Sunday, August 30, 2009

I like this the best so far

This is also using Gaywool colors: Lucerne (green), Lilac, and Blueberry.

Another Skein

I ordered some Gaywool dyes using the gift certificates from my step-son and DIL. This is from 3 different colors: Cyclamen, Lilac, and Blueberry.

Belle Valley

This is a view of Belle Valley. I like to think this is the spot it was first seen by white men and what inspired its name. There is a tiny town down in the valley, out of sight. It does not live up to its name. :^)

If you look beyond the dead tree, near its base, there is a farm with a large silo. Over the roof of the barn beside it is a patch of blue. That is Wolf Creek Lake.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fall is in the air

Its starting to feel like fall. Its day, its hot, humid, and seems that summer will never end, and the next, there is a cool, crispness in the air that promises fall is just around the corner.

Updated photos of the BFL lambs - finally!

This is Quadrille, a Lockerbie (Titus AI) daughter out of Darcy. Right now, she is my favorite lamb. Thats my only colored lamb behind her, a ram out of Collette sired by Lockerbie. I'm thinking of naming him McTurk.
This is Bijoux. She is another Lockerbie daughter, out of Caliope.(Loyalty AI) Probably my second favorite lamb of the year.
These are Serenade's twin ewes, sired by Lanark (CHR1 AI) They are Shivaree and Sarabande.
Another shot of these twin ewes. Not sure who that ewe lamb is in the background, it may be Calais, a Lockerbie daughter out of Pegasus.
This is Moodiesburn, Hannalore's son from Lanark.
Another shot, showing his length, topline, and beautiful head. Sorry about the poor lighting in these photos - its early evening, and the light is harsh and shadows lengthening. I'm still dealing with crutches, so you get what you get. :^)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now I think I'm hooked

My second attempt at dyeing skeins. Did I mention this is BFL lambswool. Its so incredibly soft, and the colors just glow in person. I used burnt orange, fuscia, yellow, and kelly green in this skein. The pink is a richer color (not so PINK!) in person - exactly the color that "burning bushes" turn in the fall.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

So I got bored this afternoon................

I don't know why, but the purple in the skein does not show up well in this photo - it looks blue. Anyway, this is my first attempt at dyeing skeins in multiple colors. I used sapphire, purple and Kelly green. I copied off my friend, Annette, and put the skein in a turkey roaster. My technique is the same as when I dye locks; wet the skein with water and vinegar, then sprinkle it with dye powder, and wet the dye with the sprayer on my kitchen sink. Then I take a plastic spoon and smoosh around until the skein soaks up the dye. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 350. Drain and rinse skein thoroughly afterwards.

Friday, August 21, 2009

An exciting development for BFLs!

I received this email today from Kelly Ward, the secretary/treasurer of BLU, the Bluefaced Leicester sheep registry, to its membership. This is an exciting development, and long awaited! As you may have guessed, I am thrilled with the news, and look forward to serving the membership in some capacity, whether on the board, or as a committee member, etc.

The Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America (BLU) began as a business I registered with the State of Michigan in 1998. Creating a registry and association of members were the two primary goals; in addition, promoting the breed, expanding its numbers, educating the public and helping the breed find acceptance in the North American sheep world. BLU has done all that and more.
Originally there were seven association members in only a few states. Since then BLU has grown not only in the number of members, but the breed has spread coast to coast in the USA and Canada. It's the individual breeders' dedication and promotion that has been a major force in Bluefaced Leicester growth. BLU's service to the breed and the breeders is based on the premise that the Bluefaced Leicester is a multi-purpose sheep with a wide variety of applications.
BLU issues a yearly flock book, recording the registrations from the registry. BLU has its library of UK flock books, Bluefaced Leicester memorabilia, reference books and photographs. BLU maintains an informative web site where all members are listed, breed standards, photographs, downloadable forms, and the monthly e-letter are published. BLU places ads in national sheep publications and show catalogs promoting the breed and the breeders.
The registry and association are on solid ground and it's time for BLU to move from private ownership to a full-fledged association. BLU has been incorporated as a non-profit organization. There will be an election of officers under the supervision of an independent third-party unaffiliated with me or the breed. The elected officers will be: President, Vice-president and five Represenatives to take office January 1, 2010. All those currently enrolled in BLU as full members may place their names as candidates and be eligible to vote.
There will be a mailing shortly detailing the BLU bylaws and election information. Please look for it.
Kelly Ward, Secretary/Treasurer
Bluefaced Leicester Union - BLU

