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North Star Farm Tour

I will once again be taking part in this very enjoyable event.  Carly, Brea? and I, along with wool and fruit products will be traveling to Melodee and Hugh Smith’s Clearwater Yak farm outside Welch, MN for the weekend of September 3oth/ October 1st.  I just got back a bunch of roving that I will be selling.  Hope to see you there!

http://www.northstarfarmtour.com/

 

Olivia’s off-white Babydoll rovings. More off-white besides her’s will be available.

Tammy’s rovings (Babydoll).

Fergie’s rovings (Babydoll) Warm light brown.

Finn x Doll twin combined rovings. (greater portion of their fleeces were sold as coated raw fleece). First fleece and luxurious! Brighter white than Babydoll.

Penny’s rovings. Darkest Babydoll.

Moonshadow, the Shetland’s, pindrafted rovings. Beautiful silver!!

Hattie’s Babydoll rovings. Cooler lt. brown.

 

Fall Sheep Sorting

In the sheep business it’s not spring that turns a man’s (ram’s)  thought to love – it’s fall. Recent cool nights have increased the “practicing” being done by the ram lambs and feistiness of the adult rams.  Having a pure bred Finnsheep ewe and a couple of Finn x Dolls (crossbred Finnsheep x Babydoll Southdowns) that may cycle (a.k.a. come into heat) during a greater portion of the year, has led me to do my gender sorting earlier this year. I’ve also been swapping out coats for larger ones and observing fleece differences.  Here are a few photos of the flock taken during from my time with them.

Babydoll sheep mowing the apples – their primary job that they do so well in addition to producing wool and the cutest of lambs.

Moonshadow browsing the young apples – behavior that jeopardizes his spot in the flock.

Copper, my purebred Finnsheep ewe. Beautiful lady with lovely brown fleece.

Trio of fleece colors here on the boys. From left to right: Bucko, with the buffulo fitting, Tioga, my brown purebred Finnsheep ram, and Bro, my Finn x Doll wether. Bro was very vocal in his displeasure about being penned with these two so was reunited with his sisters in the Finn ewe pen.

Bro’s fleece is GORGEOUS and already over 2″ long with 7 months to go until shearing. He’s already in my largest sized coat, so a new purchase of coats is in order.

The little boys now with the adult rams. Carlos, the coated one on the left, is my Finn x Doll wether. Oddly he didn’t face fear and ostracizing from his peers like my little ewe lambs did when I first coated them 4 years ago.

Moonshadow, my Shetland wether, sporting his lovely silver fleece that has, so far, enabled him to keep his spot in the flock.

 

 

 

 

Shepherd’s Harvest Outcome

It was a wonderful time at Shepherd’s Harvest in Lake Elmo, MN this past weekend.  Unlike last year when I borrowed mittens, both days were warm and sunny.  The fleece competition went about as well as could be expected.  Three of my four fleeces got first place ranking (blue) and the 4th got 2nd place – because it was competing against one of my other fleeces.  I was especially happy about receiving 2 ratings of 19, 1 of 18, and 1 of 17 out of a possible 20 pts. for cleanliness and purity.  In all, I sold 8 plus 2 halves out of 10 fleeces taken to the event, so I am very satisfied.  One customer already reported back that she spun some from one of my fleeces “in the grease” and loved it!  I got to talk sheep and wool the entire 2 days, plus was able to see friends and the other exhibits.  It was great!  I’m looking forward to seeing some of the folks who stopped at the both at the North Star Farm Tour September 30th and October 1st.  I’ll be at Clear Spring (Yak) Farm with a couple of this year’s lambs and more wool.

The display got a little sparse towards the end. Note the ribbons displayed on the card/rovings rack.

 

All 2017 purebred ewe lambs spoken for

As of this morning, all my baby girls, existing and expected, are already promised to new homes.  (Just hoping to prevent some fruitless inquiries.)  If you wish to start thinking about 2018, the same players will be in the game.  I will be breeding Bucko to the black ewes plus Audrey, and Squash to the white ones (including Claire minus Audrey).  I will also (God willing) have a brown Finn ram’s services for Brea, Becka, the 1/4 Finn girls I keep, plus Bashful. Same info is in list form below.  I hope to get a ram lamb from Bashful to breed with Brea and Becka going forward and those will be potentially registerable with the Finnsheep Breeders Association AND result in some brown fleeces in the future.  

Important!!!  It is receipt of your deposit check and the order of its arrival relative to others’ that keeps your spot on the reservation list.  Reservations received before December 31st will be at the same rates as for 2017 lambs. Link to rates, etc. is at bottom of this post.

