Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shetlands for sale

In the need to cut my flock down to a reasonable number, I will be offering the following for sale. The rams have micron stats listed in the previous post.

I am cutting the ram flock down to about half, keeping those rams that will be able to be utilized in my flock. The ones I'm offering for sale are here because I have so much of their genetics in the flock.  Not for any other reason.

UnderTheSon Dungaree - white,  Awt/Aa, DOB 2011 (UTS Emperor's White/UTS Dakota).
Dakota has produced excellent rams and Dungaree is no exception.  He won 3rd place in a very large ram lamb class under Kate Sharp and Alan Hill at WSWF in 2011.  He has been inspected and passed under Maurice Wakeling as a 2 yr old as well as placed 1st in the Senior ram class in 2013.  I have a few of his daughters so it is time to move him on.  Dungaree has a silky soft, wavy/crimpy fleece with good length and he roos.

UnderTheSon Velour - fawn katmoget, Ab/Aa, DOB 2011 (UTS Apache/UTS Viva).
Velour's sire, Apache, placed 2nd in the ram lamb class at WSWF in 2010 and won Best Fleece on hoof. Velour placed 1st in 2011 under Kate and Alan and also took Reserve Champion Ram.  There isn't much to add to that.  I have a few daughters I am retaining from him as well.  Silky, soft, wavy/crimpy fleece.  I am very reluctantly offering him for sale.

UnderTheSon Crowley - moorit spotted, Aa/Aa, DOB 2013 (Crosswinds Pegasus/UTS Ceylon).
I am reluctantly offering this ram for sale, simply because I am keeping several of Pegasus's sons from last year and just can't keep them all!  This ram lamb has been a knockout from birth with his bold spotting and strong structure.  Great color to his fleece and long, soft, crimpy staples going well down his britch.  This ram has much to offer to boost a flock's overall breed type.

Several ewes will be available this year.  I will offer up between 10-15 adults and several yearlings.  These are NOT, in any way shape or form, culls.  These are top quality ewes that have proven themselves (if adults) to produce both good lambs and a good fleece.  I have culled extensively for years, retaining the best of the best.   I simply have too many sheep and need to cut back on the total number.  From here on, I will be concentrating on producing mainly crossbred lambs so that I do not have to face the task of shipping purebreds to market.  I will be only breeding a few ewes to pure rams, mainly for the sake of replacing stock in my own flock.  I did 50/50 breeding last fall - half going to pure and half going to cross.  Having lots of lambs designated from the start going to market makes my job a lot easier (read, less painful).  Basically, this is the year to get a purebred Shetland lamb or adult from me if you are so interested.

Our farm has bred for 1927 Shetland breed type since the beginning and the sheep themselves have been proven for 12 years now - in the jug, in the ring, on the table (fleece, skeins, and finished goods), and also on the dinner table.   They've done all they've been asked to do - proving it with consistent wins everywhere with judges here and from abroad.  It doesn't get any better than this.

I won't be posting exactly who is for sale yet as I want to wait for the stats for this year as I'm almost done clipping the adult ewes fleece samples.  My fleeces are soft handling, have good crimp, and good length. Every sample from every sheep that I clip tells me the same thing.  They are breed type all the way.  They are of good weight and great handle.  They spin supremely and make superior feeling goods.

I will only be keeping around 10 ewe lambs this fall and 2-3 ram lambs.  The rest of the lambs will be available.  Many of these are spotted and some are spotted katmogets.  A few solids and kats are in the bunch.  I'm a plain jane type of breeder and prefer the solids or the katmogets.  So, my preference is your flashy chrome!

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 Ram Microns and lace

The micron data came back today from the rams.  This is fleece taken last month.  I'm very pleased with the results.

