to go awhile yet.  It's been a good year that way.  The flock is well trained now (meaning the lambs we're keeping) in moving away from our sheep dog, moving through pens and grazing spaces, so things are very peaceful around here and everyone is content with the exception of the hijacked rams.  I'm always amazed at how they turn  into poor fellows, at the whims of hormones and whacks, knocking themselves senseless and clicking horns like ceaseless chatter!  Nature is an amazing thing!  And how handsome they are, in their glory!  

As a shepherd, ya gotta love the rams.  If you don't, it would be so much harder!  The rams have a natural beauty all their own of might, power and brilliance...and I love to admire them....on the OTHER side of the fence! lol

Up next, either Whirly's awesome natural colored mittens with bright blue swirly flowers or the purple yarn I just dyed for socks.  Coming off the wheel, more Claire and more Iris, then more Shetland black. Have a great day everyone! 

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