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!