Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whispering Pines Harvest Moon

This lamb was one that I was pretty high on from day one and still am. Harvest Moon is out of Sheltering Pines Persia and Wintertime Bond. I think I can make the argument that she is the best Bond lamb that we have had. She isn’t quite as fine as some of the others, but should still come in around 23 microns. She is a very dark blue katmoget. She is a very nice combination of Shetland traits out of great bloodlines. I won't use her this year, but she should be an important part of our breeding program going forward.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whispering Pines Vittoria

In keeping with the theme of naming Pompey's daughters after cities in Italy, this is Whispering Pines Vittoria, who is out of Pompey and Peridot. Peridot was a Wintertime Bond daughter that we liked a lot as a yearling, but decided to sell to keep our flock size down below 20 ewes.

That makes Vittoria a Bond granddaughter. I don’t have micron data on her, but in my estimation, her yearling test will be 22 microns with a low CV. Just a lovely fleece! Now, yes, she is a grey katmoget, but she carries moorit from her father. She is a really nice lamb out of a genetic cross that I had hoped would produce such a Shetland. It was the only line breeding that I did last year. I had planned to do more this year, but sold most of the Bond lambs; decisions that might not have been the best in hindsight, but, as you can see, we are heavy in grey katmogets, and only the best of the best stick around. And we just can't keep everything we like if we want to keep our flock size small.
The thing I like about this one is that, not only is she out of great bloodlines, her color is very different from some of the other grey katmogets that we have. Even though I love grey katmogets, I do like variety in type, color, and fleece. And it always seems like the grey katmogets have the best fleeces.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Whispering Pines Pearl

Whispering Pines Pearl is a grey katmoget yearling ewe out of Wintertime Itasca and Wintertime Bond, who are two of our finest adults.

Pearl’s yearling micron test was: AFD: 23.1 CV: 4.1 CV: 17.6% CEM: 7.1 SF: 21.9. Not as fine as we prefer, but when you combine it with the other properties, I’ll take it. When you get into nice silkiness and fineness like this, it’s splitting hairs when you start talking microns. Of course, there are other things buried within the numbers that probably speak volumes, but I have yet to completely crack that code. So, while I continue doing my research on Shetland fleeces, I’ll just enjoy what I have here, which are some beautiful fleeces.

Her fleece is also very consistent from front-to-back (as most of our sheep are), with a 3" staple length. She's a very petite ewe, but she has a lot of qualities that I like (and being petite is not a flaw, I just like a little more frame on my ewes. A small criticism, perhaps). 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blue Sapphire and Egyptian Autumn

Whispering Pines Blue Sapphire is another flock favorite. Another Blue’s Clues daughter with a fabulous fleece! I just really like this ewe. She has wonderful bloodlines as well. The only thing that remains to be discovered about this ewe is her pattern. She is a katmoget, but is she double-patterned? I hoped to find that out this year, but I still don’t know. Sapphire’s micron test was: AFD: 24.1 CV: 4.4 CV: 18.3% CEM: 7.5 SF: 22.9. I've certainly seen better yearling micron test results, but when I say her fleece is very nice, I'm stating that it has all of the properties that I want in a Shetland fleece. It has nice length and crimp, the handle is exceptional, and the lock structure is correct.

Her ram this year out of Egyptian King is also very nice. Egyptian Autumn is a fawn katmoget with very small scurs. As a result, we elected to keep him even though he is a katmoget. We already have two katmoget rams, which will make it difficult to use him in our flock, but hopefully, I'll figure out a way. If not this year, then hopefully next. I have several ewes that would benefit from his properties, but they are all katmogets. At this point, I don't know how many katmoget-to-katmoget breedings I want to roll out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blue Diamond, Kiyah, and Isis

Whispering Pines Blue Diamond is a yearling out of Sheltering Pines Blue’s Clues and Constantinople. I still love this ewe!

One of two Blue’s Clues daughters, she is built really well and has a nice dense fine fleece with good length to boot. She's an F3 Jericho, which, as we've said before, are genetics that we've wanted to add to our flock.

Like all of our sheep, she has things I don’t like, but she’s a good one. She is a katmoget, but a fawn one (which makes it okay). Her lambs this year were incredible! This is another bloodline that I think a lot of! Diamond’s micron test was: AFD: 25.4 CV: 5.1 CV: 19.9% CEM: 8.5 SF: 24.5. That’s right where I thought it would be as a yearling. We’ll see how the fleece matures in year two, but I like what I see right now. It doesn’t seem much different to me than her first fleece.

Isis is one of her lambs from this spring.

Isis is an Egyptian King ewe lamb out of Blue Diamond. Right now, I’m pretty high on this girl. She has a very fine fleece with nice length. I will estimate that her fleece will be around 23 microns as a yearling. If it is, I’ll be doing handsprings down the street because it has all the other properties I like as well. There isn’t much tip here, so it’s good length, not coarse guard hair. She will have a decent CV as well; perhaps not under 20%, but low 20's anyway.

Isis’ twin sister is named Kiyah. I named the Egyptian King daughters (both of them) after Egyptian Queens. This girl is in the running for best lamb of 2011. She is definitely the finest, but she has nearly everything else as well. Her fleece won’t be as long as her sister’s, but it will likely be 21 or 22 microns when she turns one next spring. I also like that she is brown-based. In fact, that’s reason for celebration in our flock.

