Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wooster Fiber Festival - Jen

I was a vendor at the Wooster Fiber Festival in Ohio this past weekend. It was a 5 hour drive. Katie (my sister) and I left on Friday afternoon in our very well packed truck. We took 2 wethers, a ewe and her lamb and a yearling ewe with the intent to sell. I also brought raw fleeces, roving, yarn and a some sweaters/hats/mittens. Our theme was "Everything Shetland - from source to finished product". We were armed to educate and hopefully make a little green!

Large dog crates worked fine, but really would like to find a used cap for the pickup for future travels. We were a hit at every stop we made along the way, met 2 spinners from Vermont (Naturally) at the PA state line. They knew that they were Shetlands, which was a shocker. Most everyone else thought they were goats. Man, those goat people are way ahead of us in the marketing arena...

Those of you who have shown Shetlands are v. familiar with the crowds they attract. One refreshing thing about this fiber festival was that most of the attendees were vaguely if not very familiar with the breed, so I wasn't starting at ground zero when it came to educating passersby.

Children are always enchanted with the lambs.

Met and bonded with many fun people, wish I had thought to break out the camera more often.

I was spinning with my "recycled materials" drop spindle made from cd's and a dowel, no room for the wheel in the packed truck.

This remarkable young lady was a well spoken young spinner who was showing Tunis at the sheep show. I had contemplated showing here, but when I went through the barn I realized that not showing was a good idea. It was primarily focused on the large dual breeds. There was one pair of Finns there that we could have sat with, they were so sweet and out of place, I loved them and their owner, a little southern belle (originally from NY) in her pretty straw hat.
Cihat's fleece won first and Peony's second out of 7 entrants in the Fine Natural Colored wool class. My first time with entering fleece in a contest, so I was filled with anxiety (my thing, I'm a bundle of nerves when it comes to new stuff) and was amazed to have placed so well. I don't remember the judge's name, but she was really focused on strength, then cleanliness and softness. Fleeces that stood out were really clean and kind of sparkled compared with the rest.

We did sell the wethers for cheap, but they went to a really good home, so I was pleased. I did about $250 in sales, not stellar, but I price pretty high. My philosophy is I want people to really appreciate my stuff, and if they don't want it, I can always use it myself! So we didn't break even, but that wasn't really the goal.

We had so much fun! Katie was awesome. Nothing like traveling with a sister, so comfortable and relaxed. And it was so worthwhile! I wish it was going on again next weekend! I can't wait for Knox in September, I just love fiber people.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Uses for sheep "garbage" - Jen

Discarded wool makes fantastic mulch for around trees, in this case a white pine sapling. It chokes out the weeds, holds in the water and the britch and belly wool have lots of organic matter that leaches into the soil with each watering. Bonus - its fun to watch the birds fly by with pilfered wool in their beaks.

End pieces of from woven fencing make great skirting tables.

And drying racks.

And my enterprising boys have made $25 so far this year selling sheep manure. One guy bought 7 bags of the stuff! I guess Andrew is saving for an I pod. Will will probably just buy candy...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rose's ram - Jen

Twin Springs Rose and Sheltering Pines Cihat's lamb arrived last Wednesday. That makes, 8 rams and 12 ewes, and we are really happy with our lambs this year. Lots of color and pattern variety and really nice fleeces. Rose's ram is a little peanut, and she could not be prouder or more mothering. He appears black with lots of white on his head and face.

I am headed for Wooster, Ohio for the Great Lakes Fiber Festival this weekend, I will have sheep, raw fiber, roving, yarn and knit stuff to sell. My sister Katie is coming along to help while Rich stays home with the boys to keep watch over the farm.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grey Yuglet Flecket Shetland Ewe for Sale

DOB: 4/13/08
Sire: Sheltering Pines Cihat S17465
Dam: Minwawe Seraphim S24924
Price: $450

This little grey yuglet flecket ewe is out Minwawe Seraphim and Sheltering Pines Cihat.
My goal with this breeding was to get a yuglet flecket ewe lamb that has the conformation of Cihat. I’d say that goal was exceeded! Cihat has a tremendous conformation, tail, and soft fleece. Neither parent will be famous for their crimp, but they both have soft fleeces, gentle crimp, and striking markings!

Seraphim is a very nice ewe on her own merits, but it appears that this lamb inherited most of her father’s characteristic conformation, fleece, and tail. She reminds me a lot of Whispering Pines Jeb Stuart, a very nice ram that we sold last year. It seems like I say this with all our lambs this year, but this is a very nice lamb that we would like to keep. Last year, I searched high and low for a grey yuglet flecket ewe and here I have one and I’m selling her.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? At the end of the day, however, we just decided that we have selected the four ewe lambs that we are keeping and this one ended up 4b.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moorit HST Yuglet Shetland Ram for sale - Rich

DOB 4/24
Sire: Windswept White Pine S24374
Dam: Sheltering Pines Kiraz S15218
Sell Price: $400

We had a nice crop of ram lambs this year that I am quite pleased with! We ended up with more ewes than rams, but what they lacked in numbers, the rams more than made up with quality.
This little yuglet HST flecket ram is a nice example of that. He is out of Windswept White Pine and Sheltering Pines Kiraz.

He’s just a phenomenal ram lamb! He has a soft intermediate fleece with some crimp and a rich moorit color. He may turn to fawn; I’m not sure. His mother appears fawn to me.

He is so square and perfectly marked! His fleece is also very uniform!

I may end up holding onto him, but I really have too many rams already that I’m planning on using this fall, so we had to make a call on this guy. I’d rather see someone else produce nice lambs with him so I can see what he produces. If I hold onto him he’s probably not going to get action this fall. I know some people keep more rams than they use, but I don’t have that luxury unless I invest in more fence.

We’ll see what happens. If I can find a way to use him, I will!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Violets Katmoget Shetland Ram For Sale

Pike Hill Violet (S25080) x Windswept White Pine (S24374)
Ab/A? BB/B? SS/Ss MM/M?
4/22/08 Single Katmoget Ram

I really like this guy’s conformation, sharp markings, and crimpy fleece! He’s just a solid, sharp looking ram. He also carries yuglet sokket spotting! If I needed another katmoget ram, this guy would be staying right here! Our ram crop was very nice this year, but none of the other rams have a fleece like this guy’s! And he’s so square!

Both of this ram’s parents are katmogets, so it’s possible that this guy might always throw katmoget lambs.

We’ve priced him to sell at $325 because I can’t wait to see what he has in lambs next year, and I haven’t found a way of working him into our ram rotation this fall. He’s simply the best ram we’ve had born on our farm prior to this year, and he’s right there with several of this year’s crop as well!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Twins from Lilly - Rich

This ram is out of Whispering Pines Lilly and Sheltering Pines Cihat. He has a soft, uniform fleece and is very square. He also carries nice spotting! He'll make a nice flock ram for someone looking for soft, long-stapled fleeces and occasional spots! He's less than a week old right now, so it's too early to get an accurate feel for how he will mature, but he looks really good so far. You can just tell that some lambs aren't going to be exceptional, but he looks like he has that potential. Perfect tail!

This little white ewe is adorable! Her fleece is even softer than her brother's! She looks to be fine boned and square at this young age. She has a perfect fluked tail and carries spots just like her brother! We may end up keeping her, but she is for sale right now. Lilly's white ewe from last year was spectacular, so we're expecting big things out of both of these lambs.