Friday, January 30, 2009

Too funny and too true!!

This was sent to me in an email. Click on it to enlarge! Feels like home.

Random snow & sheep pictures

Candace-Horned Dorset Almost 2 years old.

Rachael-Horned Dorset

Cornelius-Horned Dorset. Almost 2 years old. Ain't he gorgeous?!
Goliath-Corriedale aka Rug (as in shag) 11 years old. Still producing a gorgeous fleece.
A very snowy 'Butterfly' aka Shaun the Sheep. The surviving twin from the 3# lambs born last spring. He is already as big, if not bigger, than Snow.
Snow. Almost 1 year old. Still the tiniest sheep. Pure Romney.

Cheyenne. Look at the strange top-knot. The biggest of last year's lambs. She is almost as big as some of the adult ewes. (Hey Kimberly! This is the one you named. She'll be sheared in March.)
Looking out my front door. The newspaper says we got 14" in this last storm, but I think we got a little more than that.

Looking up the driveway, and looking down the driveway. Looking at the house from the barn.
It is supposed to warm up here this weekend, so we plan to start shearing. We have 4 ewes that could go anytime, thanks to Stormy Weather. He was too small to put in with the rams, but obviously, not too small to breed. We should know soon. Scheduled breeding in not meant to happen until February 14th. What a better way to spend Valentine's Day with the love of my life, than to spend it out in the barn waiting for lambs together.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dorsets and Romneys Dorsets in England. They look like ours........... (o; They say absolutely nothing about their fleeces. This is what they have to say about the Dorset fleeces...This holds true with ours.
Both horned and polled Dorsets are an all white sheep of medium size having good body length and muscle conformation to produce a desirable carcass. The fleece is very white, strong, close and free from dark fiber. Dorset fleeces average five to nine pounds (2.25-4 kg) in the ewes with a yield of between 50% and 70%. The staple length ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches (6-10 cm) with a numeric count of 46's-58's. The fiber diameter will range from 33.0 to 27.0 microns.

This is Merino-Medium-wool Merinos are primarily grown for wool production, although improved carcass quality gives this breed a dual purpose. Their wool is almost totally absorbed by the textile trade, in particular high quality apparel wool.
The strain is large framed and relatively plain bodied, producing a heavy fleece which is soft handling and of good color with a fiber diameter of 20-22 microns. Staple length is approximately 90mm. (3.5433")

And Corriedale-The Corriedale produces bulky, high-yielding wool ranging from 31.5 to 24.5 micron fiber diameter. The fleece from mature ewes will weigh from 10 to 17 pounds (4.5-7.7 kg) with a staple length of 3.5 to 6 inches (9-15 cm). The yield percent of the fleece ranges from 50 to 60 percent. Until we started coating Goliath, he typically gave us a 15-16# fleece every year. The coat seems to absorb some of his lanolin weight, as well as keeping out all the VM.

And the Romney-The Romney fleece is unique among all breeds of sheep in the way it combines several important traits. The fleece is lustrous; it hangs in separate locks, with minimal cross fibers between the locks. It is also high yielding and easily spun. Uniformity of crimp from the butt to the tip of a lock is also typical of the breed. Romney wool has the finest fiber diameter of all the longwool breeds; the spinning count may run from 40 to 48 which is 38.0 to 31.0 microns. Ideally, the spinning count of the fleece is consistent over the entire body.
Fleeces from mature ewes will weigh from eight to twelve pounds (3.6-5.4 kg). It is the low grease content of Romney wool that makes it a very light shrinking fleece upon washing, and consequently high yielding with a range in yield from 65 to 80%.

So, for numbers we have-micron count and length-
Dorset- 33-27 2.5-4"
Corriedale- 31.5-24.5 3.5-6
Merino- 20-22 3.5
Romney- 38-31 3-8

Our Dorsets are as fine, if not finer than our Corriedale. The only drawback is the length. Some years we get 2" fleeces, which are great for socks, and other years we get 4" fleeces, which are great for shawls. I love our Dorsets no matter the length as the wool is next to the skin soft, but durable.

Our Romneys are mostly natural colored, and all of our ewes at this time are tri-colored. We have one white Romney. Our fleeces are all next to the skin soft and long.

We have one aging Corriedale wether. He may be getting old, but his fleece looks and feels the same as it did when he was much younger. All Goliath has to do is eat, drink and grow fleece. (o;

My favorite fleece here on the farm though is the Dorset/Romney and Corriedale/Romney. We use our Romney ram(s) on the Dorset or Corriedale ewe and get the Romney length and the Dorset or Corriedale fineness. This way you can spin as fine or as thick as you want and still maintain the softness of the mother's breed.

Looking at the upcoming weather, we are hoping to start shearing next weekend, the 31st of Jan-1st of Feb. I will take pictures and post the fleeces on our fleece blog.

Stay tuned!


We are having a strange winter here. Subzero one day and quite balmy the next. And there are robins everywhere! So much for knowing when it is spring........ If I have my camera out, I will try to catch some of these birds.
The following is from wikipedia.
While Robins occasionally overwinter in the northern part of the United States and southern Canada,[11] most migrate to winter south of Canada from Florida and the Gulf Coast to central Mexico, as well as along the Pacific Coast.[13] Most depart south by the end of August and begin to return north in February and March (exact dates vary with latitude and climate).

I know occasionally the robins will stay here along the river's edge, but I have not seen more than one or two. I've seen LOTS in the past week.

We have not had an official January thaw this year, and looking at the weather for the next week, we will not have one. -1F tonight, 21F to 3F Sunday, and so on. The 1st and 2nd of February look promising for shearing though. 34F Sunday and 37F Monday. The girls need to be sheared soon if they are going to start delivering on the 14th.


Friday, January 16, 2009


8 am and it is still only -21 degrees here. I will be spending the day in the basement, near the wood stove, skirting lamb's fleeces and washing fleeces. I also need to finish cleaning the basement to get ready for the fiber mill (when and if I can get our financing). Jerry needs to put up more lights and put in more outlets, so I might as well have the basement as clean as I can get it. Now, I am talking about the new basement in the house, not the original one. The new one has 9' tall ceilings and lots of windows. The old one is 2 sides built into the hillside and less than 6' ceilings. That is where my dye kitchen is, and the hot water tank, well pump, etc... Maybe I'll take some pictures.........
Needless to say, I have not been to the barn yet and I am in no rush to do so. The cat thinks his cat door needs to be opened, but he will get over it. (o; We gave extra hay last night to hold them over, so they will be fine until the temperature gets to at least zero.
TTFN. Off to work in the basement.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Absent from my blog

Since my last post, I worked 11 days out of 15 days. 2 of those days were a Sunday, and 1 was a holiday. I am pooped and needless to say did not have time, nor any 'fodder', for my blog. I am trying to catch up on special orders and normal blogging will resume this week. I am off to 'play' with the girls today and just relax and catch up with whatever has been happening in their lives in the last 3 weeks.
I have to have 6 weeks working days off from week as I am being 'released' from my position as a temporary rural carrier. Then, I will be 'rehired' as a rural carrier associate with a raise. I don't understand all of it, yet, but I am going to take full advantage of 7 days in a row off. I forgot how little normal full time working people can get done around their homes. I don't have plans to go back to work full time, I do enjoy working as a sub.


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