Bucko

Fergie, Hattie, Tammy, Adrien, Audrey

Squash +

Claire, Nina, Olivia, Sara 

Brown Finn Dude +

Brea, Becka, Bashful, and any daughters from Brea and Becka retained

Rams still available, most likely – pending lamb gender distribution and number in upcoming births.

Potentially lovely fiber animals, (3/4 Babydoll 1/4 Finnsheep ewes anticipated still available for $100 less per animal than Purebred Babydolls – not registerable.

Reserving a Lamb (Revised 3/20/17)

Shearing Day at Prairie Plum Farm

It was a super busy day at Prairie Plum Farm on Saturday.  Guests pitched in and helped shear the flock – learning as they went.  There were also 2 new arrivals – ram/ewe twins, tentatively named Calvin and Calista from Hattie and 5 lambs were reserved to go to new homes.

Steve Johnson showing good form holding Beck a in the on-deck circle.

Naomi Johnson and Ken Heidlebaugh taking a break after cornering Bashful and removing her coat for shearing.

Brent Winslow in the middle of shearing, Carol Wiegrefe and Moonshadow watching. He’s hoping for an opening so he can make a jail break.

Kari Jovaag awaiting fleece to scoop up, Lilly contemplating next coat to hand over, and Carol discussing some random sheep with Sara West.

Larisa Walk and Hailey working out the intricacies of the bag holder for storing the new fleeces.

The newly shorn ladies in their new spring attire.

The first morning for Hattie’s twins. Watchful mom to upper right.

Twin sisters (Fergie’s) cuddling in the corner of their jug.

Fantastic Fleeces

I’ve become super excited about this coming season’s shearing!  This week I was out changing up coats on the flock to keep ahead of growing wool and got to see and feel their fleeces – up close and personal.  They so impressed me that I’ve decided to enter a number in the fleece competition at Shepherds’ Harvest fiber festival this May.  If all goes as planned, here is the line-up:

Sheep          Division                  Class                Breed

Olivia           Purebred                 Medium         Babydoll Southdown

Adrien         Purebred                 Medium         Babydoll Southdown

Becka          Colored                   Medium?       Babydoll Southdown X Finnsheep

Bro              White                      Medium?       Babydoll Southdown X Finnsheep

Below are a few close-up images of the wool beneath the coats.  Nina’s fleece is always longer than most, but she was only coated since November, so Olivia’s, who also trends longer, will be entered.  She’s been coated since last shearing.  The Finnsheep crosses may be fine enough that the judges will move them to the fine category.  There they would be up against Merinos who have very fine textured wool.  Since cleanliness is highly weighted, I’m thinking they should do fine anyway.   I am planning – time permitting – to post pictures/ weights of fleeces and offer for sale on this website.  The fleeces exhibited at Shepherds Harvest will be auctioned off there (unless I get an “offer I cannot refuse” 😉 ).  I am also planning a shearing day open house (March 18th) where newly shorn fleeces can be purchased.  My coat provider, Rocky, was telling me that it’s been a good wool growing year with some flocks growing into sizes of coats they’ve never had to use before.  Click on each image for a close up look at their crimp!

Nina’s back wool – luscious and long!

Adrien’s back wool – still nicely dark.

Bro’s back wool – perhaps 4″ long!

Lamb Mug Shots

NABSSAR has amended its registration requirements to include hard copy photos of sheep to be registered showing their head and ID tags – preferably the Scrapies farm tags. Taking these gives me a chance to show you-all the cute faces of this season’s lambs.

IMG_1058c Bashful

Bashful – TW Hattie by Winslow DOB 031916

 

Bea - SG Penny by Winslow DOB 032216

Bea – SG Penny by Winslow DOB 032216

Becka - SG Tammy by Arlo (Finn) DOB 032216

Becka – SG Tammy by Arlo (Finn) DOB 032216

Betsy - TW Claire by Winslow DOB 033016

Betsy – TW Claire by Winslow DOB 033016

Bliss - TW Claire by Winslow DOB 033016

Bliss – TW Claire by Winslow DOB 033016

Beau - TW Fergie by Winslow DOB 033116

Beau – TW Fergie by Winslow DOB 033116

Bella - TW Fergie by Winslow DOB 033116

Bella – TW Fergie by Winslow DOB 033116

Brea - TW La Nina by Arlo (Finn) DOB 040416

Brea – TW La Nina by Arlo (Finn) DOB 040416

Bro - TW La Nina by Arlo (Finn) DOB 040416

Bro – TW La Nina by Arlo (Finn) DOB 040416

Bonita - TW Olivia by Winslow DOB 040316

Bonita – TW Olivia by Winslow DOB 040316

IMG_1071c Babette

Babette – TW Hattie by Winslow DOB 031916