Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hey a PHOTO!

I went out and tried to point and shoot with my digital camera. There is still no screen but I'm sick of not being able to take photos to add to my blog :)

Needless to say I took over 200 and only had ONE that I thought was nice enough to share. So here you are!

2010 Simmental Calves that I retained!
In the front and center is my only UK semen heifer calf born this year, Inga. The Red/White baldy in the back of her is the UK semen bull I kept, Drexell. The yellow spotted/baldy calves on either side of him are from the 1980's old US semen. Their entire structure, hair and look is totally reminiscent of the super tall, long legged, skinny bodies of all beef breeds in the US during that phase. The British calves are much stockier and have curly winter coats like the original Simmental. I hope to be able to save the yellow color and the spotted pattern using both lines and blending them.

The light red goggle faced heifer is from my own lines of US and Canadian bulls that I hope to also blend with the old and 'new' semen so I can continue to save the old light red, yellow and spotted markings that were the Simmental breed here just a decade or so ago and still can be found all over Europe.

We'll see what happens....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lack of snow = ewes and cows for sale!

Due to the lack of snow (we have maybe 4 inches of snow) and having missed five of the last 6 storms that brought FEET of snow here to Minnesota, I need to sell some ewes and cows to pay for my bills.

I wanted to let those of you who leased ewes from me, the option of purchasing the ewes first.

Also I will have several other ewes available.....of course with me kicking and screaming....but bills must be paid!

All ewes are blood tested negative several times for OPP, Johnes, CL and Blue Tongue. Several years of micron tests also available. UTD on vaccination and worming.

I will sell TWO Simmental cows, that are bred to a Red Angus bull (calves would make great steaks! I'm just sayin'!) Callie and Rena are both traditional Simmental (red and spotted) and are regsitered with the American Simmental Association. Proven mothers. I'm asking $1500.00 for each cow. Both have daughters that I have retained in the herd, and thus are available. Both are in their prime years for calving!

I also have several straws of British Simmental semen available to anyone interested in using some of the first UK semen to enter the US for Simmental!

Once I have finalized for sure who is available, I will try and collect photos of them. If pick up is not an option until spring, a small boarding fee would be added to the price.

Please inquire

Monday, December 13, 2010

Breeding Groups and Sheep Breeding

Yesterday I put the clean up ram WhitePine Caiphas (F1 Holly horned gray katmoget) in with all the Shetland mature ewes. Having never been with ewes before and nearly two years of age I didn't know if he'd know enough to breed anyone, but within moments WhitePine Naomi was batting her eyelashes and standing for him. I've never witnessed a mating between sheep before. I honestly thought the up until now that the stork brought them as I never witnessed it.

Now I know why!

It lasted an entire 5 seconds, twice. Last year Naomi was a lamb and she didn't cycle apparently when I had her in with her ram of my choosing. Not odd as many lambs don't cycle at all their first year, or cycle late. This year she was with Barnabas, but apparently she is a slow/late cycler again and so now I'll have a May lamb for sure. Yippee.

I was unable to find a way to the Bluff Country to pick up another Texel ram so my 5 mules and one unregistered Shetland ewe, and the three mule ewe lambs that were to go with him I finally just put in with Burma the NC BFL and the 10 BFL ewes. If my white BFL ram lamb Wycliffe missed anyone in the purebred BFL group, Burma will get them, along with the mules and crosses. Better late than never. And no Texel crosses for next year, but I'll make sure to be better prepared then.

I had separated out the Shetland ewe lambs in to two groups today. Breedable size and 'too small to compete today' size. I was going to put my other F1 Holly, a bielset moorit smooth polled ram lamb named Ludacris in with the larger sized girls, but then decided reasonably that I am crazy to want 10-15+ more ewes lambing in MAY after my initial 65+ in March/April and then the Burma group later. Reason finally won over.

I really wanted the Brits to see lambs out of the F1's and may change my mind tomorrow but if I don't decide soon, it will be way too late and I don't want tiny lambs come next fall that I can't breed or sell that are of any iffy size.

Always rambling. And still waiting for snow here in the deeply frozen MN country.

9:20 AM and -18 degrees without windchill

Its cold enough that when you walk outside the corner of the eyelids start to freeze up!

And although there is an 'urban legend' going around Oregon that because they are "so cold" there that their fleeces become double coated and longer than 7".

That silly myth surely was proved erroneous here in Minnesota these past few weeks! Our frost is nearly down 6 FEET already, with the limited snow we've had. The Shetlands, Cattle and dogs are not growing longer wool/hair or going double coated on me in any stretch of the imagination. The last photos I saw of a friend's blog they had green grass in Oregon right now....surely not as cold as Minnesota's deep freeze that we've had the past month or so.

Nope. I'm pretty sure the longer fleeces are genetic. For the better or the worse, its genetic and not due to the weather.

I'm not slamming that 'type' of fleece, just merely debunking that silly myth.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A link

My friend Philp Cowan was made the Featured Student of the Month at his University over in the UK.

Its worth a read and shows a photo of one his pedigreed Shetland Sheep that he showed this year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ewe lambs I am overwintering for evaluation

Grab some coffee or tea.....this is a long post!

For those that forgot, I did a second round of AI in the fall of 2009. I was much happier with the amount of ewe lambs I got and therefore have more to retain over the winter. I'm pretty blown away by this years' consistency overall for the lambs both from AI and ground breedings. Tails, feet and legs and overall structure and breed type are getting more 'set in stone' as much as they can for such a diverse breed.

Since I am striving for the SSS approved Shetlands that adhere to both the 1927 Standard and Appendix A, these ewe lambs I am quite hopeful would pass inspection both in structure and fleece, as well as breed type and their respective micron results. They are almost all consistent from front to rear with little britch wool.

Since I still don't have a camera I'll just have to describe the lambs :)

AI ewe lambs:

WhitePine Shakira - 62.5 % UK - fawn F1 Orion out of WhitePine Skor (shaela). She will have a longer staple length of 5-6" at shearing with some nice crimp coming in at the skin level.

WhitePine Auburn - 59% UK - moorit krunet F1 Orion out of FirthofFifth Ashanti. A very refined and feminine ewe lamb who is a lovely dark red at the skin level. Very consistent fleece with the typically perfect fluke shaped tail and breed type of the SSS type Shetlands.

WhitePine Adele - 59% UK - fawn F1 Orion out of FirthofFifth Ashanti. (twin to ewe lamb above). She is identical to her sister except in color.

WhitePine Rihanna - 65.5% UK - white mirkface F1 Jamie out of FirthofFifth Rahu. She is built like a brick house! Appropriate width of loin, perfectly straight hind quarters with the epitome of a perfect tail (IMHO!). Her fleece is a bit of a more bold crimp typical of the Bramble Connor lines and her build is very much a Bramble look, with of course much help coming from Jamie's perfect conformation. She's one of my bigger girls and I'm looking forward to putting her in with a clean up ram in a few weeks (call me crazy now and later please!). She was my last Jamie straw so she is very special to me!

WhitePine Cascada - 65.5% UK - Fawn Moget Face (Ag katmoget) F1 Minder out of Justalit'l Chloe. My only Minder ewe lamb! Her birth coat was not exciting, but she is getting a lovely crimp at the skin level. She had body spotting at birth.

WhitePine Blu Cantrell - 62.5% UK Gray katmoget smirslet F1 Jericho out of Justalit'l Black Lambo. Her fleece will be a longer 5-6" at shearing. She is a big girl out of a 9 year old ewe. She's very tame and I love her dark blue fleece.

WhitePine Aaliyah - 76.5% UK Gray Katmoget smirslet F1 Jericho out of FirthofFifth Ashegon. Aaliyah is very typical of the UK katmogets with the dark katmoget markings, the dark blue fleece and she carries moorit! AND has a huge black spot on her rear. She's very feminine and dainty like her mother was at this same age.

WhitePine Nivea - 68%UK Gray kagmoget bleset sokket F1 Jericho out of ShelteringPines Nirvana. I didn't try for spots but this ewe lamb sure got my attention as a lamb! Not only her spots but her fleece, her conformation (her dam is also spot on for this) and her breed type!

