Friday, July 28, 2006

The genesis of Boulderneigh; foundation ewes

My first real introduction to Shetland sheep came at the Oregon State Fair in 2005. I spent a lot of time in that section of the livestock barns, talking to breeders, looking at and petting sheep. One of the breeders I met was Wallace Rutledge. He had a beautiful white yearling ewe for sale who half-closed her eyes while I slowly rubbed her chin, and I was hooked. Although I continued to look, talk to breeders and shop around, in the end I purchased two bred ewes from Wallace Rutledge in February, 2006. Of COURSE one of them was that beautiful white ewe - WSR Dinah. The other was WSR Rechel, an Ag spotted gray, also a 2004 model. (One of the things I noticed about Wally's sheep at the State Fair is that they all had Bible names. That appealed to me, as I treasure the Bible as the Word of God.)

When I picked up my girls from Wally's farm, I got to meet the rams Wally had bred them to. Dinah's mate was WSR Eleazar, a big black ram. Rechel's mate was WSR Moses, a gray flecket who has to be the most attractive ram I have ever seen. I'm a sucker for a beautiful face, and Moses has the most exquisite head! (Apparently the rest of him is pretty great, too, as he was named the Grand Champion ram at the Black Sheep Gathering this June.)

On March 16, Rechel presented us with twin ewe lambs unassisted, both with beautiful spotted coats. I named the silver one Bailee, and the black one Bella. Rechel was Supermom from the git-go, and her lambs flourished.

On April 7, Dinah presented us with a single white ram lamb with long, long legs, again unassisted. Unfortunately, the night he was born, Bailee died from a very fast (symptoms began only the day before), very hot pneumonia. It was a bittersweet morning.

So this is the genesis of Boulderneigh Shetland Sheep, with hopefully many other happy chapters to follow!