Monday, September 27, 2010

Wonderful fall days

The sheep and llama Zinnia have been moved over to a new pasture! They are very pastoral in the green of the new field with the yellowing corn field as a back drop. The apples have been ripening and canning applesauce has taken precedence over house cleaning.

We have been "cleaning house" though with our sheep, our dear BFL ram (Giddeon) has found a new home near Fennimore. He produced many nice lambs this year, but since Border Leicesters seem to be faster growing and hardier we have decided to go with them and keep a few other breeds and crossbreds for fleece.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I must be crazy!


So a friend asked if I would help her clear out her fleeces... So of course I hung up the phone saying I would consider the offer already knowing that of course I would say "yes". Now that I have purchased and picked up all these beautiful Border Leicester fleeces (23 in all), I am wondering what was I thinking! They are all beautiful and many will go to the mill and be made into clouds for the shop and for the spinning classes.

Any interest in raw fleece out there? Stop by the shop and take a look at them!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lambers


Lambers meeting Britta the guard dog and Mittens the mistress of the house.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Twinkle's Lambing

A nose and hooves! Perfect presentation!


This was an amazing experience that Twinkle (one of our original Merino ewes) was kind enough to let me be part of and document. She seemed to be comforted by my presence, although a bit timid she has always liked being pampered and cared for. How sweet she lambed the same day as her daughter Tilly.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What is at the end of a rainbow?


LAMBS! Miss Tilly delivered two very frisky Blue Faced Leicester looking ram lambs Wednesday morning. Bounce our oldest (besides UFO) at age 12 also delivered twins, a ewe and ram lamb. All are doing well. I have more pictures to come of an amazing birth I was lucky enough to witness from Twinkle (Tilly's mom)... if I can get them off my camera.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

No lambs yet!

An breezy evening is a perfect time to bring the damp yarns out to dry on the clothes line! Once the sun has set behind the trees, this makes for beautiful dancing colors out on the lawn!

No lambs yet. How could we be so off? These ewes are so ready to be done being pregnant. They waddle around (much like I did...) and groan when they need to get up. But the evenings are nice and cool and perfect for grazing in the tall cool grass. Life is good for the sheep these days. At this point last year they were miserable since we were still waiting for the shearer to call!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Farm cookout/ festival

Anna really wants you all to come baaaa-dly :)

Mark your calendars, we're planning our first annual farm cookout for August 15 (Sunday)!

In other CSA news - Our gorgeous chocolate wool/alpaca blend is back from the mill and we will have our first shipments ready soon! Exciting!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our little clown


He is a strange looking little lamb, born at an awkward time, too late to be from the early crop of lambs and too early from the late crop! His speckled appearance makes him especially special to me!

Yesterday I think I might have cracked the code... I came home to a baaing mama and lamb, it was indeed Cathy/#24 and her clownish lamb in with the 2 rams. I think she might have a secret entrance to the rams pen for secret dates. I suppose October won't be a terrible time for one more lamb. What a surprise that would have been if I hadn't found her! Now we will expect a possibility.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lazy Warm Days




The sheep's first day of grazing down the fast growing lawn around our house. Midday they took a siesta under the lilacs and plum thicket. Ah, to be a sheep.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gorgeous Wool....



Ahhh! Such gorgeous wool! I look forward to skirting all year, and although it took about 30-45 minutes for each fleece (times that by 24!) it was well worth being able to touch and intimately pick through each fleece. Now I have to wait a whole another year to do it again!

The chocolate sheep, Bastian, Uma, Ugo and Willa have been sent to be blended and spun at Heavenly Fibers Mill. I have decided to add something special to this yarn.... Alpaca! I had a few very nice fleeces from a local alpaca breeder which were dark brown, they will be super nice with these fleeces!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wendell Berry

When reading this poem I can remember vividly coming home not long ago to our first time mamma ewe Betsy and seeing her out in the middle of the field with twins. Berry's words just fills me with peace.