WhitePine Nina Sky - 68%UK gray katmoget F1 Jericho out of Nirvana too (twin to Nivea). She is identical to her sister minus the spots. She has a smirslet on her face but it has since faded away as she has aged. Both have lovely bright eyes that draw you in when you see them.

WhitePine Colby Caliagh - 79.5% UK - black F1 Timothy out of WhitePine Centennial. Cute as a button, breed type, perfect ear set and tail with less crimp which I've found is typical of the Timothy line. With her dam's pedigree she should throw some dynamite lambs herself.

Ground Bred lambs:
WhitePine Eiffel 65 - 61% UK gray katmoget smirslet flecket sokket F2 Jericho out of Jazz and Sommarang Emerald. Spots and spots galore! She is a vast improvement on her mother and i'm tickled to see how this Jazz daughter matures.

WhitePine Ciara - 58% UK - white out of WhitePine Roman (F1 Orion) x WhitePine CastleRock (F2 Jericho). She is a knock out ewe lamb and am happy I have a white F2 Orion ewe with Jericho genetics. Her mom was highly improveable and I should have held on to her instead of selling her.

WhitePine Beyonce - fawn 62.5% UK - double F2 Orion (White Pine Ephraim x WhitePine Bethany). The best UK fleece ewe lamb I have seen yet. Gorgeous fawn color like her mother she is just as nice as her mother is and I'm excited to breed her to the Jamie line of moorits to tease out that lovely dark moorit color of his.

WhitePine Sarai - 53%UK gray katmoget F2 Jamie F3 Jericho (WhitePine Levi x WhitePine Sedalia). Gorgeous crimp, perfect conformation, possible poll carrier. I'm glad Michelle decided NOT to take her.....she's pretty awesome :)

WhitePine Norah Jones - 62%UK gray katmoget F2 Jamie F3 Jericho (WhitePine Levi x WhitePine Neriah). I'd say she is very much like Sarai but more refined. her katmoget fleece is nearly black at the skin when parted she is so dark! I'm in love with this girl too.

WhitePine Dido - 50% UK gray katmoget by WhitePine Levi out of Sommarang Eva. Gorgeous blue fleece that is really crimpy. Structurally correct and just as nice as her twin sister below.

WhitePine Des'ree - 50%UK black smislet twin to above ewe lamb. Non fading black with excellent structure and very crimpy fleece. I'm excited to see how these twins produce.

WhitePine Robyn - 67.5% UK white out of Jazz by WhitePine Rush (F2 Orion). A different kind of crimp, not as tightly crimped but from a wonderful pedigree. She may be sold to a newer family who bought her half sister and aunt (its confusing yes). If she doesn't go, she will make a great addition to my flock.

Black Forest Tokhara - fawn out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Towanda. She has a slightly longer staple with nice crimp at the skin. Lovely breed type and structure.

Black Forest Tersk - fawn gulmoget to Tokhara. Same kind of fleece and structure. I'm tickled to have a gullie of the moorit persuasion :)

Black Forest Andalusian - EMSKET smirslet out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Anki. Longer fleece staple with amazing conformation. I'm excited she's emsket!

Black Forest Azteca - Emsket out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Agio. Shorter fleece than her half sister but ever so nice. A bit more refined but has the lovely bluish color that I've been after in an emsket.

FirthofFifth Basotho - gray katmoget out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Blottir. A nice big girl who again has a slightly longer fleece with lovely crimp at the skin. She is Forrest/Orion bloodline and is very unrelated to the katmogets of the Jericho line that I have so that is also a bonus.

Now I"ll be quizzing you in the next blog so please make sure you studied up :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ram lambs that I am overwintering

After the three previous culls I have retained animals that I think will be well used in my future breeding goals. These rams are from mostly UK lines (rams that follow the SSS ram inspection protocol and the 1927 Breed Standard and Appendix A) and are diverse as the day is long (summer days mind you!). Horns, patterns, pedigree, staple length etc. With the yearlings and mature rams I have kept, I think I'm sitting pretty good right now :) Photos when I get a digital camera!

WhitePine Ludacris. 67% UK. Smooth Polled red moorit bielset (tiny strand of white fibers completely around his neck) Greenholme Holly x River Oaks Lucy (Holly and Dillon lines). He is a half brother to Levi and he is every bit as nice as Levi. I will be using him heavily in the 2011 breeding season.

WhitePine Click Five. 65.6%UK. Homozygous Fawn Katmoget. Had body spotting and smirslet at birth. Shirehill Minder x Justalit'l Chloe (Bartok daughter, so F2 Minder herself). I have no idea when I'll ever use a homozygous katmoget ram but by gosh is this ram impressive! I hated his birth fleece by he soon shed that for an extremely crimpy UK style fleece that just begs to be touched. Perfect horns, tail and conformation, I love everything about him except that he is Ab/Ab!

WhitePine Flo Rida. 72% UK. Gray Katmoget smirslet. Greenholme Holly x ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis. His conformation and lock structure are just simply amazing. They've been my favorite of the ram lambs since birth. He is Ab/Aa and could carries moorit. Unfortunately he is a gray katmoget. There is no other fault I can give him and that is really a weak one. I don't care about pattern. Too much :)

WhitePine Maxwell. 91% UK. mioget smirslet scurred ram. Heights Orion x OwlHill Miss Lilly (F1 Holly, F2 Orion etc). Gorgeous fleece, wonderful structure and a very respectful yet curious personality. He'll be wintered over in hopes of possibly using him in 2011. I love that he is modified, but also still wanting some nice red moorits in the flock too.

WhitePine City High. 83% UK. Gray Katmoget long scurs. Heatheram Lightning x FirthofFifth Koosi (F1 Jericho F3 Minder etc). Fleece is very uniform and dense, crimpy and butter soft. He is Ab/Aa and maybe carries moorit. His body structure is perfect in every instance. Lovely square back end, wide loin, perfect fluke shape tail, masculine face. His downfall is that he has long scurs that will need to be trimmed. These are not typical fatal horns, but since his mother has now proven she carries polled through her mother's side, I will keep them trimmed and see what his fleece results come back as. He is my only F1 Lightning and while I will not breed with bad horns, he does give a unique outcross for people breeding for polled.

WhitePine Morrison. 42%UK fawn. WhitePine Ephraim AI (F1 Orion) x ShelteringPines Myra (Starry Night x Morgan Le Fey). Moorison's greatest assest is his staple length. I hope that I can use him to continue to use my shorter stapled sheep but have a 'go to' ram that will 'correct' the ones that get a bit too short (under 2" according to the Appendix A). Perfect horns and conformation he is the only ram lamb I kept out of my ground breedings from 2010. That is saying something! He showed nicely at Jefferson this year and is a very calm soul.

FirthofFifth Kiso. Scurred Fawn Katmoget. WhitePine Eprhaim AI (F1 Orion) x FirthofFifth Kamachariy (Forrest x Koosi). Kiso was the chosen ram lamb from Cynthia's final year breeding Shetlands. He is inquisitive, calm, respectful, structurally on point, fleece is amazing and I hope to use him on some of my Levi kids next fall. He really is an amazing ram lamb.

Besides these 7 ram lambs, I am keeping
WhitePine Caiphas (horned gray kat F1 Holly)
WhitePine Christian (horned black ram F2 Orion F3 Jericho)
ShelteringPines Veni (horned gray kat F2 Jericho)
WhitePine Barnabas (horned mioget kat F1 Orion F2 Timothy)
WhitePine Roman (horned white F1 Orion)
WhitePine Levi (smooth polled F1 Jamie black krunet)
FirthofFifth Nekomis (horned gray kat F2 Jericho F3 Timothy)
Wintertime Jazz (horned spotted gray kat F1 Jericho F2 Drum Ram etc)

Sounds like a lot, but this way I won't need to buy another ram for awhile or do AI! :) Thank goodness for the new ram pastures!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real Farming....

Today I took 25 sheep to the local auction. Prices were 96.00/cwt - 170.00/cwt so it was a mixed bag. Its not a typical place for sheep buyers so didn't think the prices were going to be as high as say some of the auction barns that sell sheep by the thousands every week. I was happy with the prices and even happier that I don't have to feed 2.5 bales more a day now!