Overall stat avgs:  AFD 23.5, SD 4.7, CV 20, CEM 8.3.  CF 79.2, SF 22.7, CRV 82.1

Adult Rams

  AFD     SD    CV  CEM    SF   CRV    CF
Dreamie 26.1 4.3 16.4 7.3 24.5 77.3 85.3
Stronsay 25.8 5.0 19.3 8.1 24.8 81.1 82.5
Velour 26.6 5.3 19.7 8.4 25.6 65.1 78.4
Dungaree 25.8 6.7 26.0 11.3 26.3 70.8 74.4
Ben 29.8 5.3 17.6 9.1 28.2 73.1 58.4

Yearling Rams
   AFD      SD     CV   CEM     SF    CRV      CF
BC neck 18.7 3.5 18.5 6.7 17.8 101.9 99.9
Blue Castello 19.2 4.3 22.3 8.3 18.9 93.6 99.7
Venaco 21.7 4.3 20.0 7.5 21.0 88.0 98.2
Asiago 22.0 4.3 19.6 7.3 21.1 79.4 97.7
Mobay 22.1 4.1 18.5 7.2 21.1 99.2 97.9
Manchego 22.2 4.7 21.2 8.2 21.6 82.4 95.8
Mahon 22.7 4.9 21.8 9.2 22.2 82.6 93.0
Crowley 23.0 4.9 21.3 9.3 22.5 71.2 92.5
Stilton 23.4 4.1 17.4 7.7 22.1 84.0 94.8

Our sheep eat very well - and the rams are no exception.  Some noteworthy comments:  
  • The most important stats to me are the CEM and SD.  These must be low - and the range that they are in is appropriate for fine fleeced Shetlands.  These numbers show that most have a spinning fineness that is lower than the AFD.  They also indicate, by the low numbers, that there are no guard hairs present, which give the fleece a coarse handle.  Breeders must be careful not to go too low, though, because this indicates a fleece without the Shetland 'tip' which gives the characteristic feathering.
  • Bramble McDreamie will be 7 years old this year.  Exceptional stats for his age.  
  • Velour and Dungaree will be 3 this year.  Great numbers for them.  Velour placed 1st and R CH Ram and Dungaree placed 3rd under SSS breeder/inspector/judges Kate Sharp and Alan Hill at WSWF when they were lambs in 2011.  They sure knew how to pick a couple of good ones!  Both of these rams have silky soft fleeces.  Their daughters have very nice fleeces as well.
  • Dungaree was shown again last year at WSWF as a 2 yr old and placed 1st in Senior rams.  He also passed inspection under SSS breeder/inspector/judge Maurice Wakeling.  Dungaree also roos very well. 
  • Stronsay will be 2.  He is rooing this year as well.  This ram can still do capriole's, he is that agile and strong but light framed.  Never have seen another adult ram do that!
  • BC neck refers to Blue Castello's neck.  For fibers below 15 microns, Castello's mid-side fleece has almost 12% that fit that range!  See below for more details.
  • Mahon was the 2013 WSWF Supreme Champion under Maurice Wakeling.
  • I used Dreamie, Stronsay, Castello, and Venaco for breeding rams last fall.  

Ok, now back to Blue Castello.  
Last month when I was snipping fleece from the boys to send in for microns, I happened to grab Castello by the neck.  Mistake. He was rooing and left me with a large handful of neck wool.  You know, the brain can process information pretty fast.  A handful of 18.7 micron fleece, with more than 11% of those fibers being less than 15 microns, leaves a very definite impression in the brain . . . an impression of oohhhh and aahhhhh . . .  as I was standing there with that handful of very soft silky neck wool, visions of lace yarn popped into my head.  And, over the next few days, I proceeded to roo a bit more of Castello's neck.  Not a lot mind you.  Just enough for my greedy hands to hold (and NOT to stuff in my pockets!).  Or at least I thought I was holding it.  A handful of that wool literally weighs only grams.  I would wash it up in the sink as soon as I got inside, then dried it by the fire.  Some quick flicks from the flicker, and I spun right from the locks.  It was actually fun to spin on my Lendrum lace flyer, at 30:1 ratio. 

Castello's neck wool - this is truer to the blue color that he is.

