Archive for March, 2011

New lambs! Healthy lambs!

March 30, 2011

Octavia Coopworth, bred to a jacob ram, has produced a set of lovely black twins with white blazing, typical of lambs crossbred with jacobs. Jacob white is dominant over most all standardized white breeds.  In a very few cases, most notably dorsets, they will produce a spotted lamb, marked like a jacob but shaped like a dorset.   More than you wanted to know?  Anyway, Hansel and Gretel are healthy, delightful lambs, 8 lb. each at birth.  They are now almost two days old, and up and playing regularly, very inquisitive, with lovely fleeces.  I can’t wait to see how the fleece develops.  They were in with Unzicker Ike, whom I call Isaiah, Ike being a nickname and I don’t do nicknames (except for Hansel and Gretel, apparently!).    He has an extraordinary fleece, one I kept myself after shearing this year.

And speaking of shearing, there was a big article with many photos in the Sunday Valley News about my shearing and my friend, Lise’s, shearing.  There are photos available for viewing on the Valley News Website, webextras, photos, upper valley spinners…is the thread to follow, if you want to see some great photos. I especially like the one of Gwen shearing Jebediah, a huge ram with very long horns.

Here’s a photo of the twins:

They were only a few hours old here.

No other lambs since then.

I’ve been busily knitting while sitting around home mostly during lambing season. When I was at SPA (Spinning and knitting People of America?), an event sponsored by the North East Something, NEETA, I think is the acronym, in Freeport, Maine, in February, I bought two lots of roving: six 4 ounce bags of blue and green and yellow dyed roving from Maine Island Sheep, a flock kept off the coast of Maine, and 7 four ounce skeins of romney and blue faced leicester in shades of blue and green (must be my blue/green period!) from Spunky Eclectic.  I have spun all the Maine Island fleece, and plied it with natural white finn/friesian/dorset/godknowswhat milk sheep fleece from David Major’s Vermont Shepherd Cheese flock.  I’ve finished one sweater and started another, since I have enough,having stretched it with the white, to make two sweaters.  I think I’ll decide which I like best,and sell the other.  Here’s a photo of the first one:

I’ve just begun the second one; have about six inches of the yoke done.  It is a simple top down sweater, but with a collar I learned from Beth Brown-Reinsel at a workshop last year at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, which is much nicer than the traditional collar, stretches better for easy on/off, and looks better.  Again, more than you want to know?

Yesterday, at spinning, I saw the shawl Ann had finished with her newly spun, newly died milk sheep fleece.  It is gorgeous, going from purple to blue to red to orange and back to purple…all on a single strand with a new process she has devised for dyeing. She is amazingly brilliant and talented!  It almost wants to make me want to dye…if only I weren’t so lazy!

Snow expected tomorrow night into Friday: 12 inches up north, only 4-6, depending on who you listen to, around here.  I though March was supposed to go out like a lamb?  Hah!


Too late for a photo

March 27, 2011

I won’t be posting a photo of little Abigail, I’m afraid.  She died just a short while ago.  No idea why.  These things happen…but not to ME, a little voice in me says.   Ah, yes, the voice of wisdom, calm and reassuring echoes back, yes, even to you.  It is easier if you have a reason: pneumonia or some kind of internal birth defect you can see the result of, some disease. But she was a spunky little lamb,  who just stopped eating, I guess, and by the time I discovered it, tubing her didn’t help…or maybe she stopped eating because there WAS some sort of internal defect…or maybe she only tried one side of Mom, which,when I milked her out, wasn’t giving any.  Maybe she never tried the other side, which was full of milk.  Who knows…it happens.  It’s sad.  Mom is out there bawling her head off, and will for about 24 hours  I’ll leave her penned up so she doesn’t try to steal the other lamb that’s out there and cause havoc.   It’s hard listening to her. Having lost a child, I know what that feels like.  I’m not sure sheep feel it to the same degree as humans, but she certainly is crying her heart out.

Hopefully, the rest of lambing season will go smoothly with many good and healthy lambs.  It’s a little scary, since this hasn’t ever happened to me before.  I’ve described the whole scene on my jacob sheep list, and hope for some ideas from other breeders.  By the time I found her, it was way too late to call a vet. She would have been dead before we left the yard…assuming I could find one on a Sunday.  So ends the life of little Abigail Jacob.

I’m back…

March 27, 2011

I’ll bet you all thought I’d died, or at least given up on posting to this blog.  Well, not really. It’s just been an intensely busy few months.  More shows than usual in the Fall, then gearing up for Christmas, then winter cold,during all of which, I’ve been desperately doing Rosetta Stone Italian, in an effort to learn enough to get by on our trip to Tuscany and the Cotswolds this June.  This has been a good year. No falling down flights of stairs, no throwing out my knee, no other major injuries: a respite from the “clumsies”  And now we’re back into the “season”.

Shearing was St. Patrick’s Day.  There was a reporter from the Valley News here and also the following Saturday at Lise’s. This morning there should be an article on us all in the Sunday Valley News.  If you google them, you can see photos and the story, I guess.  John just went out to get the paper.

And soon after shearing, the possibility of lambs starts. This year they’ve been putting it off. The first lamb came yesterday: a little 6 lb. ewe lamb with a lovely face, a plaintive baa, and a body to dark to register.  Hopefully,like last year, someone will call and want a pet lamb.  The fleece looks lovely. Photo to follow sometime today.  12 more to go. (One seemingly didn’t get bred.)

It is very cold this morning, as it was yesterday.  I think it’s the last gasp of winter. 12-14 degrees the end of March is just a bit cold for me. Funny how it can seem balmy in January.  I think,then, however, it is a drier cold.  The damp cold of March and April is worse.

More later…gotta’ go read the article.