In any real farm situation where money is ultimately whether we keep the farm or not..... I culled several ewes with mastitis that i shipped, ewes that were old, ewes that didn't have the fleece type I preferred, ewes that sheared terribly every year (due to thin skin, not the rise). I sold rams with bad horns, one had a bad bite, one had one nut, several were extremely cow hocked, etc.

For anyone who thinks I am only breeding for fine fleece can think again! Conformation and temperament, breed type and all the primitive traits that we all love are also top notch. But for every single virtue, there cannot be a major fault and so culling exists. Its part of life.

So do you think that by having all these things 'pop up' in my breeding program make me a bad shepherd? In the least! With 175+ lambs born this spring, I am bound to find things like these things. It happens. And by culling them out, I hope to not see them expressed any time soon :)

I've now made three rounds of culls. First the obvious culls went. Then the ones that I knew would never 'turn out' in to what I had hoped for went. Then the ones with one major fault that I just couldn't over look.

My flock is by far better off now after these three culls than I can ever remember. I will be wintering over 18 rams (three BFL and one Texel and the rest Shetlands). Most are F1s or certainly F2s. I will have around 100 ewes and ewe lambs wintered over. The highest yet, but also the highest quality. I'm quite excited to see what my commercial ewes and my purebred ewes produce.

I'm taking in 6 lambs to butcher for myself and Adam to feed us over the winter. 2 Texel cross (over Shetland Mules and Shetland-Cheviot ewes), 2 BFL purebred, and 2 Shetland purebred. I"m going to put a T, B or S on the packages so I know if the flavor really is so different between the breeds and will be able to better promote my meat to my friends and neighbors. I already have a waiting list for brats, leg of lamb, steaks and chops and lamb burger! COOL!

A few more days of work and I"ll be able to breathe and catch up. No snow yet!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lease option a huge success!

Needless to say all of my ewes that I offered for lease with one exception are now leased to others for the breeding season!

It was so popular that I don't have a single ewe to put with the BFL for mules! WOW!

Thank you to everyone who took up this crazy new idea of mine and I appreciate your trust and beliefs in my breeding program here with my current line up of rams and ewes! I look forward eagerly to see what lambs are produced with your choices!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breeding groups in and ramblings!

Every year my lambing dates have to be around the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America's National Specialty. I am usually gone for 10-12 days that include the days spent driving. This year it is in Houston Texas and I am planning on doing agility and rally with Sadie and conformation shows with Ell, Ava, Ballantyne and maybe even Brewer. But this is not a dog blog so I'll end that here :)

The BFL ram lamb Wycliffe was put in with all 10 ewes on Sunday the 10th. All of the Shetlands were put in their groups this evening after work. I of course did a few last minute additions. :)

ShelteringPines Nessebar (ShelteringPines Starry Night x ShelteringPines Morgan Le Fey) was put in with FifthofFifth Nekomis.

WhitePine Skor (FirthofFifth Telmo Don Bourbon x FirthofFifth Assam Meleng) a shaela, was put in with WhitePine Levi. Skor 'COULD' carry polled, but I really was wanting some more solid colored lambs that weren't patterned :)

Lambs 'could' start March 9th but of course give or take a few days. I'm hoping to have them in with the rams for only 29 days.

While I was sorting through the ewe lambs (over 30 of them) I found it more and more difficult to decide who stays. Some were longer legged and longer bodied. Some were shorter legged, wider and more stout. All the fleeces were great on the ewe lambs I'm retaining.

Some of the ewe lambs are too small to even consider breeding, and I hate to even think of breeding MORE than the 30+ ewes especially considering I personally don't need more than what I have ;)

But I see the fleeces on these ewe lambs and I melt. Some are very UK crimp already 3"+, others are crimpy at the base but have more tip and are already 4-5".

I'm pretty sure none of the ewe lambs will cycle early, but the desire to see results faster with these F1 ewe lambs or double F2 ewe lambs is really tempting me. And not all of the girls, but just the biggest ones.

My digital camera screen is still broken. It still takes photos but its almost like an old 35mm camera. You don't know what it looks like until you go tot he house to develop them. And trying to get a single good photo of a sheep is nearly impossible WITH a screen that works! I need to get a new camera...they keep getting better and cheaper at the same time! I need to take photos. You guys would all love what you see!

The Texel and his ewes will go in this weekend. Same for Burma and the Shetland ewes to make mules.

Enough for now!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What in the heck have I been up to?

My time since Jefferson has been a blur. Lots of work with the landscaping and constant lawn care (read mowing) due to our record rainfall this summer with nice cool temps for the BlueGrass to grow.

I've also had a roommate since the end of August named Adam. He's from Milwaukee and a total city slicker. He's very eager to learn and loves the farm. He came with to the Jefferson show and helped me show the BFLs, Mules and the Shetlands. He also helps me get my every increasing list of things "TO DO" around the farm somewhat back in check. He's a Godsend. I'm very blessed to have his help and eagerness to learn. It makes farming that much more fun when you have someone to share it with :)

Most evenings after he gets off of work we tend to tackle projects. This past weekend we fenced in a several acre pasture for the rams. Its split down the middle so I can move them between pens. My current ram pen is ridiculously small in comparison and I'm eager to get the few boys I'm retaining and not using this fall over to that pen. I just need to put up the gates and their panel shelter and it'll be ready! Projects go so much faster when I have help that is ambitious!

Having a roommate to chill with, cook with, eat with, b.s. with, getting projects done outside, house projects etc. hasn't given me a lot of time to 'talk sheep' to my sheep friends and for that I apologize. I'm not trying to ignore you, honest!

Jazz's breeding group

Wintertime Jazz AI (F1 Jericho) out of Whistlestop 0427 Izzy, is 87.5% UK. Ab/Aa, BB/BB, Ss/Ss. His 3rd fleece micron is still very respectable for North American Shetlands and well within breeding rights!

OwlHill Butter - musket - 82+% UK F2/F3 Orion, F2Greyling etc. Butter had a gorgeous musket smirslet sokket ewe lamb out of Shirehill Minder this year and I hope to breed magical lambs like her with Jazz.

WhitePine Charity - F2 Timothy F3 Jericho etc - gray katmoget (Barish x Castle Rock). This gorgeous katmoget girl is getting put to Jazz. He is her grandsire but I think this linebreeding will prove interesting. She could be Ab/Ab BB/BB but who cares when she's awesome! :)

Whistlestop Yuma - F2 Orion F2 Skeld F3/F3 Jings, F3 Drum Ram etc. 80%+ UK. She's a bigger girl who is fawn, very solidly built with a very dense fleece. I think I'll like these lambs. A lot.

WSR Alisa - moorit light badger face. 99% DOMESTIC. Alisa is the ultimate in what a domestic ewe can look like when bred with specific goals and to the standard. Her current fleece length is not any longer than my other kindly fleeced animals and looks a lot like what Bill Stearman has with his Dailley ewes that he has. I am hoping for fleece improvement first of all with this breeding but also hoping to tease out some LBF in the black colors as well. She's also a bigger girl and excited to see what she produces.

Other ewes getting bred to Jazz:

FirthofFifth Sukhada - black gulmoget (Forrest daughter)

Black Forest Tamarack - moorit gulmoget

Sommarang Emerald - black flecket

Wintertime Galina - black gulmoget

FirthofFifth Booto - fawn katmoget (F1 Timothy)

FirthofFifth Anki - smirslet black gulmoget

RYL Rachildas - white illget

WhitePine Candace - F1 Holly fawn katmoget smirslet

RiverOaks Eliza - white

WhitePine Eve - mioget F1 Orion

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nekmosis' breeding group

Nekomis is from Cynthia's farm. He is out of Jazz's twin brother Blues and Bramble Nadeen. He'll get a fair share of girls this fall as I'm really excited about using him on Jazz daughters down the road.

OwlHill Pranilla - F1 Greyling F2 Orion Gray (Ag) ewe. She carries moorit and solid and is 75% UK. She's fantastic.

FirthofFifth Rahu - Forrest daughter out of RYL Rachildas. She carries solid and is structurally on point. All her offspring are great. Her daughter this year out of Willowcroft Jamie is just breathtaking.

