Friday, July 6, 2018

another Surprise!!

This yearling ewe delivered her carbon copy of a ewe lamb
last evening.  I didn't notice that she might possible be due
until two or three days ago and only because she had
started to udder up.  She was a fairly thin ewe and I didn't have 
the slightest idea that she was bred until a couple of days ago.
A side note: please excuse her terrible looking fleece,
she was roo-ed and then clipped were the fleece was not ready 
to be roo-ed.  She will be trimmed up one the fleece has had
time to grow out some. 
This yearling is also another RR - scrapie resistant ewe.
 So is Fergus, he is RR also.
So these  two little ewes (half sisters through their Sire - Fergus).
Will both be RR - scrapie resistant ewes and they both
have tight curly wool, a good indication of a fine wooled sheep.

So as of now I still have one more ewe (my old girl) that is expecting.
I didn't pull Fergus out until after we sheared on March 9th.
So we could potentially have lambs through August 3rd...
I really, really, really  hope not.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Washing wool and July surprises

This past weekend was a great time to get some wool washed.
 I was able to get about eight fleeces washed this weekend.  Yeah!!
Now on to carding it :/  So much to do and so little time, 
I will manage ... I always do!

On another note, in our flurry of activity, we sold all of our
market lambs two weeks ago, holding back one smaller stature
border cheviot/shetland ram lamb to use in the future.

Cross breeding our ewes and selling those lambs as market lambs
helps to keep our venture paying for itself.  When these lambs sell
it helps to pay for any hay, grain and supplies that I need to 
maintain the whole flock.  Come festival time or any additional
craft show or event that I can participate in to sell additional 
products made from the wool or the locks or roving I have 
it all helps to support the sheep.

I can selectively breed some of my shetland ewes to my shetland rams
for more purebred stock.  Of which I keep or may offer for sale.

So, this brings me to my July surprise!
I intentionally bred one of my ewes late and she lambed in June -as planned.
The little bugger ram lamb that I used, was turned out with my 
ewe flock in March.  I really didn't think that any of my ewes would 
cycle this late ..."generally" a shetland is seasonal breeder "usually" 
between September and February.
This evening when I called the ewes in from the pasture I 
noticed one ewe still in the pasture and somthing small beside her...
The little ewe lamb below is what we have.
 I was completely surprised.  I didn't even notice that she was expecting.
 This is a precious little ewe lamb, of which I will have to make room 
for her too.
 Her mom is a yearling and has been very attentive.
This yearling ewe is one of my scrapie resistant ewes, she has 
been tested and is RR.  Fergus, the ram that bred her is also 
RR.  So we our pretty pleased to have this little ewe lamb in the flock.
I didn't inspect her too closely yet, we'll save that for another day.

and, just this past weekend we were discussing that I have an older ewe
that I didn't breed, but we noticed that she appears to be uttering up
so we will see.  That little guy Fergus did more than we intended.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Great weather to wash some wool...

Today I heard from Sue Szary of Twin birch products.
She is a shetland "fleece fan" and has informed me that she 
always buys a fleece of mine while she is a vendor
at the Great Lakes Fiber show.

and yes,  Today was a great day to wash wool, I think this next 
week would be a great time to get wool wash with all this heat we are having.

Sue is in Siler city North Carolina and has a wonderful
brick and mortar store with handcrafted birchwood fiber 
art tools and much more.
Sue is also on Facebook at Twin Birch & Teasel.

Check out the link above to see the goodies that are available.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Wait! ...were did May go?

What happened?  I've had alot going on and really intended to get a post out in May 
and missed it.  We had the Great Lakes Fiber Show  -Which was awesome! 
I didn't get one picture!  I think I really need to take the whole week off
away from my day job to prepare better.

So lets catch up...
 We had a new white ewe lamb born this morning.

