Sunday, May 31, 2009

A great link

Can this be modifed for cattle and or sheep?

Where do I go from here?

My family has been working behind my back at selling land to my sister and her husband to build a house. When I was told kind of 'through the grapevine' I was furious and confronted my dad about it. He denied it and said nothing was going on and if anything like that would ever happen I would be in the know. My sister then let it slip on the way to dog agility class that they were building a house on the farm the moment their house near Minneapolis sold. Well it sold and the other night the contractor my dad works for was over here talking to them about building a house.

I was irate. Why?

It has been my 'long term plan' to purchase the farm, in its entirety, from my dad when I was between 40 and 50. Even if I moved to Colorado, it would have only been short term (5-10 years) and I have always said I wanted to live on the farm, try to farm with cattle and sheep as my source of income (hundreds of commercial animals) and that the landscaping and lawn care business that I am currently doing would be a secondary income and could either do it 'for fun' when farming was allowing it, or hire someone to run it for me and work full time on the farm. (more so than I do now).

I've talked about this plan since before I graduated college to some extent (the living here and having it continue as a working farm part) and its been known to most of my friends and family I thought for at least the 7 years that I've lived here post college. When in discussion with my parents and/or sister they were all stunned and baffled that I wanted to remain here and farm. their exact words were " I had no idea you wanted to live here and farm".






My parents have told me that they are going to 'gift' my sister 10 acres and me 10 acres. What am I going to do with 10 acres? Granted that seems like a lot but our farmstead is on atleast 5 acres and then 5 acres of pasture? For 200 head of sheep and 100 head of cattle? I don't think that would work. 320 acres is the minimum I would be able to use wtih pastures, and field work, that I could sustain or even come close to providing for 50 cattle and 200 sheep, or 100 sheep and 75 cattle. I would have to plan on renting land to have 100 cattle and 200 sheep (just figures I'm throwing out, not defininte numbers, but numbers that I would need to keep alive in the industry and make some sort of income)

It is true that if my parents died in a car accident the farm is willed to both of us kids, each getting half. While i have no problem with that, I do have a problem with them BUYING the land prior to my parents death and thereby having me end up with only 160 acres, possibly as low as 120. Again a lot of land by most standards but to farm efficiently here I would need all the tillable acres and pasturable acres for both species of livestock.

Needless to say my goals of bovine and ovine producing will be more than likely numbered and I will have to decide between the two and more importantly decide if I should remain here or move away.

Its much easier to find a better paying job and have 20 sheep on a few acres anywhere else than here. It would be easier to meet people and meet the potential love of my life somewhere else. Really the only reason for staying to was to try and continue to farm this 5th generation Ramsay family farm. And with half the acreage possibly leaving my control, I wouldn't be able to do that.

I think what most hurts me is that they lied to my face about it. No one will give me a straight answer and everything in my future is now affected by this decision on THEIR part and leaving me out of the equation to just sit and wait.

On another note the dogs that my sister has that two years ago killed my goats by breaking out of their chain link kennel with a solid floor and roof (they chewed through the chain link) and then proceeded to climb over a 6 ft tall electrified fence to get into the goat pen and then make hamburger of goats was a breakign point with my family. I had made the decision to ask them to put their dogs down or never bring them back.

For anyone following this story most will know that they did not put them down, and have continuously brought them back to the farm breaking our agreement and putting all of my livestock at risk, time and time again. I know how most of you feel and appreciate the support but this is family and makes it terribly hard. If they would build on the pristine parcel of land that is coveted by all family members to build on (which is where they want to build naturally) they would be only 1/2 mile across a field to the sheep pasture fence....and their dogs are known to get out and leave for weeks at a time....something that makes me extremely nervous.

And yes it would be considered 'their land' and technically not be on the farm land but their dogs would nontheless be there again and be in sight of the sheep....its only a matter of time before they get out and if they come to the farm I have ever right to do what is necessary to protect my livestock.

So the terror of the saftey of the animals here (guineas, sheep, calves, my dogs, etc) and the lying to my face is most upsetting, hurtful and emotionally draining. So draining in fact that this weekend Steve Peterson (Barb's husband) actually got under my skin and I had to firmly and strernly offer him my opinion on what he was saying and made the entire day very stressful and awkward at the show since we were grooming together. In the end it was reconciled but it is so unlike me!

There is a lot more to it and after rereading this it seems as if I am making a huge deal out of nothing but it is in fact a huge deal. Its changing my future and goals and while that might be OK, had I kinown this 8 years ago I would have never came home and would have found somewhere else to live and work and play.

The best part is my sister grew up on the farm but never left the house except to get to her car. She never weeded the garden, mowed the lawn, planted trees, milked cows, did chores, fed the dog etc. Why would she want/need/desire to live on the farm or own any of the land? My dad has three sisters and none showed interest in coming back to the farm. Ever. Not even to build a house to live.

And while my sister is one of my best friends, as are my parents, it bothers me greatly about this situation and it makes me uncomfortable and of course the only one who seems to be on 'my side' of the equation. I don't like it and i feel quite hopeless.

I'm all about compromises but i can't be guaranteed that I can still rent or work the land that my sister is getting or buying. That makes it hard for down the road. And what happens if someday they cannot keep the land and it goes outside the family?? Not something I care to think about. My parents told me that they are doing it to make sure we are both taken care of. I know that my sister and her husband make 4x as much money as I do and are quite well off already, with them being around my age (29). If I ever made that much money in 5 years I would be happy! So I don't think they need any land to be 'taken care of'. But again, its just my side of the story and no matter how diplomatic and neutral I'm trying to make this story, I'm sure its not completely coming off that way.

