Welcome Sweets and Millie!

May 2019

Two pretty sheep have joined our flock! Life circumstances are forcing their owner to downsize her flock. Sweets is blind and Millie has a crooked front leg. They are very dedicated to each other and we will post more as they get settled in. Keep good thoughts for their owner ok? She is very heartbroken having to place her sheep. Smooches! More info soon- in the meantime, I started a bio for them. Read more…

sweets519sunrays.jpg

I felted a family treasure?

You read right. Goodness! It was an accident but a shawl that should not have been washed or dried in a machine- was. SO. I am setting out to rescue the shawl and turn it into something fun. More memories right? Here’s the start- so far. This story shall continue!!

(I am no seamstress so I am relying on my great grandma Lamp to look over my shoulder! She’s my crazy quilt inspiration- this will be an all in the family kind of treasure now!)

claireshawl519beginning.jpg
claireshawl519sheep.jpg

Have you ever spun Wensleydale wool?

Our sheep would love to know! We have several beauteous Wensleydale sheep here in our flock. They are sweet sheep with such gorgeous, curly locks. The wool is easy to wash, locks average 6 to 10 inches long and give a pretty sheen to yarn. It really is quite comparable to Mohair (Angora Goat) fiber. This is Sheldon- read more about him…

sheldon216.jpg

Washing wool is great fun and this is easy wool to wash- read our washing routine…

Once the wool is dry I use most of the locks to handspin into our Lash Yarn. It is one of my favorite yarns to spin!

I also spin the wool into other traditional yarn. I spun this yarn from Sheldon’s roving. It is soft and what I would call lace weight. I like to let the wool ‘tell me’ what it wants to be. This batch wanted to be tiny yarn!

2ply519wens2.jpg
2ply519wens3.jpg
2ply519wens4.jpg

I’ll be listing this yarn here soon- you’ll

There will also be lash yarn but I have not started Sheldon Lashes yet. We do have wool from Jerome on both the unwashed wool and washed wool pages if you like to go start to finish. Also several selections of roving from our Wensleydales! Look forward to hearing from you if you have questions!


Welcome Big Guy!

This pretty little alpaca retired into our flock a few weeks ago. My friend needed a place for him after his lifelong alpaca friend passed away. Alpacas cannot live alone- they are meant to be part of a herd/flock. At least in pairs so he came here. He is living with our Suri Alpaca girls and Oliver and Maxwell in the small pasture. Several of the suris retired here too so he has good company and familiar faces.

bug519maxwell.jpg

Big Guy is not so sure about his new friend Maxwell though. Maxwell is one of our bottle lambs- he and Oliver just moved outside into that pasture. Maxwell is so excited to be back in a flock he stays very close to the alpacas. Giddy little lamb! Big Guy is not so sure he wants Maxwell so close but he’s getting used to his little tag along buddy.

He is a beauteous auburn colored Huacaya alpaca with pretty white markings. He is 24 years old so I am glad we had friends here for him. He has already decided the grain we feed tastes good, yummy enough to abandon his original grain. He likes his alfalfa hay- and is great about sharing with his friends.

We’ll add more pictures soon- he is such a sweet fellow and we are lucky to retire him here!

bigguy519a.jpg

Shearing day!

Might not feel like Spring yet but Ryan the wonder shearer was here to give our sheep their summer haircuts the first week of April. Giddyup!

Shearing day is always a fantastic adventure. It’s the day I get to be sure the sheep have gone through the winter ok. I keep a close eye on them every day but we have a few sheep who are not tame enough to get my hands on as often as the others. If anyone looks too thin, they are sent over into the special needs group to have a little grain with their alfalfa hay until we turn them out on the big pasture.

Did you know after shearing the sheep have trouble recognizing their friends again? It can take a few days of calling and fussing before they find each other again. Poor peeps.

THAT said, my what glorious fleeces they gave us again! I love seeing the fleece colors as the sheep are sheared. Many of them change color shades each year. Some are very subtle changes and some are quite striking.

We’ll start adding new fleeces to the sheep’s website next week so keep an eye out!

rw419jerome.jpg

Mother Nature needs a box of wine!

With one straw- she won’t have to share and she can ‘chill out.’

The record setting cold means a big scramble to plan care for our animals. We started feeding them alfalfa hay and extra grain a few weeks ago. They have bedding in the barn up to their little knees; tank heaters in the water and buttoning up the barn to keep cold air out.

