Saturday, June 26, 2010

iowa sheep and wool festival

a few weeks ago B and i took another mother-daughter road trip. it was a wonderful weekend adventure at the iowa sheep and wool festival. (i would like to take a moment here and say what a blessing it is to have a daughter! we have the best time together, sharing so many interests, having heart to heart talks, and laughing a lot, too. i am so thankful for our special relationship!) okay, back to the regularly scheduled blog post... B took a beginning spinning class and was able to learn how to use the wheel she got for christmas. her wheel is a beautiful louet s15 that has been stained green and decorated with a fern motif.

hurray! success on the spinning wheel!

B spinning on a drop spindle

carding fuchsia wool

B and i in the bleachers watching the sheep dogs herd their little flocks through the course...

i also took a class and learned a few techniques to spin specialty yarns using mohair. it was rather difficult and i'm not sure if was very successful, but it helped me to break out of my "spinning comfort zone".
left to right: spinning directly from mohair locks, a loopy yarn, spinning onto a core thread

i wanted to try some new fibers so i bought this beautiful silk/merino blend.

this is a wool/angora blend.

i am spinning it now and looking for some kind of cowl/hood/mobius pattern to use with the yarn. do you have a favorite?

everyday gift: a weekend with my girl

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

spring lambs!

i have been meaning to post about our new lambs for about a month, but life around here has been a little crazy. finally, here are pictures of our little babies. it has been so much fun to get to know them. they each have their own little quirks and stories.
hosanna finally had her baby. out of the 4 ewes who lambed this spring, hosanna was the only experienced mama. every time a lamb was born, hosanna stepped right up to take care of the new lamb, to the point were she was interfering with the real mama. we had to keep running her off and then we isolated the new mother and lamb so they could get to know one another without aunt hosanna budding in! so finally she had her own lamb about a week behind the others. it is a sweet little ewe lamb with a beautiful face, dark brown legs and belly, and a white fleece. hosanna has kept her very protected so we have not had much of a chance to handle her like the others. our little hope is the shy one of the bunch.

this ram lamb was the first to be born this spring. i love his beautiful face and the cinnamon brown tips on his fleece. underneath the color is fawn. he looks very much like his mother, jubilee. he had a little trouble nursing in the beginning. mama was so large and engorged with milk that he could just not latch on, despite his efforts. we tried to let nature take its course, but after almost 24 hours we still had not seen him successfully nurse. i finally gave him a bottle of milk replacer to give him some strength but i was not ready to take on the full time responsibility of bottle feeding this little guy. so mark and i began our efforts to assist the nursing process. mark had to hold jubilee and squirt milk from the nipple into the lamb's mouth while i physically attached baby to mama. we did this every hour one day and resumed the efforts the next morning until he would finally nurse on his own.

sweet little ram lamb. this is shalom's second born of the twins. shalom, hosanna's baby from 2008, is a shetland/cheviot cross. now, crossed back to shetland, her lambs have a very luxurious fleece. zeke is coal black with a small white spot on his head.

we could not have chosen a more appropriate name for shalom's ewe lamb. she is the friendliest, bounciest, silliest lamb that we have. she loves to climb all over you, if you let her, and she leads the other lambs all over the pasture in crazy leaps and bounds. she has unusual markings on her face of black, brown, and white. her long soft wool is growing in very grey underneath the white tips, very much like her mother.


this is malachi. second twin of bathsheba. he had a rough start when his mama was too busy with her first lamb to give him the attention that he needed. i watched on and waited for her to start licking him dry and nudging him to his feet, but she wasn't interested. when he started to shiver, i had to step in and dry him off with a towel and help him stand. i kept introducing him to mama and putting him in position to nurse. finally he latched on and bathsheba began to lick him and accept him. what a relief! he seemed to do well after that, although, he was never as frisky as the others. we didn't realize until it was too late that he had become sick. we lost him after 3 weeks. maybe he wasn't nursing as well as we thought. we will miss his sweet face with the funny white markings!


she is truly a prize among our lambs. bathsheba's first lamb is a spotless dark brown. in this picture she looks black, but compared to the true black lambs, she is definitely brown. we ended up with a perfect variety of colors: white, grey, fawn, dark brown, and black. i couldn't be happier about that! i believe comfort misses her brother, malachi. after he died, i left him with him mama for a little while. if i hadn't, she might have continued to look for him frantically and bah for him. this way she can somewhat process the fact that he has died. during this time, comfort lay down beside him and wouldn't leave him, even when the others had gone to pasture. it was very sad. maybe that is why she has become such buddies with hope.

everyday gift: colors of the shetland rainbow

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


B with some of the radishes she grew this spring!

a spring salad
spinach, leaf lettuce and sliced radishes from the garden
red onion, grated carrot, and feta cheese
tossed with italian dressing
a winning combination!

everyday gift: a garden fresh salad