Thursday, April 26, 2007
It was getting quite late last night and the last thing we had to do was put down some clean straw in the Hilton. I wrestled the bale through the gate and could feel little bodies clustering around my feet. Shuffling slowly and letting the bale down carefully, I was just ready to cut the strings when it was discovered! Discovered by multitudes of black and white bodies (and one brown body).
The Lambs at the Hilton were not ready to go to sleep, no, not at all. They commandeered the hay bale as the center of their impromptu playground and played king of the mountain - up and down, up and down, leap and spring! It was just too great for us to spoil their fun right away, so we stood there and felt their fiber, looked at color, socialized and played with the lambs.
And eventually, what do adults do? Well, we spoil the kids fun, of course. ;-) We opened the bale of straw and spread it out - leaving a couple of mini-piles for late(r) night fun. Bed felt even better after destressing with the lambs, and I'm sure sleep came faster than usual.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
This little ram has presence, evenly crimpy birth coat, lovely head and tail, and rock solid rear. He's standing with his equally nice sister, Midnight, below. These two are for sale at this time.
Blizzard's black half brother/cousin is just one day old but already has that same presence, four square stance and evenly crimpy birth coat that Blizzard does. "Daisy's Black Boy" will be for sale if we don't keep him here.
Both of our moorit gulmoget ram lambs, Franjean and Rool, are for sale. We're keeping Franjean's moorit gulmoget sister, Elora, and so retaining that pattern in our flock. I'm really impressed by the solid bodies on these boys. They should be soft and somewhat intermediate in fleece character. Rool is pictured below.
Both boys are sired by Sheltering Pines Octavian, a double F2 black gulmoget polled ram owned by Juliann Budde in Illinois. Franjean's dam is Bitterroot Bessie, and Rool's dam is Bessie's daughter, Little Country Val.
More to brag about - Fleeces!!!
The Shepherds' Extravaganza is the first major sheep and fiber event in the Pacific Northwest. This year (at my suggestion!) the handspinning fleece show featured Shetland Sheep fleeces. Well, since it was my suggestion, I felt I had to enter as many fleeces as I could to support the show. The limit was 10... whew! I got just 10 sheared and skirted in time to enter the show. There was a total Shetland fleece entry of 39 - excellent support from as far away as Oregon and Alberta!
Imagine my surprise when one of our fleeces won Best Shetland Ram fleece!!!
This is Willie's second shearing. His is a very "modern" UK type fleece with shorter crimpy black wool and no white fibers at 2 years of age. Willie is for sale this year as we have some very nice offspring of his to carry on.
I was also (less pleasantly) surprised to find out that I'd missed finding some tender fleece in one of our entries, and it was "awarded" a white ribbon. oops!
This fleece is a very, very black soft primitive style fleece that was sheared in September, so it was also extremely clean. I can't take all the credit for this one. It came from a ram lamb we bought from Kim Kerley of Mountain Niche farm in Chehalis. We were filling out our show string, and only needed him through September. Who'd have thought??!
The surprises kept coming, though ... another of our entries won Best Shetland Lamb fleece, and then in the final competition - won the Champion Shetland Fleece. I was stunned. Happily stunned. :-)
Here's the view of the Hilton that we see from the Lamb Cam:
The latest lambs are in the jug with Daisy. She had triplets on Sunday ... no, make that Monday morning - early. We came home from the Shepherds' Extravaganza and found her in labor. Only a bit later it became obvious that the lamb was not in position to be born and I had to reposition it! This was my first time sorting out and moving an unborn lamb and it was a bit scary. All turned out well, though, after number 1 was moved, numbers 2 and 3 followed in quick succession. They're shown below.
They are 2 rams and 1 ewe, bringing our lamb total for 2007 to 35. The lambs now outnumber adults with 3, maybe 4 more to lamb.
Below is Daisy's ewe lamb. She has an interesting marking on her front leg, brown and black like a splash of katmoget. She also has a small black spot between her tail and right hip. Interesting.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Next to deliver were the AI girls. Interestingly enough, they delivered **by breed**. The Finns (bred with Gotland semen) went first on April 2 and 3 with two sets of twins and two sets of quads. One of the quads was stillborn, so the total is 7 rams - 6 black with white and 1 white, and 4 ewes - 3 black with white and 1 white. Tucker is below with her troop of 4.
Niblet's white twins are completely different looking than their relatives. They are very long boned with close, extremely curled fleece. Just look at this boy's legs!
After about a week they've filled out some, but still look quite different from the rest. Kibbles is on the left and sister, Bits, is on the right.
Next to lamb were the Scottish Blackface. In 2006, we had the first North American Scottie born from imported Scottish semen. This year we have 7!!! One of which is a second generation, 75% imported bloodline. Below is EverRanch Genesis' 75% UK ewe lamb in her first day of life.Ewe One, my partner in the Ladies Lead photo at the top of the blog, gifted us with triplets this year - a ram and two ewes. They're shown below.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Mother Nature is playing tricks on us in Western Washington. Through peeks of sunshine, she pelted us with hail and "chunky" rain yesterday. It looks to be continuing through today.
The Ovine Hilton is habitable!!! The roof is complete and wow! it's everything we thought it would be and more. As we were fastening the last panels, the hail came down in earnest. No leaks! Yeaaaa! Now some hog panels, canvas sides and straw, and it'll be ready for the ewes.
The lamb calendar says the AI ewes are at day 141, within the birthing window especially for Finnsheep, and at SBF EweOne's 2006 gestation. The Sylvania lamb cam is set up and running next to my computer monitor. What a great tool for "ewe watching" ... any time, girls!