They are fighting again the war to end war,
And the ewe flock, bred in October, brings forth
in March. This so far remains, this pain
and renewal, whatever war is being fought.
We go through the annual passage of birth
and death, triumph and heartbreak, love
and exasperation, mud, milk, mucus, and blood.
Yet once more the young ewe stands with her lambs
in the dawnlight, the lambs well-suckled
and dry. There is no happiness like this.

The window again welcomes in the light
of lengthening days. The river in its old groove
passes again beneath opening leaves.
In their brevity, between cold and shade,
flowers again brighten the woods floor.

This then may be the prayer without ceasing,
this beauty and gratitude, this moment.

Wendell Berry: III
-from Given: Poems, Shoemaker & Hoard Publishers, 2005

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shearing in action

video

Shearing Day!

Getting a pedicure! It's a spa day for the sheep!
All newly shorn (expect UFO to the left)
My mother, brother and daughter Stella all wearing something hand knit!
Pre-shearing....
Shearing day went well, thankfully not as hot as last year! Our woolly beasts are now tucked in the barn until they grow a bit of it back or until the sun warms us up for good! The wool is beautiful, I have been itching to get skirting it so I can really look through it. Willa's fleece got many ooo's and aaa's from everyone watching, it is pitch black on the inside and chocolate brown on the outside. The 2 new cormo fleeces also look delicious. Although one of the Cormos we found out is not actually female.... we all had a good laugh, but now i have the unpleasant business of correspondence with the woman who sold them as good "breeding" stock. Oh well, it made our shearer's day to see something out of the ordinary.

I will post more pictures of the fleeces soon! Thank you Sara G and Sara W from the CSA who helped us that day, and to the Schneider family, we could not have run this day as smoothly without them!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New carding mill

This is very exciting to me and should be exciting to you as well. There is a NEW fiber mill in Readstown (a small town very close by). After shearing on Monday we will be skirting and bringing fleeces to Heavenly Fibers Mill for washing and some spinning! We will still send some fiber out (after they wash it) to be spun at a different mill with equipment for very fine fibers. We may have our first shipments back before July at this point!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lambing is finished for now...


The lambing is finished until May. Although this was accidental, I do rather prefer spacing the lambing out in 2 different times. It gives us a bit of time to breath before the next wave of emotional roller coasters that are always present around lambing. We decided this year that tagging was indeed necessary to tell who is who later on in life once nursing is over! Two of our lambs from last year - Cynthia and Willow - look exactly the same and we have to muse for minutes who is who! Although tagging was a must, tail docking we are still unconvinced is a truly needed procedure. Tail docking is performed to keep flies from laying their eggs in the manure around the sheep's hindquarters, and to make work easier for the butcher and shearer. Although the fear of "flystrike" is very real we have decided that dedicated "crutching" (shearing) of the sheep's hindquarters a few times per summer will keep those nasty little flies away, plus good rotational grazing management limits flies as well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sorrow and Joy


video

Bernice finally went into labor after many of her companions had surprised us with lambs. Bernice did not surprise us, but although we could tell it was going to happen anytime the hours kept ticking away. She did not seem to be struggling or in much discomfort, thus we and our vet on the phone assumed she must not be quite ready yet. Finally late afternoon we had had enough worrying and called the vet out. We quickly realized that a lamb was breach (my nightmare!) and was holding up the others! After some manipulation we were able to birth the first lamb. Then came the 2nd.... and 3rd. Sadly lamb one and three were dead, but lamb 2 who we have now named Bess survived and is healthy and active. I blame myself for this outcome. I should have been more proactive about checking her internally before it was too late. Next time I will put my "willies" aside and go digging - as our vet has referred to it as.

We are glad to have at least one darling little lamb for are heroic mamma.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Any day now...


Bernice is looking fairly large these days... I'm sure hoping there's more than one lamb in there and that's not all fat! ....We have been surprised before....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Melting Snow!

