Friday, April 27, 2012

Yearly rewards

Several weeks back, the shearers were here and all of those lovely fleeces the girls and I have spent the last year working on were harvested.  Those fleeces are one of my rewards for all the work I put into shepherding. Well, okay, the girls did most of the work, but, I did put some effort into helping them stay as clean as possible ..... you know, given that they live in a barn and all that.  Overall, I was very pleased with how healthy they looked, but the best part was seeing what my just now yearling girls produced.  Oh, my!  I love their fleeces!  You may remember that last year the famous Henry (half Wensleydale/half Cotswold ram) was the father of all but one of the ewe lambs I kept to put back into the brood ewe flock.  Henry did a fabulous job of putting beautiful fleeces on the girls.  I can hardly wait to spin them.  I need to select some competition fleeces and then start washing others in preparation for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, so I'm not allowing myself to do more than wash a few samples right now.  The locks pictured below are from Birdie and I can hardly keep from carrying it around with me all the time, just so I can admire it.  It is so lustrous and so soft, it reminds me a lot of kid mohair.  I know it's going to take dye beautifully and spin into some pretty, pretty yarn.  My hope is that 'The Mister' (our rent-a-ram), who was Wensleydale, has given me fleeces similar to this on the lambs born this year.

One of the reasons I still love raising sheep (after lo these many years) is the fun of breeding for improvement.  Way back, when I was raising purebreds and showing in competitions, there was a different kind of thought process because that was not necessarily breeding for what I liked best, but more what a show judge would be looking for.  Believe me, as in most competitive endeavors,  show standards can be totally different from 'living in the real world' standards.  Now that I'm breeding strictly for healthy animals and beautiful fleeces, every year brings surprises.  Last year when I selected Birdie to become a bottle baby and be a companion to Luna, I had no idea she would turn out to be such a sweetie and produce a gorgeous fleece.  If I'm completely honest, she was a little difficult in the beginning and I wasn't sure I was even going to like her personality.  She's turned out to be a charmer and, even now,  would follow me around all day if she could.  And, as much as I love Luna, she does have a strong sense of entitlement (and I can't imagine how she came by it) that allows her to think she can do certain things that are un-sheep-like on occasion.  (Such as helping herself to Aslan's dog food!)

Well, it's on into the weekend.  The grass is growing, growing, growing and there are plants in the greenhouse that need to be put in the ground right now.  It's that time of year when I feel perpetually behind on every aspect of my life.  I hope all of you find a little bit of time to enjoy your weekend and I hope to see you back here next week, with lots of gratuitous lamb pictures!


  1. Those locks are gorgeous! I'd be carrying them around in admiration, and petting them at every opportunity!


  2. Your observations about the show world are part of the reason I hardly ever show, even though I raise purebreds. And I DO breed to improve fleeces, so there are always happy surprises there!

  3. What gorgeous curls! I would like some for my pockets, too! I hope to see you at the festival to linger and admire:-)