Wednesday, August 22, 2007

They're Here!


I finally have my first natural colored Bluefaced Leicesters home! Here's a photo of Granite, ram lamb in front, and Rhyn, ewe lamb in back. I got them from Brenda Lelli at Beechtree Farms in Coopersville, MI, which is same place I got Lanora and Dougal from last year. These two are very mellow and calm. I keep forgetting they don't know me yet when I reach out to do chin scratches and pick VM from their wool. I've got them in quarantine in a chain-link fenced area. It didn't take them long to clear out the weed growth from this summer. And they don't seem to mind the four Blue Silkie chicks who share the pen with them.
Thanks to everyone for the wonderful weekend at the Michigan Fiber Festival. My travel partners, Kim and Garrett, kept the conversation interesting and our travel time passed quickly. And thanks to Stephen (and his sister) for putting us up for the weekend and to Heather for the great pig roast again this year. It was so much fun to see everyone
again.
Also thanks to all the bloggers for their condolences about our current state of DSL deprivation. I'm not sure what I'll do, but now that I've got my heart set on high speed, I'm going to have to come up with something!

I still haven't fixed my computer, but I'm working around the glitch by having my photos printed and then scanning them. Here are a couple photos of my kamoget ewe lambs. Below is Lucy, a grey katmoget out of River Oaks Hattie and Sheltering Pines Bombarde. She is an F3 Holly, F3 Dillon and F4 Holly. Her fleece is a beautiful blue grey under the cream colored tips. Her crimp is even front to back. I have to see if I can halter train her in time for Jefferson, she's super friendly, so chances are good.

And this is Abby, our little fawn katmoget, out of Windswept Boggart and Bramble Cordelia. She's an F2 Minder and what a fleece! It's long and soft, open and wavy. Her only imperfection is that her tail is rather wooly. She carries modified genetics, so we'll be keeping her here in our flock.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No DSL for me

Darn, we can't get DSL after all! We were all set to go until the technician came out, and after trying for about an hour, he said the signal was too weak and we wouldn't be able to get DSL here. So now I have to return the modem and go back to the same old dial up connection.

But I'm not complaining when others are having much worse problems. Poor Mary Ellen down in Missouri is dealing with torturous heat and a big cat problem. She's lost a few sheep already. I hope she's able to get that cat real soon.

We have a broody hen! I was just thinking last week how nice it would be to get some chicks or turkey poults again like last year. Then I remembered I'd need a broody to do the raising. I don't have time for heat lamps and all the work that goes with new chicks. Well just days later, one of my hens went broody, the same one who raised those turkey poults last fall. Yes!
Now I just have to keep her broody until I get her some babies to raise...she's got a golf ball to set on now.

Well, I've got to get back to work getting everything ready for this weekend's trip to MFF. I can't wait to see my natural colored BFL's in person for the first time on Sunday morning. And I'm really looking forward to all the fun things to do at MFF. It should be a great time!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Busy end of August

This is such a busy and exciting time of year. Next weekend is MFF and my first natural colored BFL's will be coming home with me. I'm really looking forward to seeing all the Shetland people at MFF and the pig roast at the Ludlam's on Saturday night.

About a week after MFF, I'll be doing a spinning demo and having my sheep on display at the Minnesota State Fair in the Baa Booth. I have lots to do to get ready for that and I need to decide which ones to put on display.

Then right after Labor Day will be the Jefferson Sheep and Wool Festival. I'm looking forward to that too. I'm not sure if I will bring sheep there now that I'm doing the MN State Fair thing.

We are about to get high speed Internet access. I'm waiting for our new modem to arrive and the worker to flip the switch on our phone box. I can't wait to dump the dial-up! This means a new email address and a new website URL, so watch for more updates.

This past weekend I met up with an old friend that I hadn't seen in about 15 years. We booked a room in a four star French hotel and went shopping at the fiber stores in St. Paul. We brought our wheels to spin at the hotel and we talked fiber/yarn and shared knitting patterns into the night. We had an excellent french breakfast, it was my first experience with Hollandaise sauce -- ymmm! It was almost my first experience tipping a bell boy (is that the correct term nowadays? It just doesn' seem politically correct.)
After breakfast I went to spin with the spinners guild at the Minnesota Zoo. That was a lot of fun. My boys came in the afternoon and we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Northern Trail. We had very close up encounters with the musk ox and the tigers. My boys were really jazzed. I got to see, feel, and smell the raw quivot from the musk ox, which was my big thrill.
I also got to see the small Shetland flock at the Minnesota Zoo for the first time. I wish I could add photos so you all could see some of the interesting colors they had. I think they have modified genes in that flock and possibly polled genetics. They had wethered the ram lambs, but those boys only had very tiny bumps for horns. When we've wethered Shetland ram lambs we still get a lot more horn growth. I'll follow up with photos as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

News...and new BFL's

I've got to bring my computer in and get the portable device drives working again so I can access my camera's photo card-- not being able to download my current photos is making me crazy!


A lot has been happening here in Minnesota with the collapse of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis last Wednesday. I called my son who works at the U of M as soon as I saw the awful photos on the news. Thankfully he was home from work already.


Unfortunately, the son of an old friend of ours was working construction on the bridge and is still missing. He lived just north of Mora with his family. My heart goes out to his wife, Lisa and his mother, Dorothy. Dorothy was the first person to befriend us when we moved to Mora 30 years ago. She worked with my husband for many years and used to bake him peach pies from real peaches, not canned filling. He loved her pies! Dorothy is the friendliest person you'd ever meet and she has already seen enough tragedy in her life having lost two husbands very unexpectedly. I can't believe she's experiencing this loss now too.


On a lighter note, Sabrina and Kim came up for a visit last week and we had a great time. Kim brought up Bramble Annabelle who was extremely patient out in the popper while we visited the day away. What a beautiful ewe Sabrina went home with!

I was so glad that my white combed top came back from Zeilinger's while Sabrina and Kim were here. It turned out really nice. No VM or noils, yes! I can't wait until my black shetland/llama blend gets here. Now that I've seen how nice the combed top turns out, I'm going to send in moorit, maybe fawn and musket too. The minimum run is 8 pounds of washed fiber per color. So I may have to combine similar colors. I have only 6 pounds of washed BFL fiber, so I'll process that here at home with my handcombs.

Speaking of BFL's, only two more weeks until I bring home two natural colored lambs from Brenda Lelli's Beechtree Farms in Michigan! Kim, Garrett and I will be heading out to Michigan for all the fun of the Michigan Fiber Festival and we'll be bring back a few sheep -- if only there was room for lots more! I'm getting a gorgeous ewe lamb (bottom photo, I've posted it before) and a ram lamb too (below). It will be so great if I get some natural colored lambs next spring! I plan to use this fellow on several Shetland ewes and two shetland mule lambs. I'm hoping to see some markings pop out along with the color. I've seen photos of yuglet mules from other breeders, wouldn't that be fun.




I've heard lately that some Shetland people disapprove of crossbreeding Shetlands. Well, I say that's fine for them, they sure don't have to. But I'll use my Shetland ewes for what they do so well. And that is to give me an improved fleece and a heavier lamb. The fleece on the crosses is really nice and the wider build will allow the mules to be bred to even larger terminal sires. Of course, I'll still breed some purebred Shetlands, but the crosses look very promising for me and my market. And we've yet to see our first purebred BFL lamb, I can hardly wait!