Friday, May 30, 2008

And Finally, our Current Sales List

Sorry to say that my website updates aren't uploading as planned, so I'm posting my sales list here on the blog for now. Email me for more information, prices, etc.

River Oaks Shetlands in Mora, Minnesota has three NASSA registered ewes for sale this spring. All are gentle and tame ewes with good lambing histories. We have no "wild child" sheep here!

River Oaks Eliza, beautiful white 3 yr old with fabulous fleece, 18% UK, single







Bramble Jemma, F2 Minder, 6 yr old black ewe, twin, has some iset




Bramble Cordelia, F1 Minder, 9 yr old Ag fawn katmoget ewe, quad

I love all these girls, and I hadn't planned on selling them, but I need to whittle m
y numbers down, so they will be available to good homes.


We will also sell Elsa, another beautiful white Shetland ewe, 3 yrs old to a good home. She's not registerable, but she's very sweet and a small ewe. I used her in my crossbreeding program this year.


We will have three Shetland Mule ewe lambs available after weaning this summer/fall. When mature, these girls will be about 1/3 larger than purebred Shetland ewes and have BFL influenced fleece with lots of crimp and luster. They will be as hardy as their Shetland mothers and just as good at mothering, even in their first year. They can be bred to larger breed rams when mature to produce market lambs. Calm and gentle personalities, they all carry color. I love this cross!


We will have four NASSA registerable Shetland ram lambs available after weaning and horn evaluation. All sired by Windswept Boggart, a rose mioget Shetland. They carry modified and spotting genetics. Prices will vary on these boys as evaluation takes place.

River Oaks McIntire, Black (or dark brown?) twin, F3 Holly, out of River Oaks Hattie, longish tail, but sturdy build, good looking horns and nice face.
River Oaks Julius, Fawn Katmoget single, F2 Minder, out of Bramble Cordelia, good looking horns and conformation, nicely curled locks.
River Oaks Rueben, very nice single fawn out of River Oaks Eliza, with a beautiful intermediate fleece.
River Oaks Marshall, Fawn (or rose mioget?) F3 Holly with moon spots, will be longer fleeced. Very silky fleece now.

We will offer Beechtree Dougal, 2 yr old registered white Bluefaced Leicester ram for sale also. Will consider trade for yearling polled black Shetland ram...with modified or spotting genetics or other markings if possible.


We also have two polled 3/4 Bluefaced Leicester, 1/4 Shetland ram lambs for sale, both are singles out of yearlings. They have fabulous BFL fleece. One a gorgeous grey and one white. Big boys, already close to the size of Shetland ewes at only 7 weeks old.

We have a white 3/4 Shetland, 1/4 Bluefaced Leicester ram lamb for sale also. He's single out of a yearling and is chunky with the BFL fleece and long torso. Sired by a black gulmoget shetland and he's polled.

And last but not least, we have two BFL/Shetland cross wethers available. Both are totally affectionate with nice fleece. One is gray spotted and the other is frosty black.

If interested in any of these, please let me know and I can send more photos, fleece samples, etc.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I hope everyone is enjoying the Memorial Day weekend. The trilliums and wild strawberries are in bloom in the woods. The photo at left is taken from the pond's edge, you can see our little red barn on the horizon.


Things are kind of dull here with the poor weather yesterday and the high gas prices. Also, Stan and Matt had to work all weekend. Our oldest son, Alex, came up for the weekend, but I'm afraid he's been rather bored with just me to keep him company. It's nice out today so maybe we can head over to the land and check things out.

The boys took Alex's inflatable kayak out on the pond on Saturday, it was a good thing they did it then because on Sunday the mosquitoes hatched and they are ravenous! My poor sheep! I have to get refills for my automatic barn sprayer ASAP. The poor BFL's have open faces, necks and bellies so they get hit hard. Add to that the woodticks they pick up on pasture and I hope they aren't anemic!



The Stone Cherry tree in the front yard is blossoming, it's always so beautiful when it does. We got this tree as a seedling from Early Childhood Family Education class when Matt was about four years old. It has grown into a beautiful tree. The fragrance of the blossoms is so nice too.






A close up of the blossoms...







The apple tree is blossoming too, we should have a good crop of apples this year.