I just am emotionally drained and am not really talking to my family, which is very difficult considering they all currently live 100 yards away in another house.

Where do I go from here?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A lot happening

There is a slew of terrible things happening around here and I need some time to collect my thoughts on them before I blog about them. I'll be gone during the day each of the next three days for my Fargo dog show, but will be home in the evenings. Perhaps I'll find the resources to blog about my life when I get home some night....

Until then.....

Thank you friends

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime..

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need
you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with
guidance and support,

To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire
fulfilled, their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has
come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,

things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional

Your job is to accept the lesson,

love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other
relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,

whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Head - 9 points - 1927 Shetland Standard

The head is the next topic as Michelle at Boulderneigh had two sheep photographed and discussed. One's head didn't seem to be as 'ideal' in MHO, but it could just be what I'm used to, or what I deem as 'pretty' or 'typey'

The head is worth 9 points as well, so another important part of the standard.


Good width between ears, tapering rapidly to base of nose, which should be broad and with little taper to the muzzle, hollow between cheeks and nose well marked


I guess this is a harder one for me to debate as most of the heads are typically the same in my flock, minus ear set or eyes or something like that. No heads are overally large, but all heads are that wide skull between ears and taper like an upside down triangle to the nose. Looking at it definintely makes me think "Shetland" but the entire "Northern short-tailed family of sheep" must have similiar heads?

Any help here disecting this would be helpful!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tail - 9 points - Shetland Standard 1927

Tail Fluke tail. Wool at root forming the broad rounded part, and tapering suddenly to barely covered fine point. This is a strong character, and any crossing is easily made out by it. Length varies according to the size of sheep, rarely exceeds six inches, or thereby.
9 points

Now I'm pretty sure we all agree that tails are pretty easy to fault or praise? A tail is something obvious that we can say 'oh its way too wooly' or 'its too long' or 'its not fluke shaped'.

So why 9 points?

Apparently breeders from days past realized this as a breed specific trait. Any crosses typically had longer tails that needed to be docked (or if they weren't resembled large tubes of sausage!) I know on the BFLs and their mules that they need to be docked. This was one way of telling a 'true' shetland from the crosses that were beginning to happen.

I did cull most of my 'wooly' tails out that resembled beaver tails with wool on them. I didn't cull them only for that, they had other huge glaring faults. What I do have a few of though are those tails that i call "rat tails". do you know what I am talking about? They have hair on most of their tails instead of wool on the top part. They are in my higher %UK and I'm not sure if that is considered a fault or if its ok? The standard doesn't say a think about those. I guess they are fluked, but they are lacking the wool (or it roo's itself off)

What say you?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wool - 20 points - Sheltand 1927 standard

Wool Extra fine and soft texture, longish, wavy, and well closed. Wool on forehead and poll tapering into neck, likewise wool on cheeks. Colours: white, black or brown , moorit (from reddish to fawn). Greys (including Sheila). Other known colours - Mirkface (brownish spots on face); Catmogit (dark under parts from muzzle to tail and legs), Burrit (light underparts); also Blaegit, Fleckit, and Sholmit
20 pts

Wool is the highest point earning, one item topic in the standard. As such, it would obviously then get the most influence and priority right? Well yet 80 pionts are conformation, but at the end of the day if two animals are equal in all other conformation points, wouldn't it be safe to say that the 20 points for a nice fleece would then win?

let's break it down.

"wool extra fine and soft texture" - EXTRA fine! What does this mean? if the average micron for Shetlands is supposed to be 23 microns, and anything over 30 microns is considered coarse, then I would think extra fine would be under 23 microns.

I have three that fit that category. How about you? And no guessing or saying " i think its really soft" or 'the handle is soft'. Prove it! Micron your sheep. its only 1.25 per sample!

"longish, wavy and well closed" this is more debatable. It was presented to a group last year and it was agreed it was hard to distinguish was longish and wavy MEANT in 1927 versus today. If fleeces are 2-4 inches then longish was probably considered 3-4 inches for this breed, but i'm only assuming. Linda Wendleboe does a great job discussing this bit of the standard well. With evidence and research to back it up. I can't find the links right now to those sites but when I find them i'll keep you posted!

Did wavy mean crimpy? Or did wavy mean what we mean by wavy? large crimp? losser crimp?

Wool on forehead and poll tapering into neck, likewise wool on cheeks"

It seems as though most of my sheep do NOT have wool on forehead or poll or on cheecks. However I bred them to AI rams and all lambs have wool on poll and cheeks. Not even my domestics have it on their polls or checks. Isn't that crazy? And how many points are these parts of the 'wool' section? 5? 10? Should it be defined? does this mean I'm going to cull my ewes? no! But i'll breed towards sheep that DO have wool on polls and cheeks , and not ignore the standard. Just as I wouldn't ignore the standard about extra fine and soft :)

Ok eat me alive! I'm ready!

A few more photos of lambs and sheep

A partial flock shot below. To the lower left you will see my F1 Orion, F2 Timothy fawn kat ram lamb. The black ram lamb in the center with his nice rear towards us in my F1 Jamie out of a linebred Dillon ewe. This ram lamb is a smooth polled ram!