I've never lambed this late.  In January I decided to put a #61 Andrea
in with a white polled ram lamb.  I didn't breed her earlier in the fall 
because she had become ill and was already stressed.
But she has come through with the gorgeous lamb.
 The shetland lambs are growing by leaps and bounds.
The ones at the feeder are shetlands, two blacks a grey and moorit.
Those in the back are border cheviot / shetland crosses.
 My two spotted shetland lambs, on the left a ewe, the right a ram
are both loosing their spots :(
 Another gorgeous white shetland ewe lamb.
 The white lambs in this photo are all border cheviot / shetland crosses.
They are gaining quickly.  I haven't had time to weigh them
but I believe I will have a group of them ready to go soon.
Three more of the crosses.
 Back in March when we had the sheep sheared I held back about 
10 sheep that we would hopefully be able to roo.  
Well half of them did roo and we found that some didn't roo at all.
So while I've been working on shearing them by hand I have found
a why that is working quite well for me.  Which I will share.
This is one of my newest rams, which we really got him hoping to
get this pattern, but he doesn't roo.
 Isn't he pretty? and he has a good disposition.
 So what I have found is that if I part the fleece as shown above
then working from the back to the front I slide my hand shearers
into the wool as shown below.
 Holding the shears in the angle shown I can get close to the skin and 
not cut the skin. Continuing across to the front.  Taking small 
bites so you can see what you are doing and it really goes pretty fast.
 I can get the prime part of the fleece off in one piece.  I leave 
the britch and underbelly to take off afterwards.  Because these
are pieces that I would skirt off the fleece anyway...for a handspinner.
The britch still have a useful purpose, this just makes it easier for me.
TA DAH!!  A shorn ram in under 30 minutes!

That's all for today!

Monday, April 30, 2018

growing lambs

 Center of this pic. shows one of the first lambs born here, with his
Dam at his side.  He is six weeks old today and is almost as tall 
as his Dam.  He carries spots and is scurred.  He has a very 
gentle personality.  Anyone looking for a new ram?
 This little spotted ewe will be staying here.  She and her twin were
the last lambs born here.  She is now three weeks old.  I'm sure that
she will lose all of her body spotting, but her face and legs spotting 
will stay.
 This little spotted ram lamb with his Dam.  He is about 3 1/2 weeks old.
I think I may have to hold onto this guy and see what happens with
his spots.  He will be horned.
 Below, a short clip of how these lambs get their exercise every day,
morning and night.

 Below, another cute little black ewe, 5 1/2 weeks old that will be staying here.
Those fine black fleeces sell....must keep another one.
Above, I had to share the pink moon that we had last evening.
Although you cannot tell the color here, it was quite beautiful
and appeared quite early in the evening.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Skirting fleeces

 I have been skirting fleeces off and on as time permits since we have
shorn the sheep.  A couple of weeks ago we had warmer weather and
roo-ed a few.  The grey fleece shown today is one of those.
This is a grey lamb fleece, very fine and very clean.
This is one of fifteen that I have selected to take to the 
 Each fleece I skirt I check to make sure that it is a healthy fleece. 
Taking a lock of wool from the side and tugging on it to check it's strength.  
I am still amazed at the lock length and fineness.
Above shows a relaxed lock length of 4 inches.
 Stretching out the staple length show it at just over 6 inches.
What elasticity!!
With lots of grey color variation.  Most enjoyed with processing 
it yourself, getting to separate the colors to see the variation
in your yarn.  ...or having a woolen mill process it, 
(one that can handle processing fine wool)
blending all the various coloration to make one color of grey.

I don't see having time to show you here all the fleeces 
that I will be taking to the show to sell but....

What will I have available at the 
Great Lakes Fiber Show??

1 - Black 
1 - Mioget
2 - White
3 - Fawn
4 - Musket 
4 - Grey

I have already sent out much wool to be made into combed top.
I plan to have some beautiful fawn top 
and white top available for sale
 in the Guild (Algonquin Spinners & Weavers) booth at
the Great Lakes Fiber Shows,
located next to the Information booth.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#51 Audrey & #60 Zoe

 This morning Audrey had delivered her lambs. A ewe and ram
The ewe lamb did not survive, but the ram lamb is doing well
 These pics. were taken in the evening and this little guy has found 
the most comfortable place to lay.
Zoe, above seemed to have been in labor since this morning.
When I came home this evening she had made no progress so I 
wasn't going to wait any longer.  After tending to everyone's needs
I moved a couple of ewes out of this pen and slipped Zoe in.
Going back into the house to scrub up, I was determined that 
I was going to help her along.  With assistance we were able
to get ahold of the little spotted ewes legs and guild her 
out while Mom did her part.
When she was ready to deliver the second lamb, a moorit ram
again I kept constant tension on his little legs so she could 
do her part and deliver him.

I've had a few issues with deliveries this year I believe that I have overfed my ewes
causing their body condition to be a little too plump therefore some of the births have been distressing on the ewes and lambs.  I definitely need to be more mindful
when it comes to giving anything more than good hay.
This ends our Spring Lambing for 2018.
We might have some summer deliveries but 
we are not going to get too excited about this just yet.