Here's a shot of River Oaks Lana, our black gulmoget ewe lamb out of Kimberwood Harrison and River Oaks Lucy. She's got a lot of UK genetics in her pedigree, mostly Roban Dillon, but Holly too.


Here's a shot of River Oaks Julius, he's an F2 Minder out of Bramble Cordelia and Windswept Boggart. His fleece is gorgeous right now. I hope his horns turn out okay. If they do, he would be a great flock sire for someone.

Okay, back to packing wool for Zeilinger's in Michigan. As I type this I am surrounded by bags of washed wool. I have lots of Shetland moorit, musket and white to be made into combed top this year. I'm having the Baby Doll fleeces and a short UK type Shetland fleece made into quilt batts. The BFL fleeces are being made into roving. Oh, they are so luscious! And there will Shetland Black, Black iset, long silky moorit and fawn roving made too. I want to get all stocked up for the booths I'll be doing this fall. It's already too late for the summer booths I'm doing.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Celebrating the lambs and rams

I've been out in the pasture comparing the various shades of brown in our Shetland lamb crop this year. We have four browns, three rams and a ewe. All are out of Windswept Boggart and carry modified genetics. In the photo above, you see Maverick, the smirslet moorit in front, his twin brother Marshall in the middle, and Rueben, the moorit out of Eliza.

Rueben with his big horns.

Marshall with his small horns.

And Marshall's twin, Maverick (reserved) with his small horns and cute face.

We also have a beautiful little moorit ewe lamb, Leonie, with her teeth showing. Soft fleece!

And here's Jemma and her big and little Shetland Mule twins with Abby in the background grazing as usual.

And this is a dream come true, Dougal and Granite finally living together in one pen! Which brings me down to only two pens of sheep. Yay!
Of course it won't last too long, I will wean the lambs in June and that will create another pen. And eventually I'll have to separate the polled and the horned ram lambs. But for now life is easy. The grass is growing and I am rotating paddocks.

Here is Cocoa's wethered Shetland Mule ram lamb (reserved), with Delia's 3/4 BFL ram lamb in the background. Delia's lamb is also pictured below, front and back. What a beautiful guy he is at only 6 weeks old! He's for sale too. Polled with very soft fleece.


And here's Delia's lamb with Lana, our black gulmoget ewe lamb. She's really growing, but compared to him, she looks small.


I'll try to post photos of the other lambs soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A new day

FYI - the date on this post says Monday, but I'm actually writing it on Wednesday a.m. I'm not sure how to change dates when editing a draft.

Life goes on, here's a photo of our 3/4 Shetland ram lamb being followed by Onyx yesterday. He's a nice little package, look at his hindquarters. He's got fabulous fleece, he's polled and he could be carrying gulmoget under that white.

Thanks to all for the condolences on Abby's lamb. I'm feeling better now that Abby is out with the flock again and looking so good. She's just the sweetest ewe. I'm taking her off my sales list. ;-)

I got to try out the Udderly EZ Milker. It is easier than I thought it would be. I froze a couple little bags of colostrum for future emergencies. Abby got used to the milker and seemed to enjoy it. When she was done, she walked away. She has a harem of ram lambs more than willing to relieve any pressure, but she doesn't let them.

I figured it all out, Abby's lamb was number 77 born here since we first started out with Shetlands in December, 2001. There have been 39 ram lambs and 38 ewe lambs -- amazingly 50/50! At times it seemed we were inundated with rams. Then last year was a fabulous ewe lamb year.

So we've had a run of good fortune actually with lambing, I am thankful for that. I am thankful for the 20 healthy lambs gamboling around the pasture and that Abby has bounced back so well. I am thankful, but nervous, about having one more ewe to lamb Lord only knows when. Hopefully we won't end our lambing on another sad note. Cora is the ewe on the left in the photo above. I love this time of year when the leaves are just budding on the trees. That's our oldest son, Alex, walking the fenceline with Ozzie outside the pasture.

I put our two BFL rams, Granite and Dougal, together Tuesday afternoon. Pugsley, the 7/8 Ile de France yearling, is gone already (he was just TOO big!) and the two Babydoll wethers left Tuesday morning. I still have the Babydoll ram, Albert. He is for spoken for and will hopefully be placed today. He looks like a plump little pig sometimes.


