Monday, September 24, 2007


Bright and early we packed up and headed out for the 3 1/2 hour drive to Canby, Oregon and the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. This is one of the really good fiber festivals! So many vendors, and so many wonderful sheep!

The newly formed Gotland Sheep Breeders Association of North America has chosen to have our Annual General Meeting at OFFF. Canby is a fairly central location for most of the Gotland sheep breeders. This meeting found yours truly being elected President of the Association, after serving as Secretary for the previous year plus.

The GSBANA has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. We have approved Bylaws, a Breed Standard and Upgrading Rules. At OFFF, we approved our Recording and Registration process, completed assigning flock numbers and Charter memberships. Wow! We have the beginnings of a website. Have a look and see why we're so excited about these neat sheep. :-)

I saw so many long distance friends at OFFF, and didn't get a chance to really talk much to anyone! Lois, your sheep were beautiful - and congratulations on the show win! I got to fondle the fleeces in the show - lovely. I won't steal Michelle's thunder about her fleece - as long as she posts it soon! Brava and Braveheart were very cute and have awesome fleeces. :-) MaryBeth's ewe lamb was breathtaking! Carol Ronan's 75% Gotland lambs hold so much promise for the rest of us in years to come. Peggy (friend from the sheep AND dog world) had a wonderful Churro ram that won Best Primitive Ram, and I only got to say "hi" to Stephanie, one of my fellow AKC Tracking Judges - who also has Navajo Churros.

We took all of the Fair Fleeces - all 24 of them(!) - and offered them at the OFFF parking lot fleece sale on Sunday morning. Each one had an individual description, some washed locks, and most had a spun sample. I think that preparation helped a lot with sales. About half of them sold. The Finnsheep fleeces went the quickest, the covered fleece from Lindy was one of the first sold, and surprising (to me!) was how much interest there was in the Scottish Blackface fleeces - they were very nice. (I saved the best one for Kathy :-) There were quite a few Shetland fleeces for sale, and we only sold 3 of ours, which means I get to "play" with the left overs. :-)

One of the "left overs" was a very dark brown ram lamb fleece. "Next door" was a very dark brown alpaca fleece. When the sale was over, I looked up the alpaca folks and bought their very dark brown cria fleece. OooooOooooOoooo.... the washed fleece samples are drying now, so I can blend the two and see how it spins up. I think I've found dark brown for my Fair Isle "project".

Our one Gotland-Finn fleece sheared to date (from white ewe lamb - Bits) also didn't sell. heh... I'd priced it high, so if it sold, I wouldn't regret it so much. ;-) Many, many people came looking for Gotland fleeces. All loved the fleece, but not for $30 per pound. (Nooooo, I wouldn't buy it for that either!!!)

Just before we left, I had three of the fleeces micron tested. As I understand, this is the test that Texas A&M does, and only uses a small-ish lock of fleece. Bits tested at 27.1 micron, Hortense (the adult BFLxBL silver ewe - my future Elven cloak!) tested at 34 micron, and Gala the Scottish Blackface F1 UK ewe lamb tested at 34 micron. I was expecting these last 2 to test higher than that. Golly, we have a Shetland that grows a 34 micron fleece! It was interesting to see that Gala didn't have the double peak that I expected. It should show up in her adult fleece.

OH! I have other fibery news - a week ago I was spinning with the Moonspinners at the Puyallup Fair and an older couple stopped by with photos of the loom they're selling. It looked so good to me, that on Tuesday, I went by and bought it! It's now sitting in the living room awaiting Hortense's yarn, a plan for an Elven cloak, and a warp. :-) :-) :-)

(Wednesday and Thursday I went to Eastern Washington with the last 2 sheep bound for Alberta, and picked apples with my daughter "on the way" home, then Friday got ready to go to OFFF, then Sat/Sun at OFFF! That should almost catch you gentle readers up. The only thing left is Fair Results from Puyallup....)

- Franna

Canadian Sheep, eh?

Well, first it was Bill Stearman and the Shetlands plus Blue-Faced Leicesters. I think Bill gets a prize for patience in waiting on his "Willow Garden South" flock for so long! Then, it was Linda Wendleboe and the Blue-Faced Leicesters.

