Sunday, December 12, 2010

Breeding Groups/Breeding Plans

Lots of snow here in Minnesota this weekend.  It's worse to the south of us; so much so that the MetroDome roof has collapsed and there's no Viking game today.  The temps will be getting down in the teens and twenties below zero and the wind is cold.  The sheep don't seem to notice, they have plenty of bedding and shelter.
In this kind of weather I am really happy to be down to just two groups of sheep again. I decided to let my Socks, Mule wether, and Pokey, the Dorset cross ram lamb, run with the Bluefaced Leicester breeding group about a week ago.

Harwell's been in with the ewes since October, so they should already be bred, but Pokey is my back up ram just in case.  As a ram lamb last year, Harwell didn't get his two ewes bred.  Pokey's little, but he's spunky.  The unnerving thing is I've actually seen him trying to mount a couple of my natural colored BFL ewes and they've been standing for him.  The first time I saw it happen it was with the ewe lamb.  I figured that was okay, she just didn't take the first time around when Harwell covered her (which I witnessed). Then two days ago I saw Pokey going after an adult BFL ewe, it may not mean that they're still open, but with lamb prices the way they are now I want to make sure all my ewes are bred this year. 

The other change for this year's breeding pens is that I am not planning to break them up until shearing time.  I really enjoy having the Shetlands and Bluefaced Leicesters in separate pens where I can feed them differently and all three of my rams are very manageable.  The BFLs eat a lot more than the Shetlands.  In past years when running all the ewes together I've wound up with fat Shetlands and skinny BFLs. We'll see what happens this year -- I'll probably have fat Shetlands and fat BFLs. :-)
I finished knitting the BFL reversible cable scarf and started in on Elizabeth Zimmermann's watch cap pattern using some handspun, hand-dyed Finn yarn.  The spring of the Brioche stitch is really luscious in using the three-ply Finn yarn. I just hope I have enough to finish the hat, otherwise I'm going to have to spin up some more.

4 comments:

  1. The mill where I do all my knitting and fiber processing is the home to a very close friend of Elizabeth Zimmerman, she actually used to be a partner at that mill. I met her last summer and she is a warm, friendly and funny lady.

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  2. Wow cool Kelly, I bet she has some cool stories to tell about EZ! I love reading all the EZ books, she had quite a sense of humor and a great writing style.

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  3. Fortunately I had enough yarn to finish the hat. I had forgotten that I had spun up all that colorway so there was no more left to spin. The hat was finished in less than 24 hours and it only took 3.5 ozs. of yarn. The directions are in EZ's "Knitting Without Tears".

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  4. Thanks for reminding me of the EZ's Watch Cap. I will have to knit that one up. Perhaps with some of my own handspun Finn...

    And your cable scarf is finished. Yay!

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