ShelteringPines Myra - Fawn katmoget (Sheltering Pines Starry Night x Canosia Farm May). She carries solid, modified and spots. Her offspring have been stellar. This pairing should not disappoint. Her only fault is her slighly longer tail (however still proportionate and fluke shaped)

WhitePine Salome - yuglet sokket horned black ewe. Jazz x Sheltering Pines Snow Cloud (Snowy daughter). Salome for a black really is amazing. And she's horned. And spotted. Such a diverse flock that I have.

WhitePine Terah - black. UnderTheSon Arapaho x Black Forest Tilly. Again for a black she is incredible. She carries moorit recessively. I'm hoping for solid lambs out of this pairing. Structure is awesome.

Whistlestop 0935(Xena) - white - F2 Ridland, F2 Skeld F3/F3 Jings F4 Gordon. She'll be bred to Nekomis. They are both shorter in leg but very stout animals (while still being fine boned and nimble). Excited to see what comes of this breeding.

Whistlestop 0914 (Zariah) - shaela- F2 Orion, F3 Drum Ram F3 Skeld. A super friendly, stucturally correct, larger ewe, this breeding should maybe tease out some solid lambs? Here's hoping.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barnabas' Breeding Group

Barnabas is a 76% UK F1 Orion F2 Timothy (and greyling waaaay back) out of FirthofFifth Booto. he is a mioget katmoget that carries spots. He wasn't used last year, but will get 9 ewes this fall. Perfect horns and conformation, he also is a mellow boy. Yes he's getting a lot of katmoget ewes. I don't care about the pattern! I just want nice fleece, nice conformation! pattern is so secondary!

RiverOaks Lucy. Yes she is a proven poll carrier. However both polled rams I have are her sons, so I'm going to breed her to Barnabas in hopes of getting a Aa/Aa EWE lamb! She hasn't given me a ewe or a katmoget yet, so we'll see what shakes out.

WhitePine Sedalia. Another favorite ewe. She's hard to fault. spotted. fine fleece. stellar conformation. tame. These lambs will be terrific.

WhitePine Rush. F2 Orion white ewe. her lamb out of Jazz this year was gorgeous, so i'm going to try to get something moorit based out of her this year with Barnabas.

Sommarang Eva. minder/timothy lines. gray katmoget. conformation is awesome. Fleece is lovely. I'm hoping to make it more fine by breeding her to this ram. Hoping she carries moorit!

WhitePine Faith - krunet sokket gray katmoget. Jazz daughter. she's a huge improvement on her mom Minwawe Flopsy. Faith carries moorit and has an ultra fine fleece. Conformation is wonderful.

White Pine Naomi - fawn katmoget - Blues x Nirvana. She's more stout than her twin or mother Neriah/Nirvana, but I love her look. Another great match i think.

ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis - smirslet gray katmoget. She was bred to Holly last year and to Jazz the year before. All her lambs are just awesome. Bred to Orion lines should be wonderful.

FirthofFifth Ashegon - moorit. This feminine girl is getting bred to Barnabas in hopes of solid moorit lambs. Their body style and type is similiar and She hasn't been bred to the Orion line yet. I'm eager to see what this breeding produces.

WhitePine Centennial. gray katmoget (Jazz x Chloe). She was bred to an F2 Orion two years ago which gave me a gorgeous black ram, and last year bred to Timothy gave me a gorgeous black ewe lamb. I know she carries moorit so third times is the charm!

Roman's breeding group

Roman is my F1 Orion yearling ram out of RYL Rachildas. He has the nicest fleece out of any of Rachildas' offspring here and he will be used on a select few girls. I'd use him much more but he IS white, and I don't want an entire white flock!

Sheltering Pines Nirvana - an Underhil Thelonius Monk daughter out of ShelteringPines Modron. Nirvana carries moorit, solid and spots. She is also horned. She's one of my favorite girls. Very improveable when bred to the Jericho lines. Conformation is spot on.

WhitePine Neriah - Nirvana's daughter out of Blues. Neriah was born spotted, not sure if she carries solid or moorit though. She was bred to Levi last year and she had a knock out ewe lamb (gray kat of course!)

WhitePine Festus - Jazz x Fleur De Lis - black krunet. She's a yearling black with great conformation. I'm hoping she carries moorit and Roman throws his moorit solid gene here too!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Polled Breeding Group plans

I am excited to use my F1 Jamie boy WhitePine Levi this fall on all the poll carrier and poll suspect ewes. Levi is a black krunet smooth polled ram out of Willocroft Jamie and River Oaks Lucy (Dillon and Holly lines). He is almost 64% UK, fine fleece, with good conformation and personality. Carries moorit and spots.

He will get:

FirthofFifth Koosi - F1 Jericho - gray katmoget. Koosi was bred to Heatheram Lightning last year and gave me a poll carrying ram lamb with long scurs. She is homozygous katmoget but carries moorit so could get either black or moorit based katmogets.

Justalit'l Black Lambo - (Holly and Timothy lines) - black ewe. Lambo has given her stamp to the breed with lots of descendants, and improvable fleece. She carries moorit and spots and has been bred in the past to Dillon, Orion and Jericho for AI. She has not dissappointed. Aa/Aa babies.

FirthofFifth Ashanti - moorit smirslet. She is a Forrest daughter out of Bramble ewe lines. This past fall I bred her to Orion and I got a gorgeous moorit krunet and a mioget. Both ewe lambs. I could get some pretty spotted babies (and Aa/Aa babies!)

OwlHill Miss Lilly - black ewe who carries spots. F1/F4 Holly F2 Orion. Lilly gave me a mioget smirslet ram lamb out of Orion this year. She is a proven poll carrier and I'm excited to see what Levi and her can produce. All Aa/Aa lambs.

WhitePine Bethany - F1 Orion fawn ewe. Bethany is Lambo's daughter and I'm eager to see what the Orion influence will do with Lambo's lineage. Again only Aa/Aa lambs.

FirthofFifth Blottir - gray katmoget. Another Forrest daughter who is half siblings with Barish and Booto on the dam's side. She may carry spots, modified and moorit but hard to say. Aa/Aa or Ab/Aa lambs.

FirthofFifth Kamacheriy - fawn katmoget. She really is my favorite ewe. Body capacity, structure, fleece. She was bred to Eprhaim this year and had a scurred ram lamb. She's a proven poll carrier and so Levi was an obvious choice. Another Forrest daughter out of Koosi, she also will be an exciting one to see bred to Levi.

FirthofFifth Agio - yuglet sokket black gulmoget. Sweet personality and dynamite fleece, this ewe really is perfection. Bred to Levi I can hardly wait to see what she has next spring.

I could put a lot of ewes with him just to improve conformational points, or fleece, but we'll use him just on poll carrier ewes this year and see what he produces. This last year he was used as a clean up ram and the lambs were structurally amazing, and most had wonderful fleeces.

Leasing Option

I decided that perhaps the ewes I weren't going to use personally would benefit others. I created a 'leasing option' for several ewes that would keep the ewes on my property. I would house them and feed them for the winter. At 12 weeks of age, the lambs would be picked up by the lease person(s) and the ewes would remain in my custody, both in physical self and by pedigreed ownership.

In essence you would be buying the lambs, regardless of the sex/color/number of them. This helps other breeders out without having to buy the ewe, and you can utilize my ram stock. This also helps me as I get to see if those breedings were beneficial and can use the ewes the following year based a lot on their offspring from this leasing agreement. This also maintains my OPP/Johne's/CL/BTV free flock and doesn't introduce any new sheep.

1. ewe is bred to ram of your choice that i currently have on the farm.
2. ewe remains in my posession and I am responsible for all feed, worming, and lambing of the ewe
3. Person who leases the ewe would pay room/board AND a breeding service fee.
4. All lambs from leased ewe would be property of the person who leases the ewe.

Contact me in the next few days for more information. I'm putting most of my groups together this weekend.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Apologies for my lack of email. Apparently in the past 9 days my service provider has deleted my account on several occassions, changed my password numerous times and simply disconnected my service. All due to the new 'bundling is easier' upgrade. It doesn't seem that way to me at all.

