Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Good morning from the farm

My first post! I've been thinking about doing this for some time now, but have felt intimidated by all I do not know about the process. I finally decided I would never learn if I didn't just get over myself and start.

It is cold today and we got about an inch of snow during the night. Right now the temperature is just above freezing, so we are getting drizzly rain on top of the snow. Messy, sloppy time doing barn chores and feeding the ewes this morning. I only have 24 ewes right now and that seems enough (or maybe even more than enough). They all were marked by the ram during breeding and should all be pregnant. (The ram wears a harness with a crayon attached to it so that when he mounts a ewe, it puts a mark on her rump.) Lambing will start late in March and I have mixed emotions about that. I did not breed any ewes the last two years, mainly because I was not on the farm during most days and didn't want to risk finding disasters when I got home in the evenings. I have to admit that not having lambs made keeping sheep much, much easier. But then, I do so love to watch those baby lambs. One of my favorite things to do is just sit down in the straw in the middle of the pen and wait for the lambs to get curious enough to come over and check me out.

My ewe flock is comprised of Romney, Bluefaced Leicester, and crossbreds of the two. I love the fleeces on the crossbreds best of all and that is the reason for not raising purebreds anymore. There was a time when I only raised purebreds and did the hard work of showing at fairs and wool festivals. In order to sell breeding stock, you have to get in the show ring and do well. I was successful at showing, but I don't really have the competitive nature to enjoy it. So, I now have a handspinner's flock and we all stay home on the farm. This year I used a black Romney-Bluefaced Leicester crossbred ram on all the ewes, so I'm anxious to see what he produced.

On the knitting scene, I have way too many projects going to talk about all at once. I'm working on the Highland Triangle Shawl from "Folk Shawls" and finishing a simple roll neck pullover in some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed and a crewneck pullover in Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran for my husband. There are several pairs of socks languishing and numerous scarves, hats, mittens---you name it, I've got it started! I confess to being a pattern junkie, so I have lots of other projects started in my head. So little time!

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