Here is the skein I spun from some of Castello's neck wool, next to a lock.  Yes, his neck fiber is actually 3" unstretched (and much more stretched).  The dime is for comparison.  The 2 ply skein weighs 20 g (about 0.7 oz) and is 298 yds long.  That is over 400 yds/oz and 6,640 yds/lb!  I flipped through my copy of the Shetland Island spinners A Legacy of Shetland Lace book and found a simple lace scarf to knit.  Have to keep putting lotion on my hands to keep from snagging the fibers as I'm knitting.  And knitting this fine of yarn is a whole different concept than even knitting my lace weight yarn.  It's in a realm by itself.  Superfine, fine Shetland fleece.  No wonder it is famous worldwide.  

Oh yeah.  Lambing has started!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It was a beautiful day today, though this morning when this picture was taken, it was still below 20 degrees! Thought I would get a few pictures of the boys and they obliged.  

UTS Asiago

UTS Dungaree

UTS Mahon (with his nose in the air) and Asiago.

UTS Manchego - a Cleggan son

In front:  UTS Velour (fawn kat) and UTS Venaco (spotted grey kat)

UTS Stronsay - moorit

UTS Crowley (moorit and white spotted) and UTS Mobay (black and white yuglet).  UTS Stronsay is facing the feeder and UTS Stilton is cut off on the right.

I'm really pleased with the rams that we have on the farm.  All have much to contribute to the Shetland gene pool.  There is quite the diversity among them but they are all very much within the framework of the 1927 Shetland breed standard.  All sport excellent conformation and very fine, breed correct fleeces.   This, to me, is what the Shetland breed is all about - diversity of pattern and color with a breed standard fleece on a typy, fine boned framework.  Easily recognized by original breeders and not confused with another breed by anyone.  

One of the ewe lambs fleece, picture taken in late Nov.   Luscious, lovely, very fine, dense, and crimpy fleece on a 1927 breed standard Shetland.    I'll have to make another post with pictures taken last month showing a few of the fleeces from the ewe lambs and the breeding groups (group shots).   Makes my fingers itch to spin it!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Mod Squad

The Mod Squad  

UTS Blue Castello - emsket, half poll

Incredible fineness!  
Extremely soft, dense, and with good length already.

And this is what is above his britch!

The 'squad'.  Emskets - Britta, Galerina, Cinnerella.  Miogets - Galeria, Mingay, Madeline (dam of UTS Mahon, 2013 WSWF Supreme Champion and Best Fleece on Hoof)

After 10 years of researching and breeding for the 'golden fleece', this is the best modified group that I've ever put together. I've never been able to have a group specifically made up of nothing but emsket and mioget sheep - this is the first.  Looking forward to seeing the blue, and hopefully gold, lambs from this group.  Fleeces should be just spectacular as all these girls have wonderful silky soft ones. Some of these adults will be for sale next year (Galerina, Britta), so if you will be looking for a modified fine fleece ewe, place a reserve now.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

WSWF - an absolutely lovely weekend!

Wow!!!  What another spectacular week-end at Wisconsin!  It was wonderful seeing old friends and meeting new ones, especially Maurice and Gillian Wakeling.  The Wakelings lived 7 miles from Dr. Stanley Bowie, their mentor in Shetland sheep.  What a unique and precious gift they were given!  The Wakelings have been breeding Shetland sheep nearly 30 years with Maurice being a Shetland inspector-judge and Gilly an accomplished needlewoman and wool judge.  They are some of the nicest people I've ever met.

Gilly, Lynn Michael, and Maurice

We only brought 6 sheep to show this year, and several to sell.  Friday started out with Maurice giving a presentation on inspecting Shetlands.  The first part was going over the form itself, then breaking out in small groups and going over a sheep ourselves.  Cyndee Wolfe, Terry and Russell Dukerschein, and myself chose UTS Dungaree (entered in senior ram class) as our inspection victim sheep.  He did very well, calmly standing the whole time we were going over him (which took longer than it should but there were many questions and topics we explored) until Cyndee squatted in front of him and started making some weird hand movements in front of his face (motioning how to measure the head and such).  That spooked him a bit but he settled right back down.

The second hour of Maurice's inspection talk involved having the groups come back into the ring one at a time with their sheep to see if their inspection matched up with what Maurice's.

