Sunday, October 11, 2009

Getting ready for the S-Word

I got so much done Friday! The forecast of SNOW for Saturday morning was enough to get me off my butt and outside getting things done for fall.

First thing was to move the Shetland geese out of the backyard.  I just love how they still consider me their leader and they follow me closely wherever I go.  I love the sound of their feet paddling along behind me. After they explored the hostas for a while, I took them out of the gate and down the steep hill to introduce them to the pond...

We haven't gone down to the pond much this year and the path was a bit treacherous, but they seemed very eager to get down there.  Once there, they looked and looked, and nibbled some grasses, but they didn't dare leave my side to go in the water.  So back up we went.

I got them inside the chain link fence with the adult rams.  One of ganders immediately grabbed a hold of Peppy our Ile de France ram, but it didn't phase Peppy a bit.  He just wanted a sniff, as did Granite and Socks.  The poor geese were pretty scared .  But they have to learn to live with other animals, so I left them to work things out on their own.

Next I cleaned out my garden which was hopelessly lost in the freeze the night before. The ewes were happy to get the last of the cucumbers and zucchini. I picked the low hanging apples, they are nice and red and bigger than usual this year. I will be canning applesauce this week.

As I was feeding the ewes later, I heard the low nickering sound of a romantic ram.  Oh my gosh, my ram lambs were still sharing a fenceline with the ewes!  I just hope there hasn't been any "activity" going on between them already.  That would me some early lambs next winter. So my next big job was to move their fence about 50 yards away.

This is Ward Harwell on the left and our sweet little Doulan on the right. Harwell will all four of our BFL ewes. Notice our high class fencing. LOL. Twine connections make rearranging fencelines an easy thing for me to do.  I took the hog panels from around the now defunct garden and tied them up to finish off the ram lamb's new fence.  After all these years of raising sheep, we've figured out lots of ways to create pens and shelters.  It's been a creative endeavor.

Finally after supper I got to knit some more on my Brioche stitch watch cap. I love knitting up that hat from the directions in Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Knitting Without Tears".  It doesn't take long at all.

You can see a grey watch cap in the back right of this photo. It was knitted from Sheepy Hollow Rachel's wool.  The musket cable hat was done with Sheepy Hollow Beau's wool.  I love the natural Shetland colors!

The white one I was working on in the photo is some thick springy yarn, I must remember to ALWAYS label my yarns!  I'm not sure if this is Babydoll Southdown, Ile de France, or a BFL/cormo cross whose fleece I traded for some Shetland. I only had 3 ounce spun up, you can see the little ball on the left, but it was so lightweight and super springy that it was plenty to finish the hat with a 2" brim. If you haven't tried the Brioche stitch (AKA the Prime Rib stitch), it's very easy and a super stretchy rib.  For this hat you want to use a thick yarn and big needles, it's only 36 stitches and one of the few EZ patterns knit flat and then sewn.

In the center of the photo is some luscious white yarn I spun from my Shetland Mule combed top.  I think that will make a great scarf.

Saturday morning we woke to a covering of snow and there is another 6 inches forecast for tonight and tomorrow.


  1. Your geese look wonderful! I really should get some next spring. Does it take 3 years for them to lay & set like some other goose breeds?
    It's plenty cold down here, but no snow yet.

  2. Thanks Juliann, I hope they stay friendly as adults. About their breeding ability, all I have to go on is the Shetland Breeds by Dr. Stanley Bowie. It says they will pair off in the spring and the females will start to lay at around 10 months (April), but the males won't be fertile until they are two years old. My plan is to incubate the first eggs and let the geese set later in the season. I will candle the eggs and if they're infertile, I'll give the geese some large breed ducklings to raise up. I did that with my Pilgrim geese their first year. Works like a charm with inexperienced geese. I found that experienced mother geese know better and won't accept ducklings.

  3. That deck shot looks just like MY deck corner -- with different pots and no (thankfully) snow....

  4. Oh Michelle, that reminds me, I took in my planters and hanging baskets that day too. Except for those two. As much as I hated to, I cut the beautiful flowering vines way back this year. They always make such a mess when the leaves fall off in the house.

  5. Becky I would LOVE a pair of Shetland goslings when you have babies or decide to sell a pair! They have always been a breed I've loved. I'm so glad you got some that I can watch :)

  6. Thought you might enjoy looking at two other Sheepy Hollow Iris is Sheepy Hollow Amy and Esther is also a ewe from there, but I don't own her (rats). Their yarn is some of my fastest selling ever. Amy at Wheely Wooly Farm

  7. Hey, Garrett, I'll be so happy when they start laying fertile eggs. Hopefully the two ganders will get along okay during breeding season. If they don't, I'll have a pair to sell. :-)

    Hi Amy, thanks for stopping by the blog. I no longer own my Sheepy Hollow sheep, but I still have their yarn stashed away for myself. I love it! I checked out your blog and added a link here.


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