Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shetlands on a Sunday

The professor, our student friend, who is staying the summer with us and I were all invited out to a farm on Sunday. We were in time to see the lambs! Two friends share the farm responsibilities and own the flock of Shetlands together. One of them lives on the farm and is a needle felter and an artist. The other friend does the sewing for the needlefelted designs. It looks like a wonderful collaboration between friends.

The animals on this farm can feel the love! The Shetlands were remarkably cuddly and patient with the humans in their field. In this photo, at the very left, you can see a ewe whose fleece is rooing. (coming off on its own) Traditionally, long ago, Shetland sheep shed their fleece. Now, most shepherds prefer to shear "on the break" as the fleece is beginning to roo. Not all Shetlands even begin to shed their fleece anymore; this is bred out of some of them over the generations and they wait to be shorn. Shearing carefully is very important for good handspun yarn that doesn't pill. (small bits of fleece will break off and become pills) but for felting, it might not be as crucial.

Then we went to a second pasture to visit the "guys." Two Shetland rams, a pygora buck and doe, and 2 llamas lived in that second pasture. The pygora buck was very friendly, but billy goats can have big horns. We were cautious....

and so was the pygora doe, who hung back with the llamas away from the scary visitors.

Pygoras can have some diversity in their fiber, and we spent some time admiring this buck. He had a coat with both guard hairs and a fine undercoat. He was shedding, and you could just pull bits of his wintercoat off as he walked by! He was friendly and patient enough (mind the horns!) to allow this.

We had a nice time outside in the sunshine. It gave us an opportunity to show our student houseguest what the countryside looks like. (It's flat. Really flat.) It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet some more fiber artists/shepherds in Manitoba.
I'm having some trouble with getting this post and all these pictures online, so I'll end here. Hope you enjoyed our little outing to a local farm!

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Blogger Willow said...

What fun! Makes me want to go looking for sheep farms in SoCal...

May 26, 2010 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Deborah Robson said...

Looks like a delightful weekend! Thanks for sharing.

May 26, 2010 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

love the pictures and envy the chance to be up close and personal with the sheep. :)

May 27, 2010 at 9:11 PM  

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