Monday, November 29, 2010

Wintertime Itasca

Itasca was a good pickup for us last summer. Her bloodlines are very impressive as is her fleece. Her fleece is very soft, crimpy and dense, it made a wonderful 2 ply sock yarn with a perfect amount of elasticity and bounce.

Her mother is Whistlestop 0427, who has provided some pretty amazing lambs in her life (Wintertime Blues, Wintertime Jazz, Wintertime Ruby, and Itasca). She carries polled and moorit, and has a good conformation, but her fleece is her main selling point. Jen knit these socks from Itasca's wonderful wool.

We look forward to seeing what she can throw next spring, as she had two of our nicest lambs this year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Whispering Pines Primrose

Primrose has a similar body type to Irish Lace, but not quite as tall and long. Still, proportionally, she meets my standards. She’s very square and level. As a two year old, her fleece is dense and uniform, with a nice micron. It’s a nice handling fleece. She’s a smaller, more petite ewe. I like most things about this ewe. She is an F4 Jing and F4 Jericho ewe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Whispering Pines Irish Lace

This ewe is probably close to my ideal in terms of body type and carriage. She is level and square, but also has a nice body to leg ratio. She is a product of a breeding we did last year between Firth of Fifth Leyland (a Black Forrest son and grandson):
and our own Buttercup. Buttercup was a smaller ewe who had nice body length and overall conformation. I always liked her conformation a great deal. Great legs and topline!
Leyland had longer legs (like his father), but not my ideal body type. It was nice, but not exactly what I like. Irish Lace probably gave us a nice combination of those two sheep. Her fleece is longer, but not quite as dense as her mother’s (who was very dense). She has nice lock structure, and fineness, and I just like a lot of things about her. In my opinion, she is an excellent Shetland, which is a little odd for me to say because she looks nothing like Sparkles, who is also extremely nice. I like them in different ways, I guess.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

S'More Sparkles

Sparkles is another foundation ewe that continues to make the cut each year (and a lot of good ones have not). I like her conformation and fleece a great deal. All of her lambs seem to possess traits that I like as well. She’ll be three this spring. She has a longer fleece than some of our sheep, and also has very nice density, which is sometimes lacking in the longer-fleeced sheep we have seen. Sparkles is an F2 Orion. She’s just a collection of nice genetics that I like. She is also our only Ag sheep, for what it's worth. She’s another ewe that I still have passion about. She is correct. There are several ways we can go with her breeding for this year. I’d like to pull moorit out of her, since we lack a lot of brown-based ewes in our flocks. Genetics aside, I just think she’s an excellent Shetland.

We are keeping her daughter from this year:

And this is her incredible ram lamb who I expect great things from:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sheltering Pines Cor de Nuit

As I’ve said in the past, she has one of the nicer conformations I’ve seen in a Shetland. She’s stockier than some, and certainly more so than I personally prefer, but she is so square and correct. She is shorter in the legs than I like as well, but since Shetlands come in all shapes and sizes, I don’t get all that concerned with variation around the ideal. If I showed, I’d probably use her. Her fleece has wonderful crimp, luster, and density. She routinely produces around five pounds of fleece. I’d like to have more sheep like her. She scores high in our rating system.
Her bloodlines are quite nice as well. She’s a Thelonius Monk daughter. Her mother is Justalit’l Lana, who is out of Bramble Dixen. All of those sheep have produced well. It’s all about production here at Whispering Pines. You produce correct lambs, or you don’t stick around. Cor will be five this spring, so she has stuck around.

We elected to keep one of her twin ram lambs this year, Egyptian King above.

And Juliann has his spotted twin, Saturday Night.
Now we just need Cor de Nuit to produce some ewes for us!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sheltering Pines Queen Anne's Lace

I like this ewe as well. She has a very nice overall combination of goodies, but her fleece is her strongest point, in my estimation. I haven’t come across many Shetlands with the kind of uniformity and consistency that she has. And it’s uniform from front-to-back, with great density and luster. As a result, it feels soft and is a pleasure to spin and wear. It’s the type of fleece we’re after for sure.

Queen Anne is out of Bramble Nick, is an F3 Greyling, and also has Jamie and Heatheram Lightning in her immediate pedigree as well. I like good bloodlines, and she has some very good sheep in her immediate background.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sheltering Pines Persia

Persia is one of my favorites. I like her bloodlines, but she has a conformation that excites me as well. I like the long legged Shetlands. There’s certainly a limit to that, but it’s an elegant look that appeals to me more than the fat, stubby-legged sheep you see in some pictures. It’s a personal preference. As long as it remains proportionate to the length of body, I think it looks good. Her fleece? Also extremely nice. It has nice uniformity from the shoulders to the britch, and it has nice density. Here is a hat made from her skirtings, which is remarkable soft and wearable.It also has a nice silver grey color and luster. I liked her when we brought her in last year, and I haven’t lost any of my enthusiasm about her.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ewe a day - Onyx Velour

Well, it’s that time of year again. A time when we are forced to review our entire flock and decide which ewes to breed to which ram. I’ve always found this to be an exciting time. I enjoy planning for the future. It’s a time to reflect on the successes and failures of the past, so that we can build on them for the future. We do believe our breeding program is heading in the right direction. There are multiple signs that we are doing some things right, even if it doesn’t seem to happen as fast as we want it to.
With that said, we want to continue the tradition of introducing our flock, and then ease into breeding groups (which will give me time to actually come up with them). Our intent was to get our flock down to 18 ewes this fall, and we accomplished that. We ended up selling a couple that we really wanted to keep, but I feel more comfortable with 18 than 20. I would feel even more comfortable with 14, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards anytime soon. Maybe.

I'll start with the adult ewes and work our way into the keeper lambs.

Sheltering Pines Onyx Velour

She’s three this fall and still looking very nice. She’s nicely built for a Shetland, and her fleece is quite nice. As a three year old, we’re quite happy with her micron results. She has flaws, but most of them do. The important thing is that her flaws are relatively small by my score card, and breeding her to the right ram could produce extraordinary lambs, like this year. If you look at her overall value, she has a great conformation and nice fleece for a spotted gulmoget. Onyx is a Thelonius Monk daughter, and is an F2 Dillon.