So now my mission is to get my sales list completed and to update my website. We have lots of nice ram lambs to sell this year - purebred Shetlands and several BFL/Shetland crosses. I will have a couple Shetland mule ewe lambs to sell too.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Sad Day

I knew it had to happen sometime, but I feel just sick about it. We lost our first lamb this morning. River Oaks Abby was unable to deliver her big crossbred ram lamb during the night. I really didn't want to bred the three smallest of my ewe lambs last year, but I couldn't resist the offer of using Kimberwood Harrison for 4 weeks. After he went home, hoping she was already bred, I put all the ewes in with Granite, the colored BFL ram lamb, because he and Dougal didn't get along.

It recently became apparent that Abby was indeed pregnant with Granite's lamb and I was watching her. She wasn't overly large and we haven't had the good alfalfa hay for about two weeks now. Jemma's crossbred twins were small, and I was thinking Abby and Cora would have smaller lambs too.

I put Abby in a jug last night when the ram lambs were chasing her all over the paddock. That's a sign that labor is coming on soon. She had no other signs though. I pointed the barn cam at her jug and checked it at 11:30 p.m. She was up walking around, but I didn't see labor signs. I checked the barn cam again at 6 a.m. and all was quiet, I couldn't actually see her, but since it was so quiet, I figured all was okay and went back to bed - big mistake!
When I finally went out about 7:30, I found her laying down with a big swollen head sticking out her back end. The hooves were tucked under the chin. She wasn't having contractions at that point. I pulled hard to get the baby out. I held him up and cleared his mouth, but it was already cold and stiff at that point. I guess I was so lax about the possibility of a night lambing because all the other ewes lambed during the day this year. If only I could have been there to help out poor little Abby!

The ram lamb was a grey katmoget with head spots. He weighed a whopping 11 pounds! Unbelievable, because Abby didn't look very big at all.

So now I'm thinking of milking Abby and saving the colostrum for future emergencies and getting some milk for soap making. I'm not sure what the protocol is for ewes after losing their lambs...
Cora is bred to Boggart, a Shetland, so she shouldn't have any problems lambing. But I think I should collect the colostrum anyway.

I feel so awful about this and can really relate to Rayna's post about losing her gulmoget ewe lamb the other day. But things happen and it can't be undone, I can only learn from it and go forward.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Busy Weekend

First some lamb photos on grass. Our BFL ewe lambs, now named Opal (white) and Onyx (black) galloping after their moms. They are both sired by Beechtree Granite.


I'm happy to say that bringing sheep to Shepherd's Harvest was a good experience. It made the festival a lot more fun.

Okay, so the sheep and I got pulled over by a cop on the way down there, but thankfully I didn't get a ticket and I probably gave that cop something to smile about that day. The big bags of raw wool in the front seat and the aroma that surely emitted when I rolled down my window is probably something he doesn't get to experience everyday.

The crowds at Shepherds Harvest were the biggest ever despite the poor weather. Julie Mackenzie handled publicity for the festival and she did a great job of it.

My sheep boys were well behaved and lots of people exclaimed at how mellow and friendly they were. Everyone loved the cute faces of the Babydoll wethers and they "oohed and ahhed" (sp?) over Granite's lamb fleece that was on display. Granite was very friendly and relaxed. It didn't take the sheep long to figure out where the food was on the other side of their pen, and they created their own fenceline feeding system.

I loved the Saori Weaving class. It was fun and freeing. The SAORI looms are really easy to use and not too expensive at $1200. Of course, I can do it all on my Harp too, so our tax stimulus payment was safe from fiber expenses. In fact it's already gone, we bought a minimum fill of propane with it and $400 of it went in on a new used boat for Stan. He sold our old 16' Lund for this smaller aluminum model.
We picked up our 7/8 Ile de France yearling ram yesterday morning. We wound up getting Pugsley rather than Samson. Pugsley is shorter and stockier, probably a better choice for a terminal sire than Samson. He fit into our extra-large, heavy-duty dog kennel too. So we brought him home in the van. Here is a photo of him and Granite getting acquainted. They did some head-butting and Granite was the one bleeding from his scur area. But they seem to be doing okay together now.Jemma finally got out of the jug yesterday. I wanted to keep her in while I was gone. Her lambs are still so cute and little compared to all the other big lambs. Especially the little black krunet ram lamb. I banded their tails on Sunday night.

