Friday, March 09, 2007

March Miscellany

Tomorrow is double digit March. It seemed like winter was forever, and now March is here with a rush. March is our month for shearing. I'm a low tech shearer, going about it with hand scissors with the sheep on a blocking stand. It's peaceful and quiet and I get up close and personal with the sheep and the fleece. Donna Schoonover inspired me to get them done a few at a time from reading her blog. Thanks, Donna! So far, I've sheared 5 of the Shetland ewes. The first 2 were Bitterroot Bessie and her daughter, Little Country Val, who we bought from Juliann Budde in Illinois. They were exposed to Sheltering Pines Octavian before making the trek West, and both appear to be pregnant!!

Bessie is above, and Val is below. I visited Juliann last spring and fell in love with Val. When Bess and Val came up for sale, I reserved both of them, then had to figure out how to get them West! It was an adventure. :-)

It was worth it, though. Aren't they beautiful?

Bessie Relaxing before shearing time

Val relaxed and cozy

I became acquainted with Gotland sheep last year, and I fell in love... in love with their color, their look, their personality and their fleece. We are part of a small group using LAI to bring the breed to North America.

In November, we bred 9 ewes with Gotland semen and they're due to lamb in just over 3 weeks. The farm that exported the semen, also provides Gotland products.

For Christmas, New Year's and our Anniversary, my DH bought me a custom made Gotland shearling vest. What a complete surprise and a wonderfully soft and warm piece of wardrobe! Now I'm a walking advertisement for Gotland sheep. :-)

I can wear the vest either curly side out, as on the left, or skin side (dyed) out, as on the right. My preference is to wear the curly side in, and trap all that warmth inside. It's especially nice in my chilly office at work.

We were out working in the yard last weekend, and the rams were all frisky. Pogo-ing and posturing, poking their noses out at us whenever we got close. They must be feeling good about spring coming, too. I snapped this shot of our 2 "senior" rams, Willie and Eino. It's a great comparison between a mature Shetland ram and a mature Finn ram. They kind of share the top ram spot. When we put them together after breeding season, we kept a close eye on them, not wanting polled Eino to get hurt by Willie's horns. Eino demonstrated quite a talent for deflecting the charges made by Willie, and yearling Winter. By the time they'd been together a couple days, the two of them seemed to be pretty good buds... thank goodness.

Willie and Eino enjoying each other's company

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