We had a great time during our two days at the Minnesota State Fair. I wasn't really prepared for the intensity of people crowding around our little sheep. They were on display in the Baa Booth, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Lamb and Wool producers. I had a display board with yarn samples, the NASSA color chart, the Shetland markings chart, a few of Nancy Krohn's calendar photos and a few of my own photos showing the capabilities of Shetlands as crossing dams with a Bluefaced Leicester ram. I brought my wheel and did spinning demos and talked, talked, talked. I passed out lots of MSSBA handouts, Shepherd's Harvest bookmarks and a few of my own business cards to potential shepherds and spinners. People asked all kinds of questions about sheep, lamb prices, lamb cuts, wool prices, just about everything under the sun!
I brought three purebred Shetlands, Jake, Amber and Brita, and a Shetland Mule lamb, Derra. Derra and Amber were such good little girls wagging their tails almost constantly. But Brita was skiddish the whole time. She's so friendly at home and her fleece is exceptional, I thought she'd be a great addition to the fair display, but that wasn't the case.
And Jake, our little musket ram lamb-- well, he started off just fine, but he got rammy after people tried to grab his horns. I should have had the NO TOUCHING HORNS sign up first thing in the morning. Anyway, we brought him home after just one day. As a young lamb he was rammy, but he had been so much better lately that I thought he'd do well there. Oh well!
We also got to bring home 12 baby chicks that night for our broody hen. We don't keep a rooster here and the timing worked out great again this year for her to adopt some chicks from the Miracle of Birth Center. We got 5 leghorns, 4 australorps, and 3 turken chicks. It's surprising how well they adapt to a real mother, even at 5 days old. The photo above shows just a few of them poking their heads out on the first morning. They were quiet and stayed under her for two days before she took them out of the nest area. They are now busily following her around the pasture and running whenever she calls to them for some kind of chicken treat in the dirt.
The most excitement of the fair came when we went to load up the sheep on Tuesday night. With a handful of spectators in attendance, we lured Derra into the big kennel and then tried to get Brita in there too. Well, she managed to wriggle out of a small opening near the gate and took off like a shot into the adjacent poultry barn. Thank heavens the spectators immediately ran after her! Stan & I didn't think we'd ever catch her, it was a very sinking feeling. The helpers managed to head her off at the poultry barn exit and she turned to run right toward Stan who was crouching down to catch her. But then she jumped and he caught her right in mid-air! I was SO relieved to see him come carrying her back to the waiting kennel. Then after we loaded up Derra and Amber there was a big round of applause. I guess we really put on a show! When I think of what could have happened, I am SO thankful Brita wasn't on the run long.
Now it's time to halter train the lambs I've entered in the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend. I'm bringing Lucy and Darcy and Eli. I'd love to bring my yearling ram Boggart, but I'm not sure how if he'd like riding six hours in an extra large dog kennel. I think I
need a trailer or even a popper like Kim's got.