This is Minwawe Dark Chocolate. She is a yearling and is for sale. Jet black and beautiful conformation. Crimpy fleece for a domestic!
My F1 Holly fawn katmoget ewe lamb WhitePine Candace. She had a spotted head at birth so I'll remember that for future use :)
Fawn and Shaela fleeced ewes. The fawn is BonoCreek Lavender Brown and the shaela is Minwawe Red Bud. Red Bud is for sale, Lavender is reserved. This is NOT iset as the fibers are are black/white or brown/white but lighter shades of black (or brown).
Two of my F1 Orion boys. The lighter one in front will be a mioget. He is WhitePine Ephraim and the moorit is WhitePine Philemon.

1927 Standard - let's discuss

Below is the SSS 1927 Shetland Sheep Standard:


Description and Scale of Points Score - 100

Reproduced from the Shetland Flock Book Society

Bye-Laws & Regulations

Objects & Standard of the Society 1927

Adopted by NASSA 03/2000
General character and appearance

(Horned or Hornless)


Good width between ears, tapering rapidly to base of nose, which should be broad and with little taper to the muzzle, hollow between cheeks and nose well marked


Medium length of face from eyes to muzzle, nose prominent but not Roman, small mouth


Full, bright, and active look


Fine, medium size, set well back, carried slightly above the horizontal


Full, tapers into a fairly broad chest


Well set, top level with back


Medium width and deep

Back Level, with as much width as possible
Ribs Well sprung and well ribbed up
Rump Good width, with well tuned rounded hips
Tail Fluke tail. Wool at root forming the broad rounded part, and tapering suddenly to barely covered fine point. This is a strong character, and any crossing is easily made out by it. Length varies according to the size of sheep, rarely exceeds six inches, or thereby
Legs of Mutton Light, but very fine in quality
Skin Varies according to colour of wool. In white no blue or black colouring
Wool Extra fine and soft texture, longish, wavy, and well closed. Wool on forehead and poll tapering into neck, likewise wool on cheeks. Colours: white, black or brown , moorit (from reddish to fawn). Greys (including Sheila). Other known colours - Mirkface (brownish spots on face); Catmogit (dark under parts from muzzle to tail and legs), Burrit (light underparts); also Blaegit, Fleckit, and Sholmit
Carriage Alert and nimble, with a smart active gait


(a) Long heavy tail, broad to point

(b) Bad wool, coarse and open

(c) Very coarse wool on breeches

(d) Deformities of jaws

(e) Undersized animals

(f) Defective coloured or badly shaped animals as sires

(g) White hairs in moorit and black, and dark hairs in white wool

Note: The 1927 Shetland Flock Book Society standard was developed for the original inspection of sheep for registration by the Society. The standard includes seven specific faults that were considered serious enough to disqualify sheep from registrations. While these disqualifications are still part of the Standard, NASSA does not have an inspection system and does not disqualify purebred Shetland sheep from registration. However, NASSA recommends that breeders take into consideration these disqualification faults when evaluating Shetland sheep for breeding purposes and for registration.

Let's discuss this largest points first. The first post will be about wool.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's For Sale

I did a tremendous amount of fencing today. This morning I spent the entire time fencing in another movable pasture for the boys. I have 10 yearling or two year old rams and I want to have only 4 by June 15th. I did some more evaluations on the rams and this is what I've decided can move on right now. I do have the right to change my mind ;)

* yearling moorit ram UnderTheSon Arapaho. $450 he has nice horns, near perfect conformation and is proven ram (bred three ewes for this spring lambs) All lambs had nice crimpy and even fleeces. He is a dark moorit with no iset. F2 Orion. Carries modified.
* yearling fawn katmoget UnderTheSon Mohican $350. Also nice horns, conformation. Both dense fleeces and mellow personalities. He was not used last fall. F2 Brent, F3 Jericho. Carries modified.
* yearling black ram named WhitePine Romeo $250. He is a poll carrier (one gene for poll, one for horn) as he has small scurs that require trimming. Gorgeous fleece, more intermediate in length (5-6") and very square boy. Soft like his dad, jet black. F2 Timothy. Out of Rahu one of my softest ewes.
* yearling warm black ram named WhitePine Lyons. I showed him last year at our Annual National show that was in Wisonsin. $350. Nice conformation, horns and friendly ram. He carries modified, spots and moorit. Was my keeper ram from last year but now am going to keep his younger full brother.
* yearling Ag/Aa Gray Bersugget ram named WhitePine Rico. His fleece is like butter. Super crimpy UK style fleece that is consistent from front to britch. Slightly narrow in the rear. Is spotted, carries modified and carries moorit. F2 Orion. $350

All rams are pending new micron results. For more information please inquire.

This afternoon/evening I spent mowing a path for the electronet for the ewes and lambs, as well as fencing in permanent fencing that will eventually be used for rotational grazing in a larger scale.

I did more evaluations on the ewes that I had in my mind I might let go. This is what i came up with.