119coldsnap1.jpg

The big group of sheep has big round grass hay bales outside their door. They like to run in and out of the barn when the sun is shining. We don’t lock them inside, they are amazingly wise about getting through this weather. They each have their favorite place to stay warm. Many times they are in groups of three or four all sleeping by each other. Jammie party!! (They do tell me I worry too much. I don’t agree!)

This weather is specially hard on older animals. We lost our Cosmo and Theo sheep to pneumonia. I’m so sad about them. They tried but they were 17 years old. It was time for them to head to warmer pastures in the sky. Sigh. So far no more casualties. A majority of our flock is over the age of 8 so I guess we have quite an elderly flock again. And we only have 35 sheep? THAT feels weird too. But that’s a story for another day.

Cosmo

Cosmo

Theo.

Theo.

Jim and I keep a close watch on everyone outside. We take turns checking on them. We would be no use to ANYone if we managed to get frostbite. The coldest it got here included -50 degrees with the wind chill factored in. Today (1/31) we have a heat wave going on! It is currently only -9. The weather guessers say it will be 30-ish by Sunday. Accompanied by freezing rain. Argh.

The sheep will love it though. Between thawing of snow and freezing rain, this farm will be a right proper ice rink. I know they have their little skates hanging up in the barn for just such an occasion!

Stay safe and warm everyone!

This is one of our CVM/Romedale sheep Berti! She has managed to avoid the camera for a long time. Gotcha!

This is one of our CVM/Romedale sheep Berti! She has managed to avoid the camera for a long time. Gotcha!


Are we ready for winter??

Oh such silly questions you ask! Every year we promise each other to have the sheep and barns set for cold weather. BEFORE it arrives. Nope, not this year either. It was 50 degrees one day and today 21. No wonder people get so sick in the winter!

Anyhoo, Jim and I spent today putting tarps, plastic and plywood up on the barns. Both groups of sheep will be in the dairy barn for winter. The horses and llamas have the back barn to themselves now. The goats are so silly but quite happy in their cabin/courtyard.

Tomorrow there is more fence to walk so the Pyrs can have a larger area to patrol than the back yard. We got a dusting of snow two nights ago. My wish is that all our sheep winter well AND we have a traditional WI winter. SNOW not ice like we’ve had the 10 years or so.

I love having the sheep all cozy and warm. Makes for nice midnight visits to the barn!

(The horses were very helpful. Snort. They were too busy napping. Notice the little kitten photo bomber?)

1119naptime.jpg


A Spinning Adventure!

Last fall a few sheep from Michigan joined our flock! We’ve never had CVM/Romedale here- they are a very rare breed. They are sweet sweet girls and you can read more about them here…

cvm718gal.jpg


I have not touched a CVM/Romedale sheep, much less had the opportunity to spin wool from one. Consider me smitten!

rw618jessiecvm.jpg

It is just as soft as Merino wool but easier to wash because the CVM/R has less lanolin. It also reminds me of Corriedale because there is a little bounce to it. Our girl’s fleeces average 4 inch long locks and a variety of shades of white, silver, gray and black. Ooh la la!

The sheep are from Michigan and their family owns a grocery store. A nice group of people near us donated produce. It took me a minute to think up why the CVM/Romedale girls were so gleeful about produce? Egads Sandy!







An Interesting Article!

The sheep thought this article was applicable to some of our own business. We work hard to find new uses for things we come across and believe in using everything we can in our yarn, from our fleeces and for our sheep. This also talks about the cost of such ideas and beliefs. It doesn’t cover EVERY part of our personal business. However, worth a read to see how other people are working hard to be good caretakers of our world!

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sustianable-brands-vs-fast-fashion_n_5bbe04c2e4b01470d057aecb

(And of course, some more pictures of the sheeps!)

Our Brinley and Trevor were twin Babydoll Southdown sheep. I miss their smiley faces, they were such angels!

Our Brinley and Trevor were twin Babydoll Southdown sheep. I miss their smiley faces, they were such angels!


What a web she weaves!

I swear I do vacuum our screen windows- specially in the kitchen. I named this spider Charlotte. She’s been very busy- it’s a beautiful web. I’m not big on spiders so if I see words in her web, it will freak me OUT! She is outside though!

charlotte918spiderweb.jpg

A Whole Lotta...

Hide and seek fail! It’s an epidemic here it seems?

Noodle?

noodle918hideandseekfail.jpg

Cocoa Bean?

cocobean817hinder.jpg

Really Mayhem?

mayhem412a.jpg

Fletcher??

heidi615whereareyou2.jpg

I will post more as I come across them- what a hoot! In the mean time, our friend Linda sent this poem to us- written by Dorothy Keely

I'm hiding, I'm hiding
And no one knows where;
For all they can see is my
Toes and my hair

And I just heard my father
Say to my mother -
"But, darling, he must be
Somewhere or other;

Have you looked in the inkwell?"
And Mother said, "Where?"
"In the INKWELL?"said Father. But
I was not there.