We are rotating sections of pasture now and the sheep are much happier and quieter.
We still have two ewes left to lamb, River Oaks Abby and Cora. They are half-sisters so it must be a family trait to be the last ones to lamb. Last year Cora lambed on June 4th. I hope she doesn't wait that long this year! Abby is the fawn katmoget in the foreground above. I was thinking she'd go this week.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Jemma Lambed!

Good news! Bramble Jemma finally lambed this morning. She had twin Shetland Mules. The big white ewe lamb came first, then a little black ram with a krunet marking. I'll weigh them tonight after their cords are dry. Too bad she mixed up the colors on them, I would have preferred a black ewe lamb and a white ram lamb. Notice the ewe lamb kneels to nurse already. The ram lamb is the smallest Shetland Mule lamb I've ever seen. So cute!

They all look great and now I don't have to worry about her lambing while I'm gone this weekend at Shepherd's Harvest. Whew!

Jemma has really kept me guessing this year. I had her marked on the calendar for April 8 to deliver a Sheltering Pines Bombarde lamb, but no go there. So then I got very excited thinking she'd have a Kimberwood Harrison lamb - gulmoget, polled. No deal there either. Apparently, she held out until Dougal came home from Kim's. Thinking she was surely bred already, I used her for Dougal's companion until I got the BabyDoll Southdowns in January. Arghh! Oh well, these are healthy lambs and their fleece will be fantastic.
So far, I've only gotten 7 purebred Shetland lambs this year and five of them are rams. But I still have River Oaks Cora bred to Windswept Boggart. And we still have one more bred to a BFL. I'm thinking next week for that one and a few weeks away for Cora's lamb(s).

Here are our lambing statistics this far (two ewes left to go):
TWENTY lambs,
12 rams and 8 ewes


SEVEN purebred Shetlands -
5 rams (all carry modified genes and color is subject to change, one black, one moorit, one fawn or mioget, one smirslet moorit and one fawn katmoget) Three may have aberrant horns or scurs, and two have big horns.
2 ewes (black gulmoget and modified moorit)

EIGHT Shetland Mules-
3 white ewe lambs,

I grey flecket ewe lamb
1 black ram lamb
1 grey flecket, yuglet, sokket ram lamb

2 silver saddled smirslet ram lambs (very pretty fiber boys)

TWO 3/4 BFL rams lambs, (1 white, 1 grey saddled with black points - gorgeous color!)
ONE 3/4 Shetland ram lamb, white, polled, could carry gulmoget under the white

TWO purebred BFLs, one white, one dark natural colored.

I'm really looking forward to the end of lambing. It's such a nerve-wracking time. But
so far we've had a great year with healthy babies and healthy moms. We had a couple tough deliveries of big lambs, but no vet bills. Yes! Knocking on wood for the last two ewes.

Here's a shot of Rhyn and her 1 week old ewe lamb on pasture. I'm using electronet to section off the pasture this year. The ewes are so happy to be out on what little bit of grass we have. They were driving me crazy wanting to get out there. I finally relented.


Here's a shot of our orchid cactus in bloom. This is the first time it's bloomed indoors. I just set the pot on the pitcher, that's a dangerous place for it with two kitties in the house.

Now I have to get off this computer and get ready for spending the weekend at Shepherd's Harvest.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

When the time is right....

First I have to post this photo of our son at the Mora prom's Grand March late this afternoon. He's a college freshmen accompanying his friend, Joia, to prom again this year. They sure do look nice together! This is the only shot I got because we were in the front row.

Next, meet River Oaks Ebony, our little BFL ewe lamb born on 5-1-08. Two days old now and doing just fine.