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NARBC Sweeps standings

I just looked at the NARBC(national angora club) newsletter, and I was surprised to find that I am 6th in points for French Angoras, and 3rd in Satin Angora standings. The sweeps finals won't be published until the next issue, so that could all change, but this is the highest I've ever placed. :^)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New roving on the way

Yesterday I boxed up about a pound of natural colored BFL lambs wool and 20 ounces of fawn French angora and sent it to Stonehedge to be processed. It should be back in time for the Wool Gathering

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Breeding Philosophy - a post revisited

When we first got our Bluefaced Leicesters (BFL) my first goal was to establish different bloodlines, since they were so rare in the US. Now, 14 years later, there are quite a few breeders, and enough new genetics have been imported from the UK that inbreeding is no longer an issue.

So now - I am selecting for productivity traits. I have a flock that can lamb unassisted, and have nicely shaped udders and well placed teats so that I don't have to supplimental feed the lambs, or help them learn to nurse.

I want ewes with nice, long, strong backs that can carry triplets without becoming broken down and sway-backed. I also select for stock that is up on their pasterns, since my flock is expected to graze year-round, which means a lot of walking. Also, I want heavily pregnant ewes that don't have weak pasterns, and rams that can support their weight on their back legs for breeding.

Like most Leicesters due to their roman noses, BFLs can have bad bites. So I am careful to select for lower teeth that meet the upper dental pad.

I also have to watch for good fleece coverage, since BFL are prone to "peeling" along the belly, chest, and around the leg and tail area.

Of course, since I am raising registered stock, I also need to select for proper breed type. Besides good general conformation, I also want good blue skin color, good lock structure in the fleece, a big roman nose, and ears that are properly set. Its fun, but hard work, and maybe someday I will have "perfect" sheep


Don't know who to credit for this creativity, but its too cute not to share.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

BFL T-shirt design for 2010 National Show

The 3rd National BFL show will be held at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR next June. This is the T-shirt design. Sweatshirts and long sleeved Ts are also available. Order them through the show chair, Robina Koenig at

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Up to date baby bunny pictures

Voodoo and her 3 REW (2 bucks, 1 doe) and 2 fawn (1 buck, 1 doe) She is also raising one of Vinnie's black does. The REWs are really outgoing and funny.
Vinnie's babies. She has a fawn, a blue tort, and 4 blacks.
Mandy's babies. Both are does - a chocolate and a chocolate tort.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baby Bunnies

I got to see my 3 litters of babies for the first time in over 3 weeks tonight. Vignette and Voodoo's kits are nearly a month old. They are getting big! I tried to hold or pet all of them so they would get used to me being around again.
I had not seen Mandalay's kits since they were just an hour or so old. They are beautiful! There is a chocolate and a chocolate tort. Both are does. Mandy was glad to see me and got lots of attention.
I watered all the bunnies and talked to each one, but was getting too tired to pass out the pellets, so Chuck will do that for me. I managed to get down the steps fairly easily, but getting back up the steps took some doing. :^) I'll figure it out!
The rabbitry looks good - Chuck had just dumped all the trays for me and washed the floor on Monday night.
Its good to be getting out and about a little once more.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I went to the doctor today. He showed me my CT scans so I could see the break. He seemed pleased about my progress. I'm released to return to work. He wants me on crutches for a while yet, and I'm to return in 4 weeks (Aug 31st)

Its going to take some getting used to going back to work. I've become quite fond of the peace of the farm, and living by the rhythms of the sun rather than the clock.

I did get to see the lambs for a few minutes after we got back from the DR. I did not attempt the rabbitry with its 3 steps. But soon, soon..........

Angora Yarns for sale

Here is a list of all the skeins I have available now. The picture shows front to back: sable, red, lilac, chocolate agouti.
Satin Angora:
Choc Agouti 40yds $10 SOLD
Choc Agouti 26yds $7.50 SOLD
Choc Agouti 50yds $12.50
Choc Agouti 60yds $15
Choc Agouti 70yds $17.50
Red 27yds $7.00
Red 48yds $12
Red 43yds $10.50 SOLD
Red 28yds $7.50 SOLD
Red 31 yds $8.
Red 34 yds $8.50
Red 64yds $16
Red 42yds $10.5

French Angora:
Sable - 3 skeins of 48 yds each - $12 each
Sable - 60 yds - $15
Lilac - 48yds $12 SOLD

White 48yds $12 SOLD
White 42yds $10.50 SOLD

Oh great - some new hosta eaters have arrived

The new fawns are starting to arrive.    We have a love/hate relationship going.  The deer love to eat our flowers, and we hate it.  L...