Ewes available after July 1st.
*yearling Minwawe Dark Chocolate. She carries spots and is structurally wonderful. Crimpy fleece for a domestic. Carries moorit and modified genes also. jet black. $250
*Minwawe RedBud - shaela ewe (not iset)- two year old $250 carries spots and moorit. great mom. I'm keeping her ewe lamb.
*Minwawe Flopsy - moorit ewe - she is seven years old $300 carries spots. structurally beautiful. great mom. I'm keepign her ewe lamb.
*FirthofFifth Rooibos - fawn ewe - she is three years old . Primitive fleece. Free to good home due to mastitis. Should not be bred again.
*BonoCreek Lavender Brown - fawn ewe - she is six years old $250 reserved
*Minwawe Sterling - black krunet ewe (borderline shaela) - she is two years old $250 carries spots and moorit. Thrown only spotted girls for me. I'm retaining her girls.
*Minwawe Dixie Cup - black smirslet ewe - she is two years old $250 carries spots and moorit. My softest domestic ewe. I'm keeping her ewe lamb.
*Justalit'l Shasta - Ag smirslet flecket ewe - she is four years old $300. i think she carries polled and she herself is horned. Great mom and VERY friendly. F2 Gordon.
*WhitePine Twix - moorit moonspotted ewe - she is two years old $175. moonspotting is rare. she is now just getting iset on her sides. Last micron was very soft.

The above girls were all tested negative for OPP, Johne's and CL in October 2008. All have several micron reports as well.

Ram Lambs: (pending horn growth, testes, bite, structure) They may be kept until September for their first micron test to see where they are at.

Since I still have Jazz and Barish, most of their boys will be available July 15th or so. Please inquire for pricing.

*WhitePine Matthias - gray katmoget -(Wintertime Jazz x ShelteringPines Myra) He carries moorit and spotting. Very even fleece with no falling out at the britch. Very crimpy.
*WhitePine Reuben - black - (UnderTheSon Arapaho x FirthofFifth Rahu) . Very sound boy who has amazing presence in the pasture. Carries moorit.
*WhitePine Enoch - gray katmoget - (FirthofFifth Barish x River Oaks Eliza). Eliza is my softest mature ewe hands down. Enoch should carry moorit and could carry modfied and spots. Will have a wavier crimp in his fleece and 'probably' be more intermediate I'm thinking at this point
*WhitePine Lot - dark gray katmoget krunet - (Wintertime Jazz x Bono Creek Lavender Brown). Carries spots, moorit and possibly modified. GORGEOUS fleece, very even. Darkest Jazz katmoget ram lamb yet. Beautiful conformation. single coated.
*WhitePine Christian - black - (UnderTheSon Arapaho x WhitePine Centennial) the most amazing black ram I've had born to date here. Very even crimp, UK style, with a lot of presence and attitude in the field. Crimp even on his tail head. Carries moorit and possibly modified. He may stay here, but if someone reserves him I can't change my mind :)
*WhitePine Fortunatus - gray katmoget - (Wintertime Jazz x Minwaw Flopsy) Fleece is just stunning. dark gray katmoget that carries moorit and spotting. Beautiful build.
*two black ram lambs I'm still out to lunch on as their fleeces are still dog hair. One coudl be shaela, the other is a black krunet. With all the others to choose from I woulsn't consider them except their moms are soft and the lambs may just be 'sleepers' until this fall.

AI ram lambs:
*white ram lamb - (heights orions x ryl rachildas). I haven't decided which to keep but they are nearly identical. One has more phaeo than the other, but both are crimpy down to the tail head with no britch. nicely conformed.
* ram lamb out of Campaign Timothy x Justalit'l Shasta. One is Ag with normal horns. The other is black with scurs. I won't decide until micron reports.
* WhitePine Rufus - fawn (heights orion x firthoffifth rooibos) - it looks as though he will be intermediate in fleece going more towards his mother's type of fleece. nicely built, square boy. Very inquisitive and calm disposition
* ram lamb out of (Heights Orion x Underhill Peep) 75% UK. one is moorit, one is musket. Both seem to be scurred. I will only keep one.
* WhitePine Ulam - (Shirehill Minder x Underhill Ulla) 69% UK with nice horns so far. I have a fawn katmoget ram lamb i'm keeping out of Orion so this boy is available. His brother is the musket yuglet sokket HST ram lamb that looks like he will be scurred. I'm retaining him.

All above ram lambs are available to be 'reserved'. I'd like to make sure they are breeding worthy prior to me selling them. If I feel they are worthy of breeding the deposit will go towards their purchase price. If they are not breeding quality after all, then your deposit can go towards another ram or refunded. This will be more precise in July or August. Stay tuned. Please inquire if you have a favorite ;)

ewe lambs available will be in a post tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A few flock photos

I had a brief chance today to take new photos of some of the sheep. I moved them into another pasture for a few hours before I brought them in for the night.

Below here you will see Tilly and her BLACK daugther Terah. She has a krunet on her head and super crimpy fleece. Notice how Tilly is now getting side dusting after her first fleece.
Here is a shot for my fellow BFL breeders :) Kacy is really growing up already! To her right is "Ears" aka Sheltering Pines Morovia, and Kacy's mom Beechtree Kershope.

A little big bigger photo of some of the flock before I moved them to their new pasture.
here is part of the flock in their new pasture. Click to biggify!
Below is Winter Sky Layla AI, who is my F1 Orion ewe. She is moving to Michigan in August. Her fleece is the most beautiful mioget color and very single coated. I think she is 67% UK but would have to double check.
WhitePine Lydia is out of Layla (above) and Wintertime Jazz. She is 76% UK.

