Friday, September 14, 2007

We went to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend, in Jefferson, WI.
We really had a wonderful time although the day always goes too quickly. My husband came with me, along with my good friends Al and Denise, who raise pygmy goats. The highlight of the show, as always, is visiting with my Shetland friends again, and meeting new Shetland breeders.
I wish that some of us lived closer together, so we could see each other more.

I was very pleased that my ram lamb, Lil'Country Damascus, won second out of twelve in ram lamb class! I had a pre-arranged trade with Laura Matthews of Psalm23 Farm, so I thought I'd show Damascus as long as I was bringing him.
I was a little suprised to place, as Damascus has scurs. While I was pretty confident that a judge wouldn't discriminate against a smooth polled ram, I wasn't sure how scurs would go over.
While I am totally not into the concept of "show sheep", this ram is an excellent example of what I'm breeding for in fleece, size, and type. Fleece is soft, dense, good handspinning length, very slight outercoat. The ram is moderate in size, not too big, but not undersized and weedy. Strong overall structure, and topped off with a typy tail and wool on the poll.
I did some serious shopping. I bought a head gate, so we can finally get some type of chute system in place. This way, I won't have to rely on help when it comes time for sheepy maintenance. This should also make handling less stressful for our sheep, as we won't have to chase them in circles in our catch area, and wrestle with them. I am really looking forward to this!
I also bought a set of Lister shears. After a discussion with our vet on how traveling shears can be a vector for disease, we will no longer roll the dice with our flock. With some practice, I'm pretty sure I can get the fleece off with less second cuts. I just hope I don't cut the sheep up too badly while learning.

Sadly, I felt like I had to get to know Jellybean all over again when we came home. She acted like she didn't know us at first, although she did gradually warm up to me again. My brother, Jamie, house sat for us and said that she didn't want anything to do with him, either. Once I got some snuggle time on the couch with her, she was okay again. I am accepting that this dog is psychologically damaged, and will probably never be completely free from anxiety.

She is an odd duck. When Tom let's her out to pee, she won't come back into the house unless he faces the door, away from her. Then she'll come in. She does not like people looking at her, and she is expecially leery of men.

I took these photos coming back from the barn one day. She isn't fond of the barn, but will lie outside in the shade, and wait for me to finish chores. As I walk back to the house, she is a spasm of leaping, tail wagging, and wiggling with joy to see me again. I have to be careful not to step on her. Adopting her is the best thing I've ever done.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Congratulations again on placing so well. You can be sure I will report on the reception my little scurred boy receives at OFFF!

Poor little Jellybean. I hope her psyche continues to heal; she looks so happy in those photos.

How much were the shears? My farrier/shearer does a good job, although I could wish for fewer second cuts. I never thought of introduced "bugs," though!

Tina T-P said...

Congrats on placing with your little guy - sounds like you had a judge that knew what was important for wool sheep - and breed standards. How lucky you are to have a reliable family member to house sit. We are starting all over with a new one (who at least comes with high recommendations from a neighbor) as the last one proved quite unreliable.

I totally agree with you about irresponsible people letting their animals breed - Like the excuse "they need to have the experience so they will be more mellow" could hold any water. Makes you wonder about people (or the guys who refuse to get their dogs neutered because somehow they will miss their doggy manhood..give me a break...)

Little Jellybean looks like a sweet one - hope she starts to come around and be more calm for you. Glad that your damage from the storm was minimal and that no human or animal was harmed. We don't have tornado type storms here in Washington altho we do get some "big blows" sometimes in the fall - 40-60 mph.

Great pictures of MFF - nice to put faces with the names. I enjoyed reading your posts and "catching up". T.

Juliann said...

Hi Michelle & Tina,

Michelle, the shears were pricey, over $300. And since I only sold about $60 worth of fleece this year, it will take a long time for them to pay for themselves. But I'm going to enjoy the convenience of being able to shear when I want. Our shearer is going to retire in several years anyway, so I figured it's a good move to learn how myself.
Jelly returned to "normal" over the course of the next few days. Normal for her still being neurotic, but we love her so much and do everything we can to make her happy. She is a such a wonderful little girl! :)