So if you've tried to email me in the past 9 days, send me the emails again, because I haven't received them.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New BFL ram

I was in need of a new ram that would compliment my girls that I have here. I was going to do AI this fall but with the terrible luck I had this spring with the BFL lambs I figured I would just do ground breedings again this year.

I purchased two straws of the new Rossiebank ram that Brenda Lelli imported a few years back but since I'm not doing AI I wanted to utilize this bloodline a bit still this fall.

Meet Beechtree Wycliffe. He is an F2 Rossiebank out of Beechtree Chasewater and Beecthree Opal. Chasewater was on my top of my list for a ram, but Brenda and I agreed that since I had his half sister GlenLuce already I shouldn't over use that line. Chasewater's dam Beechtree BlackwaterDee (Barleas Titus line) was the reason I fell in love with this breed at Michigan Fiber Fest now back in 2007.

Wycliffe will be put to all of my BFL ewes for purebred breeding. Burma, my natural colored ram from Stephen Rouse, will be used to make Shetland Mules before being sent to Wisconsin for more mule production. Wycliffe carries color and is a strapping young lad so I'm eager to use his genetics this fall and see what I get!

Thanks Brenda for all of you help and guidance!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Micron Results Part 3 Shetland Ewes

The below microns are from all my yearling to mature (nine years old) ewes.

This fleece sample is 10 months of fleece, on only grass/forbes pasture, some very high in green alfalfa and red clover, but all had grasses and other forbs in them. I cannot find any correlation between higher protein in the pasture and higher microns as most ewes stay fairly consistent from last year's microns.

All samples taken first week of March before shearing, from last rib, mid-side.

Many of these ewes were used in cross breeding this past year, so their numbers were not passed on to purebred stock.

Mic Ave SD Mic CV Mic CEM SF Mic
FirthofFifth ASHANTI 24.4 5.7 23.2 9.6 24.2
WhitePine BETHANY 24 5 20.9 8.7 23.3
FirthofFifth BOOTO 27.3 6.9 25.4 13.5 27.7
Owl Hill BUTTER 23.8 5.5 23 10.3 23.6
WhitePine CANDACE 25.9 6.5 25.1 12.3 26.1
WhitePine CENTENNIAL 27.1 5 18.6 8.5 25.8
WhitePine CHARITY 22.5 6.2 27.7 13.1 23.3
Justalit'l CHLOE 30.3 6.5 21.6 12.6 29.6
River Oaks ELIZA 26.7 6.5 24.3 12.5 26.8
Sommarang EMERALD 28.3 7 24.7 14.1 28.5
Sommarang EVA 28.3 5.6 19.7 9.5 27.2
WhitePine EVE 25 6.1 24.5 12.7 25.1
WhitePine FAITH 21.8 5.1 23.6 9.5 21.7
WhitePine FESTUS 25.9 5.8 22.2 10.2 25.5
ShelteringPines FLEUR DE LIS 28.8 6.1 21.4 10.9 28.1
Minwawe FLOPSY 27.7 7.5 26.9 15.1 28.5
Wintertime GALINA 27.6 7.2 26.1 14.9 28.1
Justalit'l LAMBO 26.9 5.8 21.5 11 26.3
WinterSky LAYLA 26.8 6 22.2 11.6 26.4
River Oaks LUCY 29.6 4.6 15.5 7.1 27.6
WhitePine LYDIA 24.4 3.9 15.8 6.7 22.8
Owl Hill MISS LILLY 29.4 5 16.9 9.3 27.7
ShelteringPines MYRA 28.2 5.3 18.8 9.3 26.9
WhitePine NAOMI 25.5 5.5 21.8 9.9 25
WhitePine NERIAH 23.7 5.5 23.1 9.8 23.5
ShelteringPines NESSEBAR 28.1 6 21.2 10.5 27.4
ShelteringPines NIRVANA 28.3 5.2 18.5 8.6 27
Owl Hill PRANILLA 30.2 5.3 17.5 9.3 28.5
RYL RACHILDAS 32.2 6.6 20.5 12.3 31.2
FirthofFifth RAHU 29.3 5.4 18.5 9.2 27.9
Minwawe REDBUD 24.4 6 24.7 12.9 24.6
WhitePine RUSH 27 5.1 18.9 9.2 25.9
WhitePine SALOME 27 5.4 20.1 9.6 26.1
Minwawe SEA BREEZE 28.2 8 28.2 18.8 29.4
WhitePine SEDALIA 26.6 4.8 17.9 8.3 25.3
WhitePine SKOR 24.6 6.1 24.6 13.1 24.7
FirthofFifth TAIKA 24.2 6.1 25 12.9 24.5
WhitePine TERAH 24.7 5.2 21.2 9.8 24.1
Black Forest TILLY 23.9 6.5 27 14.6 24.6
Underhill ULLA 31.3 8.1 25.9 15.9 31.9

averages 26.748 5.89 22.11 11.19 26.31

thoughts? :)

Micron Results Part 2 Crossbred ewes and BFLs

I had five cross ewes I purchased from Theresa last fall and picked up at the Jefferson, WI show.

Three Shetland-Cheviots (the preferred cross in the UK for Shetlands) and two Shetland Mules (BFL x Shetland) which is gaining popularity here in the US.

Since I took samples from EVERYONE this spring I wanted to include them as well. These are all lamb fleeces so without a doubt will coarsen as they age, even if slightly.

The three Shetland-Cheviots are the first three, the two Shetland mules the last two:
AFD, SD, CV, CEM, Comfort Factor are the columns.

27.2 5.2 19.2 8.9 73.5
30.2 7.6 25.2 13.4 53.3
30.2 8.7 28.9 17.7 59.2
30.4 6 19.7 10.4 52.3
27 5.7 21.3 10.1 73.8

Numbers are as good or better than many Shetland purebreds our there ;)

Then the three rams...a yearling texel, a 2 year old BFL and a yearling BFL. Again

AFD, SD, CV, CEM, and Comfort Factor. These breeds are NOT typically considered wool breeds but crossing (BFL) and terminal (Texel) breeds.

CHAMP 29.5 5.6 18.9 9.4 57.3
BURMA 27 5 18.5 9.2 78
KIRKDALE 27.9 5.3 18.9 8.8 71.3

And then the BFL ewes. Yearlings to four years of age. Again these ewes are a crossing breed typically. Not known for their wool in their homeland but in the US spinners love this fiber.

BFLs CATALONIA 26.2 4.7 18 8.2 82.4

LLANDDEWI 27.8 5 17.8 8.8 72.7

BEA 27.9 4.5 16.1 7.7 74.2

NUBIA 26.4 4.7 17.8 8.1 81.9

SINE QUA NON 25.3 4.2 16.8 7.3 90.4

PRIMA FACIE 26 4.2 16.2 7.5 87.3

MOROVIA 26.9 4.7 17.4 8 78.4

GLENLUCE 28.9 4.6 15.9 8.3 66.5

CLOVER 30.4 5.7 18.6 10 54

KACY 26.3 5 18.9 8.5 79.7

KEARSLEY 26.9 4.3 16 7.5 82.4

KERSHOPE 30.1 4.6 15.1 7.7 54

KILORAN 30 4.7 15.7 8.4 54.4

One thing Martin Daly said at the BLUNA banquet at the National Show was that BFLs should have high SD and CV because their wool should be less consistent.

I must disagree with him. Longwools in general have a more consistent wool. Granted some do get more britchy, but the above numbers do NOT lie. With low SD and CV numbers like those (and super low CEMs)certainly makes them feel softer than they are. While I do like fine fleeces, and BFLs are SUPPOSED to be the finest longwool breed, I won't specifically breed for the finest fleeces in them, but I will keep it in check to not get the fleeces that look like Border Leicester fleece. There is nothing wrong with BL fleece, as it certainly has its place, but BFL wool shouldn't be the same as BL fleece. I'm just sayin'

Micron Results Part 1 Rams

These are the micron results of the rams I am retaining and using:

WhitePine Barnabas - mioget katmoget F1 Orion F2 Timothy - 76%UK yearling

AFD 22.3 / SD 5.3 / CV 23.9 / CEM 10.6 / CF 92%

WhitePine Roman - white illget F1 Orion 56%UK yearling

AFD 22.3 / SD 5.1 / CV 23.1 / CEM 10.1 / CF 92.6%

White Pine Christian F3 Orion/Jericho black yearling 49% UK

AFD 23 / SD 5.4 / 23.3 CV / CEM 9.7 / CF 91.9 %

ShelteringPines Veni Vedi Vici F2 Jericho (Blues x Guinevere) yearling gray katmoget

AFD 25/ 4.6 SD / 18.4 CV / 7.9 CEM / 89.7% CF

FirthofFifth Nekomis - F2 Jericho F3 Timothy gray katmoget (Blues x Bramble Nadeen) two year old.

