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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deja's lamb

Last evening at twilight, Deja brought this strapping ram lamb into the world...

I suspected twins since she was so large, but this fella weighed in at seven pounds. He is bigger than his half sister Gaia who is now five days old.

He is a lovely dark bitter chocolate moorit, with a splash of white on his forehead, a tiny ruff of white between his ears, and a white beauty mark to the side of his nose, I guess that makes his markings blettet. His fleece is tightly crimped from his neck to his tail, but his flanks are "fuzzy" over the top of his curls- indicative of a dual coated beast or perhaps that will disappear?

Now what to do with the fellow?? We have a fiber wether currently who has attitude issues and I'm wary of horns and kids together. Petruchio consistently knocks the kids down and has had a go at both Will and I (he has SUCH a nice fleece though!). He was a bottle fed baby so I don't know if he knows his boundaries with humans. I don't want to have a repeat experience with the new lamb- it seems like many people have pet wethers who are nice... I'm certainly leaning towards keeping him. He is a nice color and seems very sweet. I think we'll name him Spinners End Beltane- Tane or Tain for short.

Anyway, Elle was quite beside herself when she heard the new boy bleating...she ran right over and tried to help clean him off. Deja didn't seem to mind, but I was concerned about her trying to "steal" the baby from Deja. Elle continued most of the night to bleat about the situation and after my third check (and all was well) of the maternity pen at 1:00 am, I decided to turn off the monitor to get some sleep before having to get up at 5:40 am to get the kids off to school.
No post would be complete without a picture of the Princess she is at five days old sunning herself in the warm April sun.

Monday, April 27, 2009

English Angora Rabbits

This is what it's all about...English Angora fiber!!! It is so incredibly soft and fine- like spinning clouds. It blends very nicely with shetland wool.This lovely girl is Mocha- she is a great wooler and is bred for early May babies! Her fiber is a lovely dove grey color.

Buffy (the wererabbit slayer) has a lovely apricot & cream colored fiber- she is very tolerant of being plucked as well. Plucking the fiber is quite easy as the hair is already loose and ready to come out anyway. It is much quicker to cut the hair, but the ends are blunt and stick together and you get short fibers mixed in with the long lustrous locks which makes for harder spinning.

This is Spice. This is not a posed photo...she likes to jump in and out of the basket I use to pluck their hair into (when empty of course!). Spice's fiber is a dove grey also, with a slight brownish tone.

Last of all is our buck Wensleydale. He and mocha paired up to make some lovely kits I hope! He is a blue-eyed white english angora. His fiber is exceptionally fine and a bright white.

English Angora fiber from the rabbits above is available for sale at my Etsy site which can be accessed by the side bar to the right of the posts. Etsy is an awesome community of folks that make and sell handmade goods- you can spend hours browsing...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What about the rest of us?!?!

Mmamma Llama Llilith...the llamas always think there is something magical about a camera... Yes, that is a dog house in the background. The sheep love either sleeping in it or standing on it.

Lila and Daddy giving sheep pats to Nala- the white llama is Pikachu.

I finally got a few minutes to try rooing some cheek wool- it works! I had brought a paper bag out with me but it completely freaked out the sheep and the llamas wanted to play with it. Next time I will bring a bucket. The llama is Igraine, she is Lliliths daughter and is just barely a year old. When we got the llamas from the rescue, two of them were pregnant!

The white stuff is now gone, but I love this photo of Nala in snow.

This is Winter Sky Fancy Pants- Fancy for short, but you can see where she got the name. She is one big sweetheart and loves to lay down next to me in the pasture. She even lets me trim her feet that way! (I wish they all did...)

Almost the whole sheepish shetland crew (minus the expectant mothers)- pre snow melt. The old barn was falling apart so it is being torn down to make room for a new small barn that we will start building this spring as budget allows.... We'll keep you updated!

Spinners End Gaia

Introducing....Spinners End Gaia!

First time mum Winter Sky Elle and her wee ewe lamb Gaia, who was born on Earth Day. Gaias' sire is Winter Sky Kodachrome.

Gaia is a dark moorit gulmoget, with flashy white socks up to her hocks on her rear legs, and white slippers on her front.