I thank both of you for forging ahead and helping us with tips so our Canadian export/import process could go as well as it did!

Over the last 12 days, we drove/sent 9 sheep to British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. For anyone interested in the process - let it be known that the paperwork seems endless, the fees seem endless, and the process actually is do-able. I certainly wouldn't want to do it often - and neither would my vet! - but if you go step by step and don't contradict the "authorities" it can happen. It also helps - a lot! - to have a basic idea of what to expect.

We got word of a new wrinkle in the USDA SFCP program called the "Export Certified" program. We will learn more on our annual SFCP inspection next month, however, I get the impression that "soon" the only flocks that will be able to export sheep to Canada will have to be enrolled in this version of the SFCP. The ominous part is that it includes "head testing" on any sheep over 14 months old that has died of unknown cause. hmmmmmm.... I started thinking of how many that's been in our small flock over the 6 years we've had them and came up with a grand total of ... uno, one, 1. "Head testing" might not be so bad.

- Franna


I just got this sylvan photo in the mail yesterday. In the photo are, from left to right, Daisy, Mary, Daphne, and Sorsha enjoying their new home.

On September 12th (has that only been 12 days ago?) we packed up 7 sheep in the funky old trailer and drove up to the Canadian border. 5 Shetlands and one Gotland-Finn were headed to 100 Mile House and the flock of Beth and Dennis Greig. Teebo, one of the Scottish Blackface F1 UK ram lambs was headed to Chilliwack and Jean Robertson's flock. Dave and I much enjoyed meeting Dennis and Jean at the border station and talking sheep, government paperwork and how to save the world for the 2 hours(!) it took to process the sheep. (We really did enjoy the company!)

Beth just sent the photo of the sheep and a nice note saying that they're adjusting well. :-) Thanks, Beth!

- Franna

Sunday, September 09, 2007


...from the Puyallup Fair!

Preview Photos of the Lads and Ladies Lead!

Clarissa and Bossie were a big hit and won Third Place in Primary Ladies Lead!

Dave and Tom share a laugh in the Adult Lads Lead. Dave and Scottish Blackface Sweet Pea won first place in a tight contest with Tom Schoonover and Shetland Sheep Amanda.

Franna and Charcoal shared pink silk and Gotland grey and came away with 5th Place in a hot competition in the "Aged Ewe" class for Senior Ladies.

And the EverRanch Sheep winners are....

Clarissa Henry and Bossie, Charcoal and Franna, Sweet Pea and Dave.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's FAIR Time!

We finished taking the sheep to The Fair this evening. It's always a big deal, and always takes much longer than expected. This year we were paranoid because the lambs seem to be passing around some kind of snotty nose. One or two at a time seem to have it; when one gets cleared up, another starts in. They don't act sick at all, still eating and socializing, relaxing and cudding. This time, one of the fair sheep was snotty at check in. He got rejected along with one of his buddies who looked like he might be getting a snotty nose, too. Dang. The vet recommended we take them home, let them relax, take their temperatures the next day (today) and see if we wanted to try again.

So we did.

We temp'ed 6 or 7 of the lambs and they were all within the normal range. We left snot-nose home anyhow. His buddy and the "substitute" came and passed vet check this time. All the sheep were okayed, all the fleeces got checked in, all the sheep paperwork was updated, including the substitue for snot-nose. By the time we left, all 20 of our sheep were settling down for the night, fighting over the hay, or quietly chewing cud.

The Puyallup Fair has a very large sheep show. It is one of the largest in the country. There are over 700 sheep entered, and this year The Puyallup is hosting the National Cotswold show. There are 2 barns filled with sheep, another portion of the cow barn has sheep in it and there is one more - a show arena is used for the overflow. Guess where we are this year??? Yup, in the overflow arena. It seems like we've been banished! Our admiring public will have a hard time finding us!!! If you're at The Fair, just look between the Cow Barn and the Sheep Barn, behind the Wilcox farms milking parlor. We're there!

Tomorrow will be very busy. Early in the day we offered to help show Navajo Churros and Border Leicesters. Later we show the Gotland/Finn lambs and the 2 Finn ewes, followed closely by the Shetland classes.

Yee Haaaw!
- Franna