AFD 21.8 / SD 4.6 / CV 21 / CF 97.8%

Wintertime Jazz (for sale to the right home) three year old smirslet gray katmoget F1 Jericho

AFD 26.7 / SD 5.4 / CV 20.1 / CEM 9.1 / CF 74.5%

WhitePine Caiphas (also for sale) F1 Holly gray katmoget carries spots and moorit yearling

AFD 21.9 / SD 4.7 / CV 21.5 / CEM 8.8 / CF 95.8 %

I also am retaining WhitePine Levi - F1 Jamie, black krunet polled yearling ram. He rooed in February and I therefore do not have a micron test from this spring, but he did have his fall micron test last fall that was pretty incredible.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rams for sale

I have several Shetland rams and one BFL ram available for sale.

ShelteringPines Pumpernickel Pogo. Smirslet Sokket Flecket Gray Katmoget. Carries moorit and solid. Outstanding conformation, nice wide set and spiraling horns. Fleece is more disorganized fleece. AFD28.4, SD 6.1, CV 21.6, CEM 11.7. This test was his third fleece.

UnderTheSon Arapaho. dark red moorit. F2 Orion. Could carry spots. Outstanding conformation, left horn is somewhat close to jaw but has passed. Fleece is again more disorganized fleece. 2nd fleece microns: AFD 26.3, SD 5.7, CV 21.5, CEM 11.4.

WhitePine Ulam. F1 Minder. Light Badgerface yearling. Smaller ram with nice conformation and horns. Rare pattern. Could carry spots. Carries solid. First fleece test: AFD 22, CV 5.7, CV 25.9, CEM 11.3, CF 90.8%

WhitePine Caiphas. F1 Holly. Gray Katmoget. Large sweeping D style horns. Unorganized crimp. Carries moorit and solid. Yearling fleece microns:AFD 21.9, SD 4.7, CV 21.5, CEM 8.8, CF 95.8%
I love this ram but I have four half sisters of his and 2 F1 Holly ram lambs that I'm keeping.

Sheltering Pines Burma (Bluefaced Leicester) Natural Colored. Two years old. 2nd fleece microns: AFD 27, SD 5, CV 18.5, CEM 9.2. I'm going to use him on a few purbred ewes and lots of Shetlands for mules this fall but he is available after breeding season.

If anyone reads this far I'm going to use Jazz one more time and have him collected. He will be available to the right farm who can appreciate an 87.5% UK ram. He's F1 Jericho, F2 Drum Ram etc, homozygous black but he carries solid so he can throw gray katmogets or blacks. He's also very spotted and throws wild spots when bred to ewes that are spotted or carry them. His third fleece microns were better than his twin Blues: AFD 26.7, SD 5.4, CV 20.1, CEM 9.1, CF 74.5%, SF 25.8. Only super serious inquiries about him please. I have two nephew's of his out of Blue's that I am retaining....Veni, from Stephen out of Blues and V Creek Guinevere and Nekomis who is from Cynthia and out of Blues and Bramble Nadeen. I have retained 14 of his ewe lambs and I think that's probably enough :)

Micron Results finally!

My Excel Spreadsheet came via email today of the 86 samples. I like to pay extra to get the results somewhat faster. I don't get the histograms unitl they arrive in the mail but this gives me an idea of what I'm feeling with my fingers and gives me a start on what do go forward with.

That being said I am going to be culling heavily this year. I already know which lines are working, which ewes I've already retained offspring from and there will be about 10 days of ewes for sale before they either go to the BFL ram or go to the auction house.

I'll try to get photos of the girls in question.

I'm not culling only on micron. I already have lists based on lambing record, health and parasite resistance, fleece sales, handle, conformation, temperament etc. The micron testing is just another tool, and to be honest, most of the numbers i was NOT suprised by.....

One nice thing about the reports is that it helps to train my fingers as to what a 30 AFD 6 SD feels like versus a 30AFD 4SD.

more when I can

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fitting and Washing Shetlands for show

This past weekend at Jefferson there were several 'big time' exhibitor farms that show at least 6 times a year at various shows through out the Midwest. You know them. They have the large, long fleeced, double coated sheep with bone the size to rival Suffolk bone, giant heads, hair/scadder that is 10-12" long on their necks/spine. One farm even went as far as to cut the scadder out and they left large holes in their fleeces.

On top of that they were constantly brushing their fleeces out and had all the animals washed. None of this is allowed by NASSA or MSBBA rules. And if it isn't, it shouldn't be. These farms KNOW they are not supposed to fit but for some reason, they were TAUGHT that brushing doesn't fit the bill for 'fitting'. Any way you look at it. its not natural. Shetlands should be shown in their natural state. That means not washed. Not brushed. Not clipped, trimmed or tails trimmed so they don't look so 'wooly'.

These sheep ultimately win. The person who created the judges packet based on the 2004 Handbook which was written by one person's opinion and not any documented evidence! And these sheep, that do not fit the 1927 Standard keep getting the blue ribbons. Even though they are fitted. Even though they are washed. Even though they are non standard Shetlands.

You don't have to take my word for it. I don't make stuff up and then believe it as truth and then write it on my blog for all six readers to read and then do immature things like call people out by name or write things like laughter in parenthesis. I don't read old romance novels to figure out what Shetland Sheep fleece was or is. I go to the source. The Shetland breeders in the SSS and the SFBT. There is photographic evidence. There are books. There are documents. There are Standards to follow. There are over 100 proven and well documented articles and photos stating what a Shetland Sheep should be according to our 1927 Standard.

Just because a sheep lives on Shetland doesn't make it a Shetland Sheep, nor does it make it registrable as a Shetland that fits the 1927 Standard. having made dozens of phone calls in the past few months to Scotland, England and the Shetland Islands to get as much information from the horses mouth proves everything that those of us who support the Standard as described and supported by the Shetland Crofters, the Shetland Flock Book Trust AND the Shetland Sheep Society....well...its a no brainer! My sheep look like the sheep from Shetland that fit the 1927 Standard. None are perfect, but none will be mistaken for anything but a Shetland.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jefferson 2010

I need to find the time to post more but let's just say this:

1. GREAT and AMAZING friends!

2. Wonderful food, laughs and memories!

3. Wool judging was fantastic!

4. Mule show kicked butt!

5. BFL show had a good turn out of spectators and I was happy with the judging.

6. I believe everyone I know is camping next year. WAY MORE FUN!

Best Jefferson to date!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why I don't like to show

Too time consuming!

I'd rather just display my sheep. I'm proud of what i breed and raise, but this halter training...especially the Shetlands is ridiculous. They are going to embarrass me :) The BFLs need showers, trimming up wild locks on their bellies, washing faces etc...Thank goodness they are much more docile.

I'm looking forward to the show this weekend but it always sneaks up on me. And I'm always rushing around here trying to get caught up. Even with help from my friend Adam for the past week, I'm still not caught up!

Hope to see you kids there!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Parasite Resistance

A big goal with my flock is to have as little chemical dependency for worms of all kinds and liver flukes as I possibly can. Using the FAMACHA eye color chart for Barber Pole anemia I am happy to report that less than 3% of all 150+ sheep I checked today were even marginally anemic. The Shetlands had the highest level of parasite resistance, and only the oldest ewes (8 and 9 respectively) were marginal.

By doing my own fecal floats over the course of the wet summer I'm happy to report that I have not found any round worms or other stomach worms in the fecals. I checked nearly every animal individually and had every 15th animal or so also tested at the vet clinic I use to make sure I wasn't just overlooking them.