Now, to the main point of this post...I am a believer that if things are meant to be, they will be...eventually. So here is a series of fortunate events leading to a happy me. ;-)

First- my son and my husband both work at Coborn's grocery store here in Mora. Coborn's has a program called "Cash Patrol" where every so often they pick an employee's name and then go to their house and check the cupboards for their store brand, Food Club, items. If you have 25 Food Club items you win $250. I've always had mixed feelings about the program, thinking it's kind of like Big Brother invading our home. Well yesterday my son's name was picked. My husband got here five minutes ahead of the "Cash Patrol" squad and let me know they were on their way. We scrounged through the cupboards and came up with 27 items! They took a photo of our son and the food items all stacked on the counter and then counted out 25 $10 bills for him! Being the good kid he is, and knowing that he did not buy ANY of the items himself, he split the cash with us. Nice!

So then...
Today was Mora's city-wide garage sale. I don't usually go to garage sales as I have so much junk of my own already. But I looked over the different sale listings last week and noticed one with a Harp loom and a 5' Triangle loom. Ever since I got into fiber and spinning, I have lusted after a Kromski Harp (rigid heddle loom). They are so beautiful and they fold up for portability. There have been many times at wool festivals that I've really been tempted to break down and buy myself one, but I've always resisted because they are expensive.

I made a mental note to try and be the first one there on Saturday morning.
When I suddenly remembered my plan this morning, the time was about 6:15.
I threw on some clothes and raced through feeding the sheep and chickens. Put coffee in a travel cup and made a bee-line for THE garage sale. I was getting into to town about 5 minutes late as it was and then I missed the turn and had to go back. Arghhh!
As I walked up, I saw the 5' Triangle with a big oak stand and the Carol Leigh video. All for only $50! But I don't really care for triangle shawls and blankets, so I was scouring the place looking for the Harp thinking I was too late for it.
That's when someone set the Harp, still unassembled in the box, on the table in right in front of me. It was a brand new 24" model with a floor stand for only $50! I didn't look inside I just said, "I'll take it!" The retail value of that loom is about $300, what a great deal! And I just happened to have cash in my pocket. :-)
I came straight home and started putting it together.

The coolest thing is, next weekend I'm taking a SAORI weaving class at Shepherd's Harvest. SAORI weaving is "beauty with lack of intention" it's kind of philosophical way of learning about oneself and is a therapeutic, healing weaving. Sounds so cool! The class description says students will learn ways of using a simple loom to create texture and have fun with color. Perfect timing!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Another BFL ewe lamb!

Rhyn had a beautiful natural colored BFL ewe lamb this afternoon. One leg was bent back, but not all the way back like Lanora's lamb's leg was. This time I didn't go in looking for it like I did with Lanora. But this time it would have been easier to fix and the birth might have been easier for Rhyn. Today's birth wasn't any where near as bad as poor Lanora endured when I kept looking for the other leg... and Rhyn's ewe lamb is vigorous and noisy.
Rhyn has been hungry and so is her lamb. I helped her locate the teat for her first drink and then watched her find it on her own later. Yes!

Check out Hattie's nice black ram lamb. I love this guy! What a chunk he is. Too bad he's got those nice big horns. I want to watch his fleece and see if he shows his modified genetics. So for now, I'll be retaining him and Hannah's lighter moorit ram lamb. They are both very square rams with modified genetics.

I've already found a new home for two of my 2008 Shetland ram lambs. I'm trading them for two 7/8 Ile de France rams - one is a yearling named Samson (above) and the other is a bottle lamb (below). I plan to use one of them as a terminal sire for my Shetland mules next fall. Not sure what I'll do with the other, but I couldn't resist the bottle baby. ;-) Their fleece is very soft, I think they will be great terminal sires for the Shetland Mules, especially if one wants to get some nice white tanned hides.

Now if only Jemma will get the hint and deliver her lamb(s) by Sunday! If she's carrying Harrison lambs she has to deliver before or close to this coming Sunday. If not she's carrying Mule lambs -- I'm pulling for her to lamb soon. But I'm concerned over her lsmall bag.

Below are photos of the two Harrison lambs we've had so far, Lucy's ewe lamb and Dot's white ram lamb sleeping with his head up in the air.
I banded Dot's ram lamb's tail myself when he was only about 32 hours old -- I usually ask my neighbor to do the dirty work-- It was amazing how quickly he recovered from the procedure and was out jumping around with the lamb races! Only about 10 minutes after I put on the band...yes, I docked a little closer than I'd like, but he doesn't have that much to keep covered. Next time I'll do better. From now on I'm going to get the docking done their on first or second night.