Here are my F1 Orion Boys out of Rachildas. My early favorite was the one on the left (Rhodes) but Roman is really coming into himself. I can't keep them both, so one will be for sale later, but I'm just not certain which. To reserve the other white boy, do let me know. They are 56.5% UK and carry moorit, modfied and possibly spots (from their mother)Here is my last lamb of the year, a full sister to Sedalia. This girls name is Selah, meaning 'the end'. She isn't as crazy spotted but spotted nontheless. Under that baby hair she has tight crimpy fleece like her sister so I'm cautiously optimistic she will be as soft as Sedalia is.

Below is a photo of my two gray katmoget F1 rams. Wintertime Jazz is F1 Jericho F2 Drum Ram and 87.5% UK. FifthofFifth Barish is an F1 Timothy and is 53% UK. Notice how much darker Barish is (and he has those eye flashes Michelle and Juliann that his daughter has). Jazz's face is spotted so you can see the markings much clearer. Barish carries spots and modifier producing both last year and this year.

All the boys are in a newly constructed movable pasture. I took the idea from Gail Vonbargen and modified it a little. It beats mowing that grass when something could be eating it! They were gorged today...not even cud chewing....just laying there rather full....LOL. Silly boys.
And I couldn't get rid of the Guineas after all. Being such good tick eaters I just had to keep them. That and I think they are very pretty. But man are they LOUD! They never shut up! Thankfully I am away from the barn most of the time now LOL

Above is a normal Pearl guinea. They are all hens. Below is a lavender guinea. So handy around the farm :)

Stephen Rouse

I was just notified that our greatest pal on earth, Stephen Rouse, had a minor stroke today and is in the hospital in Grand Rapids. He will be staying there until Monday and is having many tests run on him in the mean time. Let's all pray for a speedy recovery!!

*** UPDATE***

I've been on the phone with him and he seems in good spirits. Apparently he had it on the way home from work yesterday while driving he thought he should have his truck checked as he was swerving all over the road. He went out to do chores and was running into walls and when he talked to Bill Stearman last night Bill said Stephen sounded like he had a couple of beers ;) He went to work and couldn't make sentences properly and was misspelling. Apparently he went in today and they are monitoring him and trying to find out why it happened and how.

He does have his laptop with so emails would probably be very appreciated or a phone call.
Borgess Patient info line is 269-226-7000

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My 'other' babies

I sold two bred ewes to a gal down by Becky Utecht for a petting zoo, along with an unbred ewe. While two are working out, the third, a yuglet sokket moorit yearling ewe will be coming home here as she is not working out for her and will be replaced with something more friendly :)

The owner did tell me that the two did lamb and I am attaching photos she took via her phone. Not the greatest for light but you can get a general idea.

Below is WhitePine Sheridan. She is out of Wintertime Jazz x Justalit'l Shasta. Sheridan was bred to FifthofFifth Barish and they produced this spunky little gray katmoget ram lamb with horn buds (Barish carries the polled gene). His fleece from this photo looks somewhat promising.
This is Minwawe Sea Breeze and her daughter out of Wintertime Jazz! The baby girl is a gray katmoget smirslet sokket (her eye patch on the left side goes down to far to be yuglet, and only two white sock, but a WHITE TAIL!). They are both coming back here to live as Sea Breeze is too standoffish for the petting zoo. Sea Breeze and her daughter will probably be for sale.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Well I've been kind of hush hush about this but I applied for a job at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. It was for the Sheep Barn Unit Manager, something I felt I was very qualified for, but unfortunately they had others they felt were more qualified for interviews so I will not be getting one. Which is OK. At least I know now and can move forward.

Many thanks to Cynthia, Stephen, and Juliann for your Letters of Reference! I appreciate your standing behind me and supporting me in this endeavor. You are all great friends!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Last lamb last night and lamb stats

Minwawe Sterling had her water bag out last night when I did my evening check at 9pm. I sat and waited and shortly thereafter saw the babe come out. She looked dark but I could tell she was a gray katmoget. Last year Sterling's lamb Sedalia also was dark and had like a green slime on her so I waited for Sterling to clean her off before I made assumptions she wasn't spotted.

When she was cleaner I went in and saw that it was indeed another EWE LAMB! That makes the last five lambs of the season all girls! WOHOO!! And this little girl named WhitePine Selah (meaning "the end") is indeed a spotted girl too! Not as flashy as Sedalia, but nonetheless spotted, katmoget and a girl! Good Job Sterling!! (oh and Jazz too!)

My official lamb stats are now these:

Ewes exposed to Jazz: 13 (I sold the 14th one bred)
Ewes lambing Jazz lambs: 12 (one ewe lamb did not cycle)
Total lambs born: 14 (2 sets of twins, 10 singles, mostly yearlings)
Ram lambs: 7, Ewe lambs: 7
Gray katmogets: 8, black: 6 (all show signs of spotting either krunet or greater)

Lambing percent from thris group 107% (not including ewe sold)

Ewes exposed to Barish: 6 ( I sold the 7th one bred)
Ewes lambing Barish lambs: 5 (one ewe lamb did not cycle)
Total lambs born: 6 (1 set of twins, 5 singles from mostly yearlings)
Ram lambs: 2, Ewe lambs: 4
Gray katmogets: 4, black: 2

Lambing percent from this group: 100%

Ewes exposed to Arapaho: 4 ( one ewe lamb did not cycle)
Ewes lambing Arapaho lambs: 3
Total Lambs born: 3 (all singles)
Ram lambs: 2, Ewe lambs: 1
All three lambs solid black

lambing percent 75%

Wintertime Blues (Jazz's twin brothers) x shelteringpines Nirvana gave me twin girls (both are going to be horned like their mother) and i'm very happy with these girls. Thank you Stephen!

