Whew! I spent Friday and Saturday at the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers annual Shepherd's Holiday. It was held in Alexandria, MN. This was the first time I've attended the MLWP's annual event and I was pleasantly surprised at what a fun weekend it was. Terri Drimel and I went together (we volunteered to serve on the MLWP Board and were on the ballot - and yes, we got voted in). Gail VonBargen rode up with a nice shepherd couple who live near her. It was fun to talk sheep with them and meet new friends.
The classes were very interesting. I learned new things about terminal sire selection, Scrapie transmission, Nor98, and wool characteristics/fiber production.
The food was great, especially the Greek Marinade Lamb Shanks served at the banquet -- absolutely delicious! The live auction was fun on Friday night and at the luncheon Saturday we got to see the Make it with Wool entries. That was amazing -- from the youngest little seamstress to the oldest -- lots of really nice wool garments!
Another pleasant surprise came when Greyson's fleece sample (taken at the last rib, mid-side) came in 3rd in the finest fleece contest. First place went to a merino who microned at 16.8, second place was 22.3 (not sure of the breed) and Greyson had an AFD of 22.7 (SD of 5.1, and CV of 22.6).. I just wanted to find out a ball park figure on his numbers since he's the only Shetland ram I'm using for breeding this fall.
The conference ended Saturday afternoon with a farm tour of a commercial operation who had 1,000 ewes. They lamb year round. Oh my gosh, they had a lot of sheep there! Seeing the facilities and hearing about the ewe and lamb rations, feeding systems, etc. was really interesting. In one barn they were ultrasounding and sorting ewes from three different breeding groups. All of us got to take a good look at the lambs in utero. That was really cool. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera and do the roving reporter thing, but Terri did and she has posted photos on her Roundabout Acres blog.
Next on my agenda is to break up my breeding groups. It will be nice to have only two pens of sheep again, I just hope reuniting the rams goes well. Poor little Greyson is definitely the underdog, being only about 1/3 of the size of the other rams.