Every year the shepherdesses work on the breeding ewe worksheet separately without discussing our breeding philosophy for the year, then compare our results. This year, as usual, we were very close in our decisions, only differing in one choice.
Along with the new girls, Sadie and Sarah (pictured above), there are several families included in Montague’s group – Serenity and her daughters Harmony and Thalia (one of the three Graces); Maibh (may+v) and her daughters Maire (my+ra) and Matilda; Dolly and her daughters Dahlia, Daisy and Darah (house of the shepherd). Although some are crosses, all were chosen for their strong Border Leicester bloodlines and to build upon their physical strengths and fleece quality. We are very excited about breeding season and, of course, we’re already dreaming about next year’s lambs.
Dahlia ~ daughter of Dolly, grand-daughter of Rosey
Despite his busy schedule (twenty-three ladies in his breeding group), Frey found some time to enjoy the sunshine – as we all were on Sunday after a hectic Saturday finishing breeding preparations and moving sheep.
Frey is in with a beautiful, diverse group of longwool ladies with lovely wool locks – Romney crosses, Coopworth crosses, Border Leicester crosses. With their bloodlines and his Finn – Teeswater lines, we’re hoping that next year’s lambs will be healthy and strong and produce another beautiful crop of wool.
It is such a joy researching each ewe’s line while making breeding group decisions… traveling back through the history of the flock… remembering special sheep with such fondness. We’re sometimes surprised by little things that have slipped our minds in the busyness of day to day farm chores. There are exclamations of “Oh my, Dahlia and Daisy are Dolly’s daughters and Rosey’s grand-daughters!” Soft, curly fleeces are examined and admired. Truly, truly each season on the farm has so many little rewards.
Jill ~ Romney cross, now the matriarch of the flock at 10 years old
Frey or Freyr ~ the ruler of peace and fertility, rain and sunshine
Tilly – “All together now… Happy New Year!”
Saturday dawned with sleet, hail and strong winds… not the best way to begin shearing day. Joe and Melvin made short work of our 37 ewes as we ooohed and aaawed over each beautiful fleece as it came off and was bagged. We vaccinated with CDT, checked FAMACHA scores and checked body condition. By the time we moved the ewes back out to pasture, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. What perfect timing!
Lambing will begin in the next couple weeks. And of course we can’t wait to get our hands on all those gorgeous fleeces!
by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
It’s been a busy few weeks, as summer winds down and we work hard to make the most of the pasture grass. The guard dogs and the bachelors are settled in nicely in the back pasture.
After moving and rebuilding temporary fence, the ewes are happily established in the hayfield during the day, moving into the adjoining paddock with strong perimeter fencing during the night.
Which brings us to the lambs… well the lambs are living the high life in paddock #2 of the graveyard field. So far they are growing out nicely, and producing beautiful fleeces that are ooohed and aaahed over when they come in for scoring and testing. They are a lovely flock.
A Friday ritual.
A single photo – no words – capturing a single moment from the week
A simple, special extraordinary moment.
A moment to pause, savor and remember.
Participating with the SouleMama blog.
|Happy Birthday to our girl, Maddie!
Busy weekend with lamb vaccinations, FAMACHA checking of the ewes, moving to a new paddock. In the end we were all seeking shade.