I have seen tapeworm segments in a few of the BFL poops and they were immediately given valbazen. Hey. Worms happen. Being open and honest about it can only help the greater group of shepherds.

No tapes in the Shetlands. I am sure many neighbors have seen me stooped or crouched over a sprinkling of sheep poops examining them for tape segments....and chasing sheep down that WERE pooping so I can make sure that those are indeed their poops. Yes. Crazy shepherd.

I was really proud of how cherry red the eye lid membranes were for the majority of the sheep. With the lush pastures and wet and soggy grounds, I was nervous about worms. I guess even though I'll continue to check for worms, I can honestly say that I'm doing OK in that department and choosing animals that have a higher resistance to them.

I also was able to separate the sheep that I'm taking to Jefferson. I believe I'm showing 17 sheep and taking about 22 (some will be for sale). I'm also bringing back a few sheep for shepherds and with the new to me trailer I should be able to fit them all in after doing a 'dry run' today with the show team.

i don't grain my sheep and I don't push the envelope with their growth or feeding to win at the shows, but I do like to take them there to give people an idea of the type of sheep that I am raising and breeding for.

I'm also really tickled with the fleeces on the lambs this year. While not every lamb has the ultra fine crimpy UK fleece, the others have more of a bold crimp, but it is still soft. I have only one that is straighter fleeced and double coated (like his mother) but they are both gorgeous modified colors.

The ram lambs all have their 'boy parts' and bites are looking pretty awesome right now too. Horns are good and there are several with scurs that could be beneficial to a breeding program for polled lines.

when and if time allows, I will be getting photos of some of the sale animals before Jefferson so I can bring them along if need be. Growth and condition scores on all lambs and ewes are just incredible due to the STILL lush green pastures.

That reminds me...I better go move the electro-netting again!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shetland Microns and learning new things!

Kara's post to the Chat With NASSA list today made me think of a post I've been wanting to write about for a while.

Before I dive in, I wanted to repost my 2009 entire flock micron average for just the Shetlands. I realize that the BFLs have much lower SD and CVs and would bring the flock averages WAY DOWN for those so I removed those. I did include all ewes and rams, mature and yearlings.

AFD 25.4
SD 5.7
CV 22.5
CEM 10.9
CF 80

I sold 15 sheep since then, all to new breeding flocks (some registered flocks, some unregistered flocks). Once those rams and ewes were removed these were my averages:
AFD 25.3
SD 5.6
CV 22.2
CEM 8.6
CF 93.5

The first three numbers were basically the same, although slightly lower. The CEM and CF however improved greatly. I did sell some animals that had higher CEM and CF. But I also sold some of my very lowest CEM and CF sheep as well. Its surprising what one can improve upon just by selling some animals huh?

At Black Sheep Gathering I gave a genetics talk to the BFL group at their National Banquet. After that talk, Martin Dally of SuperSire Ltd gave a talk solely on Micron Testing and reports.

1. Micron results should NOT be compared between different groups fed differently or separated, or compared to DIFFERENT FLOCKS on different farms!

This mind boggled me. Why would we? Martin told us that there are SO MANY factors that lead to wool testing that each pen or age group or pasture or flock or farm will read differently and not to be compared across the country.

So if my ewe lambs are fed and housed apart from my mature and pregnant ewes, their microns should NOT be compared as equals. Granted you can get a rough idea between the two groups but should NOT be compared with other animals from other pens.

That means that my rams should NOT be compared to my ewes, or ewe lambs, or ram lambs, unless they were all together, for an entire year in the same pen, eating the same food. This also means that my BFLs were house separately from my Shetlands and fed differently, so their microns should NOT be compared to any other group.

Now the ewes have been housed in the same pastures all summer since about May 1st. If I took a fall test of ALL the ewes then I could compare them across the board as they've been house and fed in the same conditions.

2. Sample collection and time of the year will also have an affect on your results!

The month of the year where the fleece will be the finest at the skin level (where you cut the fibers from the animal) will be the month of March through May 1st. The highest number will be in the fall, September/October. March is a good indicator of the finest wool follicles reaching their peak for fineness. In the fall months, the wool follicles have not had an opportunity to work as hard over the bitter cold months. Your finest wool is produced during the winter months.

3. The third to last rib, mid side is the preferred location on Merinos to do fleece samples!

When I questioned this he said many other breeds also do third to last rib, mid side. I told him that YoCom-McColl and Texas A&M recommend last rib. Martin felt that that was too far back on the animal to give a good indication of what the 'average' micron of the animal was.

I still don't fully believe this and still will do last rib, mid side as that is what all of us Shetlander's are doing.

4. Different parts of the fleece will be different in microns.

Now I understood this, but in Merinos (where Martin has had 20+ years breeding them) the change in micron is really only 2-4 microns over their entire body, not 20 microns like many Shetlands are. Also depending on the breed, it will differ.

5. Ideal age for micron testing is 16-18 months of age

Martin emphasized that ewes have not lambed yet so there is no stress from being pregnant, and rams are ideal at this age to micron test. He said never to micron old ewes past age 6 as at that age (six) will be the most coarse the ewe will be, before SLIGHTLY getting finer with old age. Slightly being 2 microns at most. This example was in a 21 micron flock of Merinos. The ewes barely changed from 1.5 years of age until 6.5 years of age, only going up maybe .3-.5 microns. (COULD WE ONLY WISH OUR SHETLANDS DID THIS SLIGHT INCREASE?!)

So take this all for what its worth, a grain of salt. I most likely will NOT take any drastic changes to my schedule as i usually collect fleece samples in March/April anyway, and since I do micron test yearling (even my crosses and old ewes) I do find that the oldest ewes rarely change much and by age 6 we will know for sure what they will be.

So ends today's lesson ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

700th post giveaway!

This photo was taken the day I brought home my first Shetland Sheep. After nearly a year of emails, phone calls and a visit, I secured this lovely group of animals. After many photos, micron tests, history on their pedigrees, etc, I chose these magnificent animals. I'm amazed that I have not one of these animals left on my property due to various reasons but will always be indebted to Cynthia for her education, thoughts, teaching, laughter, wisdom, friendship, trust and her commitment to the Shetland breed.

I wanted to share this photo as it showed the largest diversity I could possibly get in a group of animals. From left to right: Assam Meleng (shaela), Jasmine Phoenix (Ag Katmoget), Don Telmo Bourbon (mioget), Rooibos (fawn), Sikkem Temi (moorit) and Cleo (non fading black). It is very easy to tell the difference in the three shades of brown. Some may call the middle one still moorit, but when you part the fleece it was definitely NOT moorit.

So on to the giveaway!

I will be giving away one fleece per person who leaves a comment. I"ll try to match what you may like but in all reality the more who comment the more chances that people will touch my fleeces and LIKE what they see! (and maybe buy another one or three!) You are responsible for shipping and box, and processing fleece either commercially or by hand.

The grand prize is 150.00 off of an animal that is for sale here on my farm, or 75.00 off of transportation of an animal from my farm to a mutually agreed destination.

The catch for that however is you have to come up with the best 'charades' guess as to what an object is. Its a bright blue piece of Styrofoam that I found on one of the property's I maintain in Wadena from the Tornado devastation. It can be totally useful or totally ridiculous. I get to pick the best answer. I"ll post the photo of the object tomorrow when I come up for air after my long weekend in Ohio.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

699th post

This is my 699th post.

For my 700th, I would like to give away a few prizes. I have several raw fleeces I would like to get out to the public, and am thinking I'd like to have a larger 'door prize' of some sort but am having difficulties thinking of one. Aside from a free lamb. (live, not frozen!)

Any suggestions?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Times

Today is a good day to be me. Not because anything special happened today, but just because I feel happy. Well happier than normal.

I love my UK Shetland friends! I've made so many new friends by emailing, calling and post mail to various folk on the Shetland Isles, Scotland, England and Wales. I thank them all for their time on the phone and taking time to email and send articles and history to me.

Its no lie that I love SSS and SFBT Shetlands and where better to learn and educate oneself than by the folk who have had them their whole lives, or at least longer than I have?