Then "Wait!" cried my mother —
"I think that I see
Him under the carpet." But
It was not me.

"Inside the mirror's
A pretty good place."
Said Father and looked, but saw
Only his face.

"We've hunted," sighed Mother,
"As hard as we could
And I am so afraid that we've
Lost him for good."

Then I laughed out aloud
And I wiggled my toes
And Father said —"Look, dear,
I wonder if those

Toes could be Benny's?
There are ten of them, see?"
And they WERE so surprised to find
Out it was me!


First week of September?

Already? The sheep are SO not ready to turn the clocks back! I hope we get a Fall season this year and don't skip right into Winter. Seems we miss our Spring and Fall now in WI. My favorite times of the year-except the sheep love Christmas for obvious reasons. You would think after opening present after present- fruit loops- would get repetitious? Nope! 

So now we switch to our get ready for winter list. First cleaning up of branches and some overgrown weeds by the road. Get the sheep to mow the front lawn again. They might need help from the Suri alpaca girls since we've had so much rain! (The Suris say they can handle the entire job, they don't need any help from the sheep?) Whoa!

We also get any barn repairs done and all clean for winter. The goaties decided they would rather live in the little cabin so they moved back in. They go out and eat weeds in the 'orchard' (3 trees that fell over but are still growing apples??) during the day. They are an amazing brush/weed clear out group. They are very acrobatic out there chasing apples too. Hope you are all ok in the crazy weather across the states- and world. Stay safe and have a happy weekend! 

goaties518.jpg

New Handspun Yarn!

I'm working on photographing new yarn for the website! It is all handspun by me from our sheep's fleeces. The yarn takes on its own personality while spinning. I love letting the yarn tell me how it wants to be spun. It also keeps the character of the sheep who provided the wool. The only thing missing is YOU! The circle from sheep all the way to your next project is too precious and fun! 

You can find our yarn here...

2ply818apollothreads1.jpg
2ply818apollothreads3.jpg
2ply818apollothreads2.jpg

This yarn was created by our Apollo sheep! You can read all about him in his bio and his yarn will be available on the website this weekend! 

apollo418.jpg

Becan's Shenanigans!

You've probably heard of our little Becan sheep right? He's a Shetland sheep and is 14 years old now. His eyes have always had an old soul looking out of them- a very smart old soul. Shetland sheep are naturally bouncy, happy sheep. And very mischievous. 

Becan must be having a little identity crisis this summer? He's decided he would rather live with the llamas and horses than with his sheep family?? He has a tiny space in the adjoining fence he  wiggles through. Every night we put him back in with the sheep, every afternoon he's back with the llamas. This has been going on all summer. 

becan818.jpg

This past weekend Becan decided he was going back into the llama pasture to 'help' Jim feed Bull, our shire horse. 

bull718b.jpg

When Becan tried to slip through the gate he got his back leg caught. Jim got him out of the gate right away but Becan was shook up. Limping like he broke his poor little leg. I gave him a dose of anti-inflammatory and pain meds. Midnight barn check found Becan walking with barely a limp! Whew! What a giant relief it was only a sore muscle! 

Of course Becan acted like we completely over reacted. (Which I do.) By the next morning he was happily scampering about with his sheep friends. By the next afternoon, he had slipped back through the fence to continue his dream of becoming a llama! You can read more about our little hooligan Becan in his bio...

group718.jpg

What a memory!

When we came home today we were blessed to see a pair of immature Bald Eagles! One was circling in the sky above our hay field. The other was in a tree right by our house? Whoa! They are gigantic and one of my favorite animals. To see them so close? 

(This is not a picture of the birds we saw here, I borrowed it from the Internet. It belongs to Ron Dudley, photographer.)

(This is not a picture of the birds we saw here, I borrowed it from the Internet. It belongs to Ron Dudley, photographer.)

We know there is a pair of adult eagles living in the woods behind our farm. We only saw them in the sky until a day we were leaving for town. Drove over the top of our hill and there they were, taking care of some roadkill. Right in front of us in the middle of the road. WOW! I was so shocked I couldn't get my phone/camera on them quickly enough. They sat and looked at the car for a while then went off about their business. 

There are many eagles in this area because we are not far from the Pecatonica River. But to see them up close like this not once but twice? What a priceless gift they gave us!