Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Musings on Boulderneigh's evolution

My flock and my goals have changed rather dramatically in the four short years since I was introduced to Shetlands. Will this evolution continue apace, or have I arrived in the general vicinity of my long-term shepherding destiny?

My journey as a shepherd has been detailed in this blog, so I won't repeat all the twists and turns in this post. Suffice it to say that what started as a small farm deferral project that I thought I could live with (meaning not raising animals primarily for slaughter or taking land out of pasture for a crop of some kind) has turned into a passion for friendly, fine-fleeced, well-conformed Shetlands that carry the genetics to produce polled rams. This passion must be contained in a very small flock, because I love and live with a man who does not share my passion, nor understand it.

It is strange how things develop. When I bought Stonehaven Valeria (Valentine) to add to my three ewes (my original two plus Bella, the first lamb born here), I thought I wanted a black ewe, but fell in love with the friendly fawn instead of the black Lois brought to OFFF for me to look at in 2006. Then I got interested in polled genetics, and bought a half-poll ram lamb and a probable half- or full-poll ewe lamb from Beryl Baker in AZ. Eventually I DID get my black, an F2 Holly ewe from Susan Kimball. Now I've sold my beloved Valentine to buy Owl Hill Butter, a ewe lamb with more than 67% UK (and hopefully polled) genetics!

Eventually, I would like to have a multi-colored flock of all or mostly Boulderneigh-bred sheep that are fully polled with fine, lustrous fleece of good length for handspinning. How long it will take me to get there, I have no idea. But considering how quickly I have gone from a clueless beginner with no interest in fiber arts to a breeder with definite goals and at least some knowledge who spins and knits, maybe it will be sooner rather than later. At any rate, I will continue to enjoy the journey as long as God allows. How could I not?"Butter Bliss"

Yes, my Butter is softening to the joys of her new shepherd's fingers. This in turn creates "Shepherd Bliss." Life is good.

That's it for now from . . .

9 comments:

Kara said...

What a sweet face! I feel a similar evolution might be coming on. I think I might have a few polled carrying ewes by chance. I guess getting a full polled ram would be one way to find out...maybe next year.

Sharrie said...

I should be so lucky to have the system that you have going. Keep it up! All that and a view to "die for".

A :-) said...

Oh - that's a happy face :-) She is really a pretty girl!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

> because I love and live with a man who does not share my passion, nor understand it

I would have thought that he would be a bit more supportive considering his career choice. My DH is the same way, but hes a driller, not a Vet :)
The only kind of horses my DH likes are the ones that come 300+ to a package and run on tires.
If I need his help with anything involving the sheep, I have to blackmail him.

kristi said...

I started off with a beautiful horned mioget, yuglet ram & while his horns are magnificent to look at, they are such a pain sometimes & I too hope to have a polled line established in the future! I can honestly say I do not miss the DH lifestyle, kinda like doing my own thing with the farm & animals but a little labor help never hurts:)

Kathy said...

Butter is a real beauty, that's for sure! And I am so happy to know you are well on your way, friend...to your goals. But sometimes, it's not the goal that's important, but the journey.

:)

Tifany said...

Butter is a beauty Michelle! I admire your goals, and success at working toward them. Now that I've had shetlands for six months I'm trying to figure our my goal and focus...

Wrensong Farm said...

I KNEW you would bring Butter over to the friendly side. :) That last pic is precious! I'm late starting on my "adventure" and I wish I had more solid of an idea of just what I'm going for.....right now it's just pretty, friendly Shetlands and needing to get the knowledge to spin and knit! Thank you for introducing me to the sheep of my dreams! :)

Pamela said...

Oh that Butter Bliss is SWEEEEET!

You have only been doing this for 5 years????? You give me hope that I can figure out how best to take care of my pet flock.

Again, that Butter is gorgeous!