Her head, and ears are white with brown spots- is she yuglet or mirkface? The patches around her eyes are the same color as the rest of her body. The teardrop markings by her eyes are also white. She also has a little sweet beauty mark on her cheek and the wee brown nose....

Her fleece is soft and tightly curled to the britch area as of today at 32 hours old.

She is quite dark brown...will she fade???

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Lamb

This Earth Day morning, Winter Sky Elle decided to grant us the honor of her first lamb...a tiny dark moorit gulmoget ewe with white socks on her back legs up to the hock, white slippers on her front legs, and a white head with panda eyes and other markings...the tear drops gulmogets typically have are white! I will need help with the markings so stand by for the photos...probably will be able to post some tomorrow. I'm thinking of naming her Spinners End Gaia in honor of the day.

You experienced shepherds...will she stay so dark??? I love it. Elle is a first time mom so I expected to hear some noise from her through the monitor (glad I didn't get rid of it with all the other baby stuff) but she didn't utter a single peep. The first thing I heard out of the monitor was the tiny bleating of a lamb....what a nice thing to wake up to at 6:15 in the morning! When I got outside to the maternity ward Elle was very attentive at licking the dear one off. I was able to sneak in there and clip, dip and strip pretty quickly. The baby was trying to nurse and mum was turning circles but she was finally able to latch on and get a meal. She looks so tiny...I haven't weighed her yet. She had a nice warm mouth, but she doesn't look like she has a huge full tummy so I will have to keep an eye on her. This being our first lamb I'm sure I'm being over cautious, but.....

Not a bad day to lamb- two of the kids are home sick from school- Lila with a high fever and Sam puking. Will took Duncan off to preschool for some exciting project involving marble tracks/runs that he (Duncan) was rather excited about. The other two are laying here on the couch listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix book on tape. A bonus for me!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stealing from the Trees...

Finally....the weather cooperated enough that we could start boiling down the sap that we have been collecting for the past few weeks! We have been storing sap in the garage waiting for the snow to stop so we could start the boil without adding any additional water in the form of precipitation. We have an outside boiler that Will cleverly made out of scrap junk scrounged out of the old barn. The primary base is an old metal refrigerator that the bottom was cut out of. Will dug out the side of the hill cut and shoved it in there, and replaced the bottom of the fridge with a coal chute door, also found in the old barn. Some stove pipe was also retrieved from said location to complete the illustrious contraption. The stainless steel pan was the only thing we had to buy, besides the buckets and taps.

Here is Sam, carrying a full bucket (tap and all) to the awaiting vessel.

Lila just about to pour the good stuff out....
Daddy gives the sap and kids a rickshaw ride back to the house....

Where the sap gets boiled down outside. We finish the syrup in the house...what an incredible aroma. The last bit was finished last night for a total of just over nine gallons! Our best year yet. Must be all the extra help from the kids...

Salutations from Spinners End!

I realized this past week that one of my favorite things to do after the chaos of work, dinner and getting the kids settled down to bed was checking out a few of the blogs I had recently discovered while looking for information about shetland sheep. In fact, it was becoming a little obsessive....whose sheep had given birth? Did someone else find a good shearer? Who is Rooing sheep out there??? What wisdom and advise does "Dream" the oracular sheep have today? :) I thought starting my own blog might help connect me to the shepherds world just a little more, and maybe someone else would be interested in our little chaotic world as I am with theirs.
animal family is (at the moment) composed of three llamas, ten shetland sheep, four english angora rabbits, two "pet" rabbits, two cats, three dogs (including two newfies which count really for four dogs), and one lonely goldfish. Two of the shetlands are due to lamb starting next primary impetus for searching out lamb posts! Our first lambs ever. Nervous and excited!! Twenty five chicks will be coming the last week of April and we will be having a litter of Angora bunnies in May. Will have lots of pictures to post soon!

This is Winter Sky Deja Vu. She was bred to Winter Sky Kodachrome, owned by Karen Valley. Deja has a very soft fine fleece that is starting to modify...Deja just celebrated her second birthday with some extra oats.

This lovely girl is Winter Sky Elle, also bred to Kodachrome. She is the cutest little gulmoget...and has a very soft lock type fiber in shaela. Elle will be turning one very shortly!

We can't wait to see what their lambs look like. Kodachrome is such a handsome flashy moorit ram.