Anywho- here is a story for you. Last November, before deer season struck and work became, well, more work; I received a phone call from Sam and Duncan's chum Andrew's Mother Lisa. (Got that?)
Hold on- need to back up a bit. When Andrews family moved to da UP, they bought a resort on the Big Manistique Lake that came with a small petting zoo that included three goats and two sheep (you can see where this is going already can't you?). I met Lisa at a school function and was going on about how cute these Dahl sheep were. I'm spelling it like I heard it. I was thinking, how interesting...Dahl sheep? Really? I didn't know you could keep those! So imagine my surprise when I went to pick up my kids at Lisa's house and these two Wee Tiny Fuzzballs came running out to greet me!
The lightbulb went off- "Doll" sheep as in Olde English Southdown Babydoll sheep!
So, of course, I blathered on about how cute they were (because they are- I mean COME on!) and how friendly yadda yadda yadda. Two months later (we are back to November now) Lisa is telling me how their behavior has changed and they are getting agressive towards their neutered buck (I'm switching to goats here) and being amorous towards the doelings (presumably in heat). Then "Snowball" (that's the white one in case you were left wondering) starting ramming her in the leg. She wasn't too worried about her leg (he stands about 24 inches tall at the shoulder) but was worried about her three year old. So, two days later Lisa's father in law shows up at my office and says
"You want those sheep? Otherwise their going to the auction barn".
Um, Will...and guess what he said?!?
We went to go get the fellas so I was finally able to get my hands on them and did a bit of "professional groping" around their nether regions and guess what I found? You betcha- three out of four testicles still intact. These guys had been banded before they left their farm and went to live at the resort but were still armed and dangerous. And (close your eyes fellas) without Scrotums. One trip to the vets later (which was a funny story in and of itself- imagine doped up sheep) they are now testosterone free. But, definitely not FREE sheep after the surgery.
Aren't they cute though? They always look like they are smiling.
Snowball is rather outgoingly friendly, and the bigger of the two.
Cocoa (remember that we did not name these guys) is the shy one, but he does love snooping in my pockets for graham crackers and firmly believes that humans should always have them on their person. The wooly faces are hard to get used to and in November I had to cut a lot of hair away from their eyes so they could see...now I understand what "Wool blind" means. Almost time for another trim and you can see that Cocoa has some grass awns stuck in his face. They wear what they eat on their faces...hmm. sort of beard like!
I don't know what their fleeces will be like. Cocoa's is soft and crimpy right now and about two inches long. Snowball feels more springy and is super crimped and slightly shorter than Cocoa's. It will be fun to spin I think, but they are so bloody small they won't have much on them! I'm sticking with Shetland's honestly.
In other news....
The introduction to the fiber arts class is going well. This is a class that is funded by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) grant that my friend Susan and I applied for the shcool. Last week we hand painted (dyed) wool yarn. The yarn was peruvian wool (I have NO idea what breed of sheep) from Knitpicks- yarn blanks. We used Country Classics dye on most of them, though the bright gold skein to the right was dyed using onion skins with alum and cream of tartar as a mordant. The rose colored skein to the left of the picture was cochineal beetles using alum as a mordant and was diluted quite a bit. We had a lot of fun, but it was really labor intensive for me with all the prep work, helping everyone dye (I never heard the phrase Mrs. MacKinnon uttered so many times in my life!) and then I had to bring it all home to heat set it, rinse it, and dry it (in the basement in front of the wood furnace). Phew. Glad that class is done and now I know why the professionals charge so much for dye classes.
Lila was selected to go on a ski-snowboarding trip with her school this past Tuesday. She was able to take a snowboarding and skiing lesson for next to nothing. Will went along as a chaperone (and he went snowboarding too). Evidently the kids had a good time watching him fall over a bunch. He said it was really hard to control! Lila thought so too and would have preferred spending more time skiing.
Last weekend I made donut drops and we ate them with strawberries. They were oh so very very good and the recipe is here. My kids will be forever in gratitude to the shepherdess for that post! We will have more again this weekend.
Mmm! Chunk says we could bring HER some of those!
She is getting old (10), and has few teeth, so comes into the people part of the barn for some sheep pellets.