I'm pretty happy with these three right now. I was able to combine a couple of nice bloodlines I like and produce two pretty nice ewe lambs, so I can't complain about that.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Itasca and Jumpy

Wintertime Itasca will be three years old this spring and still like her a great deal because she has much going for her. She has wool on the poll, has an amazing, fine fleece, with great density, and has a pretty good conformation as well. Very good actually. Nice tail, etc. She looks like a Shetland.

She is out of Whistlestop 0427, who has produced some incredible sheep. So, Itasca has some incredible genetics behind her to go with what you see. She has produced very well for us in the short time that we have had her and we continue to look toward the future with her.

Itasca had two daughters this year that we liked a great deal, but we sold one of them. I regret selling her to some extent, but we felt we needed to move out a few really nice katmogets.

But we kept this one.

English Garden is a grey katmoget lamb out of Little Buckaroo. She’s a lighter katmoget with very feminine qualities. So far, Itasca is throwing that in her lambs, and I really like it. I will not breed her this year. We call this one Jumpy because she has rare leaping ability for a Shetland.  Her fleece (as you can see) is quite stunning. It should be more than 3” long with nice elasticity.  This lamb is an F2 Jericho, an imported ram that I really like. I'd like all of our lambs to look like this one, and fortunately, a number of them did this year.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sheltering Pines Constantinople & Whispering Pines Irish Rose

Sheltering Pines Constantinople is different than Cor de Nuit in many ways. She is our tallest ewe, but her proportions are absolutely perfect. What I like most about her is her perfect head and topline. Her fleece is nothing to sneeze at either, but I have other ewes who have nicer fleeces. Of course, they aren’t three years old. For a three-year old, it’s a very nice fleece (meaning you can’t compare a lamb’s fleece to an adults).

She is out of Salicional, who was the Supreme Champion Shetland at the WSWF this year. I have to admit that I was a big Salicional fan even before Jefferson, which is one of the reasons I brought Constantinople in to begin with. They do look a lot alike.
Plus, I really like this bloodline. Salicional is actually Pompey’s half-sister, which is why I brought him in. Their father was William The Conqueror, who seemed to produce very well. He goes back to Bramble Dixen, another ram that produced well. On her mother’s side, you have North Wind Holiday, who I think a lot of as well. So, Constantinople has a nice mix of genes. Her three year old micron test was AFD: 27.5 CV: 20.1%. I'm happy with that in a three year old Shetland. Especially one that looks like her.
Speaking of genes, this is Irish Rose out of Constantinople and Wintertime Bond. I think this is going to be a really nice ewe.

Not as fine as perhaps all of the other keeper lambs, but she has her mother’s long body and nice proportions. We have always been about conformation here and this is what we are after. I also like the luster in this fleece. It feels very silky and soft. It’s one of those fleeces that I have a tough time with when I try to estimate fineness. I would say it’s around 25 microns and I think that’s close to what it will be as a yearling. But she will have a low CV, and the luster is worth the price of admission. Plus, the fleece has a classic lock structure. The very essence of what makes a Shetland fleece handle like nothing else. Let's put it this way, she's finer than her mother was at this age, and I actually like her fleece a little better than Constantinoples (probably because of the luster). And her fleece looks pretty much like this from front-to-back, which is also a very desirable quality. I am also very interested in how she produces, given her lineage.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Whispering Pines Siena

This year, we named all of Pompey Magnus' lambs after cities in Italy. This is one of his daughters.

Siena is Sheltering Pines Cor de Nuit's daughter out of Pompey. We like this lamb a lot for so many reasons. She's probably as nice of a lamb as we've had born here. Great conformation, tail, and fleece. Her fleece has great density, like her mother's, and has great handle and crimp. It won't be super fine, but I do think it'll be between 24 and 25 microns as a yearling. Followers of our blog probably know that we would like our fleeces to be finer than that, but you'll also likely remember that we want our fleeces to be uniform from front-to-back with consistent fiber diameter throughout. She has all of that.

So, she's a good one, and certainly close to what we envisioned when we put Pompey and Cor de Nuit together last fall.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cor de Nuit

It occurred to me today that I haven't done our ewe-a-day posts this year, so I better get to it. It's been an annual tradition for several years, and since I enjoy seeing people do similar posts, I guess we'll stay with it another year.

Sheltering Pines Cor de Nuit is the flock matriarch. Of the lambs that we kept this year, five call her their mother or grandmother. We also have her son Egyptian King from last year. This year, I discovered that she carries moorit. She is out of Thelonious Monk (a ram that I always liked) and Justalit’l Lana (a Bramble Dixen daughter). I love her genetics a great deal, which is one of the reasons she is still here.

Another thing she offers our flock is incredible fleece uniformity and density. Two things that most Shetlands lack. I wouldn’t call her a perfect Shetland ewe, but she is very rare in terms of what she brings to the table. And she is a producer. We've not had a single lamb out of her that we didn't like a great deal, and we've come to expect the best out of her at lambing time.
When we start making tough cuts next spring, I don’t know where her position will be in the flock. Some of that depends on what she has for lambs.