The AI group had 100% conception and we had 17 lambs born with 14 rams. I am keeping all three ewes (two F1 Orion modified moorits and one F1 Holly fawn katmoget smirslet). There will be rams for sale this fall after micron testing.

Total lamb cound is 43 lambs born with 40 surviving giving us 134% lambing percent of lambs born. Average lambing weight was 6.57 pounds with the largest being 11 pounds (BFL lamb) and smallest a preemie baby stillborn at 3 pounds.

I have decided that most likely all ram lambs born from Barish, Arapaho and Jazz will be for sale if they are deemed breeding quality. Some of the AI lambs will also be available later so do let me know if there is one you are looking at. The first deposit down on a lamb will guarantee that it is yours :) That is....if its for sale :) (and makes the breeding cut!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photos of the gulmoget ewe's lambs

Ok read the title again..


they are NOT gulmoget ewe lamb, but lambs of the gulmoget ewes :)

I'm tricky like that!

The first photo is of FirthofFifth Taika (Wintertime Black Forrest x FirthofFifth Twiling) and her daughter WhitePine Talitha (who is out of FirthofFifth Barish AI). I love the dark kat markings on her.
She KNOWS she is a cutie :) Just look at her thinking about what to do NEXT!
Here is Black Forest Tilly (full sister to Taika from a different year) and her daughter WhitePine Terah. she has about 20+ white hairs on her head...but don't think that constitutes spotting?
A nicely put together ewe lamb who I am just going to have to keep and see how she grows ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

God doesn't want me to have gulmogets!

Well Tilly lambed tonight.

As you may have guessed from the title, she didn't give me my moorit gulmoget ewe lamb :( But she did give me a EWE at least!! :) :) :) :D :D

But it is solid black!!. She was bred to UnderTheSon Arapaho an F2 Orion so she does carry moorit, and her fleece is very even and crimpy so that looks promising. But come ON!!!

Of the three gulmoget ewes i have:

Galina gave me a black krunet ram lamb

Taika gave me a gray katmoget ewe lamb

Tilly gave me a black ewe lamb

what are the odds? Well yes, 50:50 chance but for all three? Maybe some things are just not meant to happen!!

Photos tomorrow

Grass Hay

What kind of grass hay do you buy? Cheap? Wrong answer!! :)

I'm curious to see what kinds of grasses in your area you are feeding both in the pasture and in your hay. My dad seeded oats in a 20 acre field and i promtly followed him with a grass seeder that had 4 kinds of grass in it: Ryegrass, Bluegrass, Timothy and Brome. The label says "HORSE PASTURE MIX" but its not like the horsepasture mix we used in the new 3 acre 'pasture' we are fencing in. That horse pasture mix had orchard grass, clover and a bit of alfalfa also.

What are the maximum amounts of alfalfa that your sheep get? Do they really need it? What grass is best for them and which is the first they eat (if it is different from what is best for them) I know kids would rather eat candy than veggies but that doesn't make them better for you :)

My dad was calling me Johnny Grass Seed instead of Johnny Appleseed....i laughed..but do you get it? we are an odd bunch.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shearing...ah yes.

This is the third year I have shorn my sheep. Well, I didn't do it, the sheep shearer did. After having sheared June 9th the 1st year, May 26th the second year and May 8th the third year, I can say that I have learned A LOT this year from shearing.

ONE HUNDRED THANK YOUS to Brian Fitzpatrick for accepting the duties of shearing my sheep. Many shearers are leery of doing wool breed sheep, especially Shetlands and Icelandics. He admitted that these single coated shetlands were much easier to shear than the double coated ones and he said a month ago he had done quite a few shetlands and that they were terribly hard to shear. This gentleman has done literally 30,000 sheep+ and was VERY patient with each animal and carefully set them up and didn't push the blade or ever raise his voice like the last shearer. He took about five hours to do 56 sheep (3 of them were NOT mine) and the BFLs sheared much faster than the Shetlands on average.

I learned that there are some ewes that I have that are tough to shear.....either they have loose skin and that makes it easier to knick them or they have an extremely lanolin heavy fleece and its hard to get the blades through. There was one who was just a nightmare to shear (IMHO) but he took his time and gave her the benefit of the doubt. He told me that these things like loose skin and heavy lanolin are genetic. He also said that my ewes were only mostly 'gummy' on the bellies...he said that is from the lanolin loosening up and moving down to where gravity takes it....the belly. He said that he thought it was a good time NOW to shear them when he was doing the white ewes. The gray katmogets and blacks were most difficult on the bellies. he said partly becuase its harder to see where skin and fleece meet, but mostly because they seemed to have the most lanolin.

