Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends...

(Actually, I got by with a LOT of help from my friends!)

Before I started showing my own little sheep, I enjoyed watching and learning and taking photos and lending a hand when needed. Now I must depend on those who are there to watch and learn and take photos, and who are willing to lend a hand when needed!

Since I had two ewe lambs and two ram lambs to show, I needed help in all the classes I entered. Shannon was going to help me, but with the Jacob show following on the heels of the Shetlands AND a booth to keep manned, she had to back out. Enter blogpal Denise!Denise and her husband came all the way down from Skagit Co., WA to take in the show. It is always great fun to meet blogpals in person, and Denise was no exception. And when Shannon told me she couldn't help and I asked Denise if she would be willing, she responded enthusiastically!
I couldn't have done it without you, friend! (Shannon may not have been able to help me show lambs, but she was a huge help by picking up some local second cutting orchard grass hay and bringing it to the show for me. Now I have enough, hopefully, to tide me over until I can get this year's crop in the barn.)

As I said in Monday's post, we didn't win any ribbons. The judge hardly glanced at Beau, Blackberry, and Bramble, but he seemed more impressed with Bronwen (above). She survived his cuts until she was in the top third of the class. Interestingly enough, another Shetland breeder told me that my sheep would do very well if I show at OFFF in September, where Rena Douglas will be judging. Since Rena is a well-known Shetland breeder and the judge at BSG admitted he sees very few Shetlands and is into "big" sheep, that made me feel pretty good! I'm not planning to show at OFFF, though, so will have to take her word for it. My sheep do look quite a bit different from the rest that were exhibited at BSG, probably because theirs are all basically from the same stock, while I have some AI genetics in my flock. Specifically, my lambs' fleeces are shorter (as are their "horns"!). But again, based on the compliments from the processor and the warm reception buyers gave my fleeces and rovings, I am happy with the direction I am going, even if it doesn't earn my sheep any ribbons.

Another blogpal I got to meet for the first time is this lovely lady:That's the talented Joan from Mud Ranch's Real Dirt. I saw her daughter first, and recognizing her from Joan's blog I called out, "Annie!" Isn't the internet a strange and wonderful thing? (And yes, even a little scary!)

Win, lose or draw, the group of Shetland breeders at these shows are a friendly - and helpful! - bunch. Little Boo (shown above with an admirer) got sick, and one of the other Shetland breeders helped me give him shots and even gave me a tube of Probios for him (Rick was supposed to bring home a tube for me the day I left, but forgot). Thanks a ton, Sandy!

The fun part about camping there was that I got in on more of the Shetland socializing.
Lois, the best mentor a Shetland breeder could ever have and a dear friend, wasn't able to bring her lovely sheep this year, but she and Brook did stop by on Sunday to say hi.

That's it on BSG '09 from . . .


Anonymous said...

I am so glad Denise was able to step in :) Your little Blackberry is just the cutest Shetland out there. Great seeing you!

C-ingspots said...

Your probios was not forgotten, I put it in Rick's truck and told him that it was there. :(

Hope the little guy is feeling better, and glad someone else had some for you to borrow.

Anonymous said...

I really liked Blackberry too. He is striking! Of course, Bronwen is still a favorite of mine.

It was great meeting you Michelle! Not a bad pic of me either... that coming from the person it is of, and that says a lot! LOL

Looking foward to seeing you at next year's BSG.

Nancy K. said...

I've also found that Shetland people are always happy to lend a hand. For me, the best part of a sheep show is socializing with the other shepherds...

Great picture of Lois & Brook!

What was the matter with Boo?

Michelle said...

Nancy, Boo was breathing different than the other lambs before I left, but my husband deemed him fine because he was bright, alert and had a good appetite. The funny breathing continued at the show, and then he got depressed and stopped eating much at all. The antibiotics, Banamine (my husband DID send me mostly prepared, just in case) and Probios helped, so he was eating fine by the time we left BSG. Once we got home he looked and acted better, but developed a bit of a cough for a day or two. Now all symptoms are gone. Your guess is as good as mine; I've given up expecting to get a definitive diagnosis on most sheep problems!

Jenny Holden said...

Are the photos of the winning sheep posted somewhere? I'd be interested to know what is winning over there. I'll be seeing Rena on Friday at the Royal Highland Show so maybe I'll enquire about how shows differ in the US.

I think you have lovely sheep. I hope Boo is feeling better.

Kathy said...

All your posts reek of a great time, Michelle! I sure wish I could have gone. (sigh)
I hope you gave our friend, Lois, a big hug! One of the highlights of each month is seeing her when she comes through here.
Thanks for sharing with those of us who are farm-bound. ;)

Michelle said...

Yes, Kathy, I gave Lois several hugs. She was very tired, and was having a hard time getting away from the show as everyone wanted to show her their sheep (including me :-)

And yes, I had a great time; I'm sorry you're farm-bound! But if you had been able to come we might just have had more fun than is permissible!

Juliann said...

Hey, I remember Denise! :) Hi Denise!
I had a ewe go off feed and get depressed last year. I was so afraid I was going to show up at the fairground and find her dead in the pen. Thank goodness she was only stressed and bounced back once I got her back home.

Lael said...

After you've shown in front of a few judges, you'll believe everyone when they say that the first place sheep would be different on a different day, different judge. We used to show at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool and we have seen the smallest sheep place high and the biggest sheep, depending on the year. What bothers me the most is a judge who doesn't seem to know what she wants and is overwhelmed by the size of some of the classes - that happened to us one year.

By the way, thanks for the nice comments on my lace scarf. I think my knitting ability is better than my photography ability, though!!