I've counted yearlings and mature ewes. I have 47. I'm planning on breeding 25 to pure (maybe 20) but I can't get down to that number so easily. I'm also excited about things in the works in the UK for me personally but more on that when it is official.

Its almost August and although its been cool and VERY RAINY this summer, it is indeed feeling like fall. The Oats is yellow and ready to be harvested. The lambs are looking amazing and my breeding goals are all up in the air right now.

I want to use CIDRs on the ewes this year. NOT to get early lambs, but to time them in groups so they are in a smaller window of lambing. 9 weeks is just too long to do barn checks every night many times. By the end I was just saying 'good luck girls' at midnight and went out at 6am to usually find some new lambs.

CIDRs would be helpful as then all the lambs would be born prior to my yearly trip for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Nationals. This next April it is in Houston, TX. I haven't been to Texas in 18 years! It will be fun to see the city! I can't wait to go revisit the downtown and take a ride on one of the little boats that takes you through the downtown district!

I have two ways I could go this fall for breeding groups. First route is using three polled Shetland rams and Burma and/or a second natural colored ram. The second route is using Pogo, Arapaho and Jazz all heavily again, have them sent off for collection (for semen collection domestically) and use Burma/other BFL colored ram for Mules.

Thus far i have 19 Shetlands ready for the BFLs. I just am having a hard time doing that. I know its only for a year. I know that i can use the girls again in purebred the following year. I think a lot will have to decide on the direction that NASSA decides to take. If they continue to get back to their routes, follow their own by-laws, and support those breeders who are breeding towards the standard, or if they decide to let everyone breed what they will. I've already decided I cannot live with the latter decision. It is after all a breed association. its not a group of friends who all have commercial sheep.

My mentor is getting out of Shetlands. She has long believed in this breed but has been failed by NASSA in her quest for the best she can breed. While I understand her reason for letting go it saddens me greatly and I find it not nearly as exciting to not be able to share our day to day trials and tribulations with each other, sharing lambing excitement or disappointment, or just being there as an ear or shoulder. Whichever is needed.

I'm happy today because I celebrate the joy in owning Shetlands. Thank you Cynthia for taking a chance on me and giving me great guidance in my quest for knowledge on this breed. Thanks to everyone else who has helped mold me into what i am today. :)

Wine and sheep scratching. Can there be anything better??!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a few sheepie updated photos

This was the storm that passed through yesterday between 3am and 3pm. It was really wave after wave of tornadoes, hail, high winds, heavy rain and then it would remain dark and start all over again. Yesterday we had a total of 4 MORE inches. Our two week total is over 20 inches. That is nearly half of our annual rain fall. We typically have very hot and dry July and August. The photo was taken around noon. notice how dark it was. it was also only 64 degrees. Once the system passed and it got back to normal, temps were in the 80s and it was very very muggy.

RYL Rachildas the 8 year old white ewe and her ewe lamb out of Jazz, WhitePine Regina.
Here is a closer photo of Regina.
RiverOaks Eliza. She is such a love! Here she is deciding if she should come in for a chin scratch or go lay down with her son......
I guess her son won out..... He is an F1 Timothy son and 59% UK. He and Regina are just a shade under the size of their mothers.
On the left is WhitePine Charity, a yearling gray katmoget out of FirthofFifth Barish and WhitePine Castle Rock. She is F2Timothy F3 Jericho F4 Drum Ram etc. She has really blossomed as a yearling! The right is WhitePine Neriah, also a yearling. She is out of Wintertime Blues (Jazz's twin brother) and ShelteringPines Nirvana, a gray katmoget horned ewe that is one of my favorites! Neriah was bred to the polled ram WhitePine Levi and gave me a beautiful gray katmoget ewe lamb I named Norah (Jones). It was a good blend.
I 'believe' this is a photo of Neriah. You can see her subtle hints at facial white spots. She had obvious ones at birth. I really like this ewe.
Potosi Llandewwi and a ram lamb out of Beechtree Kirkdale and ShelteringPines Corsica.
This handsome lad is one of few solid moorit ram lambs I raised this year. Out of Sheltering Pines Myra (ShelteringPines Starry Night x ShelteringPines Morgan Le Fey) and an F1 Orion homegrown boy. He's really looking fantastic!

I have gone through my first evaluations of ram lambs 16 have made the initial cut. There are some that I have that blood line already in a different ram and will offer them for sale now.

WhitePine Beck - F2 Orion F2 Timothy etc. Fawn Katmoget Smirslet. Scurred. Ab/Aa, Bb/Bb, Ss/Ss. Carries modifed from his daddy.

WhitePine Ray J - F2 Orion. small smirslet behind ears and on forehead. Longer fleece will most likely be double coated. Minwawe dam. Is fawn but could also turn mioget. Lovely horns. larger than dam already.

WhitePine Eminem - F2 Jericho - gray katmoget smirslet. Jazz x Sommarang Emerald. His mom is wildly spotted and he will carry that. Will most likely have a 5-6" fleece.

WhitePine Guetta - F2 Orion - moorit/fawn gulmoget. Ephraim x Wintertime Galina (forrest daughter). He doesn't seem to have very much side dusting right now and will have a 5-6" fleece. Carries solid.

WhitePine Twista - F2 Orion - moorit. will have more like a 4" fleece. has remained darker.

WhitePine Toby Mac - F2 Orion - black gulmoget smirslet. brother to Twista. Very similar fleece. Carries moorit and solid.

WhitePine Coolio - F2 Jamie F2 Holly. small scurs (poll carrier) gray katmoget. carries moorit.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shetland Lamb Chops Dinner

I'm going to be posting this to BOTH my farm and dog blogs AND Facebook because its THAT amazing. Seriously. My mentor in cooking and one of my best friends, Briony, has helped me learn to cook for the better part of a decade. When she visits we do more gourmet food that us northern Midwest folk may not be always accustomed to. :)

We take photos of our meals and then comment on them. Good memories. Unfortunately these photos do NOT do them justice. My newer digital camera has lost its screen. Meaning it went blank. I can't see what I'm shooting and I can't change the settings really more than between action, flower and auto. It bites. So please excuse the fuzzy photos. Also the date is wrong on the camera I see now also, after uploading the photos. it really happened today. the 27th of July, 2010. Honest!

I was not trying to impress my dinner guest, but I wanted to make something that I could make easily, in a short amount of time and still spend most of my time with my dinner guest.

I was in the grocery store for nearly an hour trying to decide exactly which direction I wanted to go. No Corinne I wasn't lost, I was on the phone with Briony. I had a set idea I wanted to do: lamb chops, baby red potatoes and asparagus, and then wine and salad and maybe some fruit.

I prepped most of what i could and this is what i came up with:

Munchies: fresh watermelon and cantaloupe and home brewed Ice Tea.

Salad: Spinach with Feta cheese, sliced almonds, fresh sliced strawberries and a blush wine vinaigrette dressing. It was simple and fantastic! Photo is below.
Oh yes. We had a white wine before the meal also, and a nice red wine with the meal. And ice water. Hey it was hot out. Lightly toasted sourdough slices of bread with locally made butter...soft gooey inside with a crisp crust. I love bread so could eat this all the time.

Shetland lamb chops that were marinated for a few hours with some Malbec red wine, smoked and sliced garlic and soy sauce. Then they were grilled briefly on my grill and served pink in the middle.

Baby red potatoes pan fried in natural olive oil with sea salt, black pepper and thyme and pimentos, and the 3" pieces of asparagus were added the same time as the pimentos after being started as steamed in the microwave. Maybe took 8 minutes to cook and serve everything. Honest.

Below is the table setting and all the goodies. My friend told me that I was an amazing cook and that he'd eat my food everyday! Success! He also had never had lamb or asparagus or Feta cheese (or a salad like that before) and they were all amazing. He said the lamb was the best meat he had ever tasted bar none and that really made my day! He also said he hasn't eaten a 'gourmet meal' like that ever before, or eaten that well in a long time. Cool, huh?

Open invite to those of you who read this to come over for supper! I love to cook and have house guests. you bring the wine and I'll supply the food and we'll be good to go!

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 ...