He thinks that next year I should shear before lambing so I can see condition better, udders and vulvas, and that the lanolin wouldn't be interferring with the shearing of the belly wool (although it hardly slowed him down any)

Below is Brian hard at work on the ram WhitePine Lyons. Brian was so good with every one of the sheep and was just a joy to watch work.
Below is my dad with the all important part of labeling bags with the proper names and picking up the fleece after Brian was done shearing. My job was to collect the ewes and bring them to Brian. Lambo gave me a huge wallop in the much my ear whistled for awhile :)

My neighbor who is my vet bought two ewes from me last year. One was a bottle lamb I raised (the black one below) and the other was from Mary Ellen's. The ram was also a Mary Ellen lamb. They both lambed this year ...single rams...both ag like their dad....but both spotted! the black ram lamb out of the balck ewe has a krunet and the black HST lamb out of the HST moorit ewe. He will fade however. She already banded them and I couldn't catch them or they would have been in the photo below :) LOOK AT ALL THAT FLEECE! Surely the most fleece that was shorn off of individual sheep! Mary Ellen's two look HUGE with all that fleece but were not so huge once shorn. I asked her what she fed them. She said that they ate a lot of the pig food that the potbelly pigs are supposed to eat (apparently they share a pen). I told her to STOP feeding the sheep pig food and stop housing them together :) We shall see how that happens.

And I forgot to post photos of the lamb that was rejected, but now momma loves him so much! He is out of UndertheSon Arapaho and WhitePine Centennial. So far he is my nicest black ram lamb (in part to his awesome mother) and very consistent fleece. And he calls to me when he sees me...I think I imprinted on him when I was trying to help him nurse...but he always fought me saying he could do it himself and find it himself ;) cute little rascal!

now THIS is uber crimp!! He is already soft, but aren't ALL lambs soft? :) :) >:)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Shearing is done and another lamb!

Well shearing is done! And WHILE we were shearing I knew Taika looked 'fishy' and before you know complete silence, she lambed a beautiful EWE lamb! But not a gulmoget :( But a katmoget :)

Our neighbor who is my vet had her three shetlands also shorn that I had sold her last summer. It was fun to compare them to mine and I have so much to say about shearing but I am just SO tired!! It will have to wait until tomorrow when I find the time!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Most of the Lamb Stats from 2009

Well I'm back home from work. Talk about gale force winds! I'm trying to do 'spring clean ups' and the way the wind is blowing I don't even need my backpack leaf blower as they are all blowing away! I'll have to work fast tomorrow when the winds have died down and before the shearer comes!

I wanted to do lambing stats as while I sat watching the lambs in the pasture I noticed LOTS of katmogets :)

Here are the stats so far:

Rams- 25
Ewes- 15

Gray Katmogets - 6 rams, 6 ewes
Fawn Katmogets - 2 rams, 2 ewes
White - 2 rams
Ag - 2 rams (both musket, one HST)
Solid black (including shaela/emsket) - 9 rams, 4 ewes
Solid moorit (including fawn/mioget) - 4 rams, 2 ewes

No spotting is accounted for as I have some that are wildly HST marked down to just a few white hairs atop their head.

Oh and one BFL natural colored ewe (that is where the 15th ewe lamb comes from!)

Goals are always changing

When I first got my Shetlands as you know from previous posts it was for Sadie and Oliver to herd. Let's skip forward until after first year of lambing. I was hooked! I then searched for Shetlands in what I thought I wanted: spots, katmogets, gulmogets, Ag, white, etc etc. I wanted a couple of everything and since we have the land to have them, I figured why not? I got sheep from fine fleeced farms, from spotted farms, from conformationally perfect farms and then started looking at the flock as a whole. Not a lot of the sheep looked the same. Some I liked their heads better, others their ear sets, some their tails and still others with their 'four-square' body stance. I've been going along with all of these sheep and first and foremost choose fleece and its fineness as #1 priority. Ever heard the 'build the house before you paint it"? I want sound animals with fine fleece. Fine not according to my own touch but by companies that test for it. As an extra tool to use when trying to decide who stays and who goes its amazing that nearly all of my primitive and intermediate fleeced sheep are gone as are most of my spots. Now this isn't meant to slam any one farm but to show you that while the sheep may be structurally wonderful or pleasing to the eye, they didn't have my #1 priority. Fine Fleece.

Sure sure we can always get the fleece right? IF so, why doesn't everyone have that? Average breed micron is 23. I think my average is like 27! How about yours? And do you have mostly yearlings and two year olds? or mature ewes? That makes a big difference.

I have about 10 ewes that will be available for sale July 1st. Now these animals have nice fleeces if you consider most flocks out there but they are not my best fleeced, although some of them are my most spotted or nicest conformed or most perfect 'typey' head. But my priorities must be to ever improving my flock to my priorities and that means some serious culling and some hard decisions. If I didn't have the micron tests to look at, I probably wouldn't have made it this far. And I wouldn't have ever bought or kept these ewes had I not seen a lot of merit in them. So for now, they do not have what I am looking for, but that doesn't mean they can't for you :) Please inquire!

My first spring with the Shetlands I purchased a LOT of sheep. My second spring even more. I did buy a lot, but I needed the different patterns and markings and colors before I started heavily culling out. This year I didn't plan on buying ANY sheep but thanks to my odds of not getting the few things I did want....I have a list of things I am still lacking. Several wonderful ewes have presented themselves available and I'm foolish to not acquire them. But again that means heavier culling here.

I have the ideal Shetland in my mind and I can see it. And I think I'm pretty close, but need a few components yet. With one of the larger flocks out there I like to have as much diversity as I can in spots and patterns and colors, while still maintaining my goals of fine fleeces.

still nothing

I haven't posted new lambs photos because there are not new lambs! I just can't believe it myself! Last night I did THREE barn checks b.c. I knew for sure they would lamb then with all the pre-labor signs but still nothing. I think I'm going to let them into the huge pasture and have the dogs chase them...perhaps induce labor? Then again I DO want LIVE lambs so maybe shouldn't do that....

