Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Forty-four feet

Flock work, phase one is complete; all eleven sheep have had their feet trimmed and their annual photos taken. I got three done last Friday afternoon, and the last four on Sunday. Except for Blake, who has been mostly sequestered because of his lame front leg (his limp is pretty much gone now!), trimming was very easy this year because the sheep have been out and their hooves weren't dried out and hard.

The girls' fleeces all look about the same as last year's; the boys', however, are quite different. Bittersweet and Bing, the wethers, are both thin and their fleeces haven't grown as much as usual. What's there is pretty stuff, there's just a lot less of it – and less 'sheep' underneath. They get free choice third cutting orchard grass hay and lately lots of kelp meal; I'm hoping once I get them sheared and out on their little wooded pasture lot (which has had a nice, long rest), they will pick up some weight. If not, some supplementation will be in order. They aren't old, but they aren't young anymore, either.

I've had requests for a sheep 'family tree' of sorts. I've thought about how to draw one, but going back to the beginning of my flock, or even the origins of all my current sheep, gets more complicated than I want to tackle. I will, however, share this year's fleece and sheep photos by relationship as much as possible; hopefully that will help the curious. (Pay close attention; there may be a quiz at the end! 😉)

Boulderneigh Bittersweet (b. 2012):

Bittersweet (Kimberwood Cadbury x Whistlestop 0338, called Annabelle) only has one relative in my flock, his nephew Bing (Whistlestop Bunker x Kimberwood Marta). Bing's sire Bunker was Bittersweet's half-brother; both the dam of both Bunker and Bittersweet was Annabelle.

Boulderneigh Bing (b. 2012):

Bing has one other relative in my flock – his half-sister Boulderneigh Blaise (Lil'Country Nightcap x Kimberwood Marta, b. 2014):

Blaise was sired by Nightcap when I had him here on lease. A couple years after that, he came here to stay, and I kept the two ewe lambs he sired. Thus Bette (Lil'Country Nightcap x Boulderneigh Bree) and Bernadette (Lil'Country Nightcap x Boulderneigh Babette) are Blaise's half-sisters.

Boulderneigh Bette (b. 2017):

Boulderneigh Bernadette (b. 2017):

Bette and Bernadette aren't full siblings, but almost. They have the same sire and their dams are full sisters. Bette's dam Bree (Boulderneigh Blake x OK Acres Vienna) still lives here, as do the maternal grandparents of both.

Boulderneigh Bree (b. 2015):

Here's grandma OK Acres Vienna (Crosswinds Nantucket x Lil'Country Velma, b. 2011):

And grandpa Boulderneigh Blake (Valiant Braveheart x Valiant Brava, b. 2010):

Blake has two other daughters here besides Bree, twins Bridget and Bardot (Boulderneigh Blake x WhitePine Sarai).

Boulderneigh Bridget (should have been registered 'Brigitte', b. 2017):

Boulderneigh Bardot (b. 2017):

That leaves their dam, WhitePine Sarai (WhitePine Levi AI x WhitePine Sedalia, b. 2010):

So there you have it, all 11 sheep, and how they are related to others in my flock. Let me know in the comments if you want to reserve a fleece, because I generally shear on a first-reserved, first-sheared basis. (Some fleeces have already been spoken for; I need to look over my emails and Ravelry messages.)

Quiz/contest time. The person who can name the most previous flock members NOT mentioned anywhere in this post will get an as-yet-undetermined prize. (Possibilities off the top of my head: fiber from a previous flock member; knitting books; something handknit just for you; favorite flock photo in an 8"x10".) To keep it fair (no peeking at others' answers), EMAIL your answers to mmcmillen AT macnet DOT com by Sunday, March 29, at midnight. GO!

That's it for now from . . .


Debbie said...

You have been very busy! Beautiful flock photos!!!

Michelle said...

It doesn't feel like I've been very productive, Debbie, but thanks!

Leigh said...

I have no idea about flock members not mentioned, but that's good news about Blake! It's fun to see your sheep and their fleece.

Tim B. Inman said...

Your fleece pics triggered a memory from a long time ago. When I was about 6 or 7, my Dad kept sheep. A shearer would come around and that day was a fun day. While the men were working the sheep, my brother and I had the job of tying up the fleece. We lined a wooden 'bushel' basket with paper twine, put the fleece in and then the men tied it up tight into a bundle. The fleece was then tossed like a basketball up into a giant burlap bag which was hanging from the nearby cattle chute. Taking turns, one or the other of us would have to get into that burlap bag and 'stomp' the fleeces down tight to make the big bag fill solidly. We ended the day oily and smelly, but we had fun doing it. Mom cooked the noon meal for us all, which we usually ate outside. I remember how soft the shearer's hands were. Good memories!

Deb Hillyer said...

I really enjoy all of your photos ( your blog too!). I'm wondering how long sheep will live, this question coming from a city girl.

wisps of words said...

Life on a farm goes on.

Very comforting.

Gentle hugs,
🌸 🌸 🌸

Helen said...

And such lovely fleeces too.

Jeanne said...

I really enjoyed all the pictures, especially the fleece with each one.

I have to ask about Bette and how you pronounce her name. ?? One syllable or two??
That's my sister's name and it's two syllables - as in Bette Davis.

Jeanne said...

I really enjoyed all the pictures, especially the fleece with each one.

I have to ask about Bette and how you pronounce her name. ?? One syllable or two??
That's my sister's name and it's two syllables - as in Bette Davis.

Michelle said...

Yes, Leigh, I'm so happy to see him comfortable again.

Ah yes Tim, the big wool "bales"! The handspinners' market is another animal entirely. Each fleece is skirted and sold individually.

Deb, Shetlands are generally longer-lived than the bigger commercial breeds, often living into their teens.

I'm glad to bring you some comfort, Wisps. Hope you're feeling better!

Thank-you, Helen. 😊

Jeanne, she's named for Bette Davis, so I pronounce it the same as her (and your sister).

Kristin said...

Oh how I just love sheep! The whole flock is just gorgeous but I do believe I love the looks of Blaise's fleece. Swoon. Thanks for sharing. I love living vicariously through the internets. xoxo