Lynn Michael (behind), Paula Ashworth, and Maurice going over UTS Vendomosis.  Paula purchased Vendomosis, a very fine fleeced yuglet grey ram lamb and wanted him inspected by Maurice.  Vendo had never been been on a halter until Thursday, but did very well for the ladies.   Paula was tickled pink with the evaluation of Vendo!  

Cyndee brought Dungaree in for his inspection.  

Gilly judged the Shetland fleeces on Saturday morning.  Lots of lovely single coats.  She looked at several things in the fleeces:  staple strength by testing a lock from the mid back, evenness of color throughout the fleece (for coloreds), fineness of crimp, evenness of crimp throughout (but there should be britch on a Shetland), handle (softness and bounce/spring), cleanliness, and overall appearance.

One of my black fleeces.  Cyndee was the official helper for Gilly and hosted them back and forth to the motel (thanks my friend!).  Garrett Ramsay and I were in charge of keeping track of the fleece order.

Another one of my black fleeces.  Both placed right after Viva's fleece (ribbons to 4th only).  Gilly is checking the the staple strength here.  

UTS Viva's fleece - it placed 4th in the colored class (it is a pale grey).  The Shetland show started before the fleece show ended so I had to tell Kim how to finish the classes.  And yes, Garrett is still texting . . . 

Jeff showed UTS Dungaree in the Senior ram class who placed first.  Dungaree has matured nicely.  Someone mentioned that Jeff is a good handler because he has a natural grace (don't remember who).  Good job!

This is the back line of the ram lamb class.  Maurice divided it up to have the moorits in the back line and the other colors in the front line for ease of judging.  I don't remember how big this class was but there was more than these in the front line.  UTS Mahon is on the end on the right and UTS Monterey Jack is beside him.  Mahon took first place ram lamb, and he and Jack also won the pair of ram lambs class.  

Me showing UTS Arran in the yearling ewe class.  Love this ewe!  Kelly Bartels is sweet talking her lovely yearling ewe, who placed first in the class.  Arran was second.  

Pair of ewe lamb class winners - UTS Matooq on the left and UTS Coolea on the right.  Coolea was the first place ewe lamb winner out of a class of 20.  Maurice accused me of spying on his flock via satellite because they have ewes that look like Coolea in their pasture!

We also won Best Small Flock with Mahon, Matooq, and Coolea.

UTS Mahon went on to win Best Fleece on Hoof, Champion Ram, and Supreme Champion!!!  Oh my!  Such an exciting win for us!  Maurice gave us the ultimate compliment and said that Mahon is the picture of the 1927 Shetland breed standard.  Wow . . .  I'm still speechless . . . from someone mentored by Dr. Bowie himself . . . I think I'll just mull on this one for quite some time.  Thank you so much Maurice for this compliment.  It means quite a lot!

Gilly also judged the Shetland handmade class.  Laura Matthews is in the pink and her lovely crocheted rug is in front (it took first in a crochet class).  Gilly is looking over Becky Utect's felted gulmoget fleece - a unique piece that can be used as a blanket (not a rug).  Becky's felted hat took Reserve Champion - brilliant color, soft, and very pretty.  Gilly loves hats so she could not resist putting this up!  
The two felted sheep in front of the fleece were made by my neighbor, Anita Akins, who had made them for me out of my Shetland britch roving to give to Kim's FIL.  Gilly was so delighted by them that she had them 'talking' to each other.  As soon as we saw that, Kim Nikolai and I had the same idea at the same time - gift these sheep to Gilly!  When the judging was over, I presented the sheep to Gilly, who was so overwhelmed. That was the highlight of my weekend!  She is such a lovely lady.  

Gilly and me!  Gilly is one of the sweetest ladies I've met.  She placed my Shetland Rams Fair Isle Cardigan as Champion Shetland Handmade!  Thank you Gilly!!

An absolutely lovely weekend.  Thank you Kelly for doing a great job as superintendent!  Thanks also to Corinne Rasso, Brad McDowell, and Kelly for most of the pictures!  Thanks to all who helped put this show together! A great group of Shetland sheep friends who will help anyone without even asking - and smile and have a sincerely good time while doing it.  It is love in action and life doesn't get any better than that.  You all rock!