Finally the snow is beginning to melt, it makes us realize how much snow we actually had! Unfortunately with melting snow comes muddy ground. This weekend we will need to section off the ewes from the big pasture and keep them close to the barn until the grass is ready. If we put them out too soon their tiny hooves will tear up the sod and the pasture will be ruined for the summer!

Exciting news: Bernice, the mother of our beloved flock leader Junior, is beginning to "bag up", once a sheep's udder begins to bag up it's only a matter time before lambs are here! We hope and think she'll be the only mom to lamb this early, the rest are due for early May. Tomorrow we are off to pick up lambing pens from a very generous friend who does not do any lambing anymore.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Leapers!


Here is a picture of #186 (Anna) one of our new cormo/Blue Faced Leicester crosses. Although cute and fiberlicious, she and her partner Sue are now known as the leapers. We have never had problems until now with our sheep escaping, we are worried that they may teach others in their flock... Ah well.

Shearing is approaching, we are hoping the last week of March will be "David Time", the shearer, David, gives us about a day's (or less) notice of when he'll be arriving. Last year my mom and I juggled catching sheep and holding a 2 month old baby while the shearing was in progress! I hope this year Keith is able to make it! I have been loitering around the coffee roaster in town (the wonderful Kickapoo Coffee) picking up the burlap coffee sacks that they leave out for takers. Mostly people use them for mulch or weed control. We are using them for storing the raw fleeces just after shearing and skirting (picking through the fleeces). I have also recently come across a blog where they are using large pieces of Kraft paper to roll the fleeces up in. I may need to experiment with that method as well! In years past we have always used plastic bags, but they tear easily, they are not at all breathable and if stored for a long time and destroy the fleece! Not good! Coffee and paper it is for 2010! We'll see which one works better.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Waiting for lambs

It was about this time last year that we thankfully had a few very warm days, and in those warm sunny days we had 6 lambs born! They were from 4 new ewes who we had been told were due in April! What a surprise! Our girls are supposedly all due in May but because of an accidental break out of our rams we thought we might have a few due in February. But it seems like we might be in the clear, no signs of impending labors yet!

In other fibery news, we are definitely now renovating our porch starting in March to be an awesome dyeing and wool washing studio! We're very excited about this :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


It's great to be a sheep in winter! This morning as I was leaving for work they were all leaping, running, butting each other and having a grand ol' time! The two new ewes are rambunctious and have even the oldest of grandmothers kicking up her heels! Tilly (the colored ewe in the picture above) was so excited (she is also quite round - adding to the humor of the experience) was just standing in one spot and leaping on all fours again and again!

The first picture is of our "guard" dog Britta - who was actually witnessed the other morning actually sitting guard along the property line! She must be growing up!

We have also added another to the family - a smallish (in comparison to Britta) black and white border collie/healer mutt was seemingly dumped off near us last weekend. He is so sweet and old that we may just need to give him a home!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Saturday excursion

On Saturday Keith, Stella and I are making a trek up to Boyd, WI (about 3 hours north) to meet and pick up a couple new ewes! I'm very excited because they are Cormo/Blue Faced Leicester crosses, shall we say YUMMY fleece? A friend of mine who is the culprit of this purchase is also going and purchasing two ewes as well. So be excited! We'll split these 2 fleeces plus the BFL rams fleece between all the shares!
Pictures to follow...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Once upon a Frosty Morn


We woke up to some gorgeous frosty fog this morning!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010




Here are a few pictures to get you acquainted with us and our land. We're perched very high atop the ridge. Our sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous, but in the winter the wind is bitterly cold! Good weather for sheep, they love it! Even on some of the coldest days, if the sun is shining they'll all be outside sunning themselves, sprawled out in the snow!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome!

Junior would like to welcome you to our new blog, your link to our farm and YOUR fiber, which the woolly beasts are busy growing right now!

With subzero temperatures the sheep have really "fluffed" out right before our eyes in the last couple months! What a cold snowy year it has been thus far!