Will keep you posted :)

I want to be done lambing!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The last three holdouts

Lambing is nearly done here but the last three hold outs are driving me bonkers!

Minwawe Sterling, a plain black krunet ewe gave me Sedalia last year when bred to Jazz. Anyone who has been following this blog knows that Sedalia was my diamond in the ruff last year...not only single coated and my softest/finest microned ewe lamb ever, but also was spotted....smirslet sokket gray katmoget with a white tail. I repeated the breeding hoping for another Sedalia.....and naturally Sterling is holding out on me.

FirthofFifth Taika is a black gulmoget with an intermediate fleece and the side dusting. She didn't lamb as a yearling and I didn't think she was even bred this year but it appears her udder is really starting to blossom. She is bred to FifthofFifth Barish with the hopes of getting solid sided gulmoget lambs :) I wouldn't be disappointed with a gul/kat either as Barish is a Katmoget. Naturally of course she is one of the last holdouts teasing me. The lambs will be black based as Barish is homozygous black and Taika could also be. I'm sure i'll just get a black ram lamb as that is entirely possible but I'm hoping Taika produces a gullie as that would make up for her free ride last year :)

Black Forest Tilly is a full sister to Taika from last year. She has minimal side dusting and is bred to UnderTheSon Arapaho. Im not sure if Tilly carries moorit but its a possibility. I was hoping with the three girls i put in with Arapaho i'd get some moorit based lambs but unfortunately not so far (two black ram lambs so far from him) and i'm really hoping for a moorit gulmoget ewe...she is my only chance of one. And since that is what I'm waiting for...naturally she is holding out as well. They are making me wait! I thought for sure Tilly would go last night. She's be irritable (as has Sterling) and both have had their tails flagged for days......

And I didn't think Castle Rock would lamb so soon as I pegged her for my finale, but she had other intentions I guess :)

Off to work! Hopefully when I made a noon check there is something out there! (think all ewe lambs!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Photos of said lambs

Above is the newest addition to White Pine Shetlands! SHE is a gray katmoget out of FirthofFifth Barish F1 Timothy and WhitePine Castle Rock (F2 Jericho F3 Minder). CR is being a good momma and the babe is just as cute as a button. Interestingly enough she has the exact same birth coat as her mom did just a year ago.

This is Minwawe Flopsy's ram lamb out of Wintertime Jazz. I've named him WhitePine Fortunatus (in line with the Biblical naming theme this year) He carries moorit and carries spotting. He is 44% UK and is F2 Jericho. Look as his yummy fleece!

And my spottiest girl of the season (always holding out until late in the season mind you) WhitePine Faith. What is her head marking? a large krunet? A very round smirlset? Cute white tail and 4 white socks!
I love the way the white spot and the katmoget markings play off of each other :)
She is already a sassy pants girl :) She is my favorite spotty of the year (after suzanne's of course) and will give Sedalia a run for money I bet! However.......Sedalia's mom.....Sterling still has to we could have another 'wow' factor baby like Sedalia....

Only three ewes left to lamb!! One each bred to Jazz, Barish and Arapaho...stay tuned!

Whilst I was away....

So I left Friday around 2pm to go to the groom's supper and rehearsal...then a night out on the town....I think we got back around 3;30 AM? I typically get up around 6 or 630 so this was very not like me NOW, but was very like me say a decade ago :)

My dad and mom weren't leaving until Saturday morning sometime so I asked dad if he wouldn't mind tying up the ewe that didn't want her lamb. I left her tied up with the halter and then tied her around her belly like Suzanne instructed me in the last post. it worked! I didn't have to stand there and watch. I told dad to untie her from the position before he left and the babe would have to just wait until I got home.

Well the wedding was yesterday at 330pm and then supper and such at 7pm. dance started at 8 but geez I was extremely tired and still very hung over. ahem. so yes. I did have a good time. But I was worried about the little lamby. So I decided to NOT drink after supper and rehydrate further and drive home last night. I left around 10:30 or so and was home by midnight. I ran to the barn and there before my disbelief was the little 'rejected' lamb nursing on his momma! and she wasn't tied and was sniffing him and letting him nurse! WOHOO!!

Dad had mentioned one of my last 5 ewes to lamb had had twins but couldn't tell me sexes or colors so I was able to see that Minwawe Flopsy a solid moorit, carrying spots gave me a smirslet/krunet/sokket with a white tail EWE lamb (oh and she was also katmoget!!) and a gray katmoget ram lamb. I was really surprised actually by the way the fleeces were. VERY crimpy and look to be single coated. No birth coat straight hair. .....At all....I was very proud of flopsy!! Good job momma!

Nothing else had lambed while I was away. I got to bed about 2am and up at 8am to find that WhitePine Castle Rock (Jazz x Chloe from last year) had give me a gray katmoget EWE lamb out of FirthofFifth Barish! WOHOO!! Castle Rock is the twin sister to the ewe who was rejecting her lamb...and fortunately Castle Rock was being a very good momma and licking her babe and calling for her.

I need to get photos now!

And the gimpy, hip out of socket girl was sleeping with her legs bent and against her body when I got there this morning...she was standing and walking normally. Perhaps her muscles tightened and her hip naturally came back together? I'm going to have the vet check her out when she gets here!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remember dog friends...I have a dog blog now!

For those that missed the post a week ago about my dog can find it several places on the links on the right side of this blog.

I'm in a wedding this weekend...wish me luck ;)

Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...