Sunday, July 27, 2008

What do you see?

How lovely, something new to talk about. I am thrilled about breeders actually thinking of a solution for this little spot problem.
We do have a special yahoo group for this discussion. However, no one was willing to start a discussion about how or why a certain sheep was or was not flecket.
In fact, breeders are a solitary group....and unwilling to let anyone else tell them their sheep is or is not flecket.
Sorry to burst the poster bubble....but the same woman who did the spotted cencus had her pictures made for the poster. Although the poster is does not come close to answering questions. I foget how many photos of spotted shetlands were sent in for the cencus. A few hundred perhaps. However, I was told by the author....that if a photo came in showing a sheep with spots....the breeder usually mentioned what the spot-name was for those spots. If there was no photo sent in for was because no one breeder thought they had a sponget. And in a world of commercially viable wool......spotted shetlands are not in demand.
How unfortunate that the spotting names for shetland spots were defined by a professor and not an artist. If a flecket sheep is described by the term "looks like a jacob spot" Then cetrtainly the sheep in my picture does not resemble a jacob could not be a flecket sheep.
We originally thought north american breeders could shed some light on the world os shetland spots....since we actually try to breed for them. Sadly, our original efforts were thought to be threatening to the world wide experts. And threatening to the egos of established breeders.
So as wildly spotted 6th generation sheep fade from the world view.....we must cling to the only words we know yuglet....flecket....sokket. Heaven forbid we use some other terms like fronet.
Breeders as I repeat, are solitary people....not given to heated conversations.
It's been a week of tension here in the state of "misery" as my older client likes to call it.
Our two great pyrs disappeared on Thursday. A pack of running dogs were chasing a coyote thru the woods. Apparently, our dogs jumped our fence and went to help. then must have turned the wrong way out in the woods. Since they have never been gone for more than a couple of hours, I waited until feeding time to worry. We drove all the roads near by....we called and called. We announced their disappearance to the running dog folks. No dogs. The next day, we posted signs at the feed store. Called the police and the post office. The only people who drive some of these roads. Then we went into the woods on the looging trails....calling, and calling, for hours into the woods. Finally we traveled the only other road that surrounds our miles of woods. It took over an hour, and sure we had the two other times we tried to drive this trail in the woods...we got lost. We almost didn't make it down the mountain because the road was washed out. We couldn't turn around as we had planned. But we did get to the high power lines...we had planned to call there, in case the dogs went the wrong way from our side of those lines. Another feeding time came, and I punctuated my feeding the sheep with loud admonitions to the dogs to come home now...a storm was approaching. Finally, I turned, and saw the young dog come in with the sheep. She was panting like an engine, and thirsty. We doubled our efforts to scream for the old dog. The one who doesn't walk well. The storm came and old dog. We called all evening then went to bed, with the young dog tied on the porch. By morning, I took a bottle of water to our last bottle baby, and there on the floor of the barn was old dog. She looked noticable breathing...and didn't move as I called her. I finally woke her up. She was wet from her trip in in the fog and brush. But she was alive....if not willing to move. I dragged her to the porch and we rejoiced. Since our trip around the woods, we had realized how impossible it was for anyone lost there to find their way out. But the dogs did. They are still two days later, laying on the porch. But today, old dog does raise her head when we walk by.
Yaay for dogs.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

why we do what we do?

I read a really good post on Garrett's blog...look at the links on my right.
He was commenting on why we buy certain sheep....and how our goal may change.
One of his most brilliant statements was about keeping what you have bred. Many small flocks concentrate on selling their lambs. We should as breeders be concentrating on what we have produced by our breeding....and where it should go next.

To that end you NEED to keep some ewe lambs and some ram lambs. Only by breeding back our own lambs can we prove what we know....or perhaps what we don't.
I found the recent discussions on spotted yahoo very funny. Everyone has their own opinion of why spots occurr where they occur.....but shetland breeders have never done testing to see what causes these differences. Frankly shetland breeders can't agree on what they are called either.
There were two shetland breeders who actually tested the color theory of emsket and mioget.
Until that was done, I personally thought emsket was a shetland myth.

There are so many differences in the shetland breed.....that each of us could test breed...and come out with different answers.
So don't get excited about what you know about spots....because unless you have tested it many times with many could be proven wrong.

Then again, it is possible that with many breedings of spotted sheep....we are seeing different spotting, spotting that hasn't been seen here.
I have one such spot. Virginia Reel, ewe lamb on the left....looks like a typical Ag grey lamb....but she isn't....Check Karen's blog about Dylan( right link at the top of my blog)....she also looks typical Ag grey...but Karen doesn't have an Ag sheep on her farm. I have twin rams, not pictured.....who look like they should turn grey at any minute....but so far ther is no lightening at the skin at 6 weeks....
Anyone else have this spot appearing? What should it be called??? Bersugget? It's light and dark...but not typical Jacob not flecket.
So back to Garrett's blog. This is your thought for the week.
Why do you buy what you buy?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer + Vacation ='s Work!

Summer a time to do the things you haven't found time to do yet in the first 6 months of the year.

Yes, I'm afraid it's true. My marbles did slide down the mountain. It was bound to happen eventually. It runs in my family.
After our lovely time traveling with sheep, I started out by myself last week. My goals, still the same.....come home to fewer sheep. So I set out happily to do some family time in Wisconsin, and deliver sheep at the same time. I am happy to report that my family time went pretty well. However, missing some marbles.....I failed to check for important parts on all the rams.....ARGH!!!!
Always do that before you leave home!
Secondly, I found good homes for two twin rams.....but....they looked similar.....missing my marbles.....I unloaded the rams at the wrong farms. Go figure.....?
It will be OK. Those guys in the white suits can't find me out here in the woods.....and I'll figure out how to make up for my mistakes before winter.

Do you hear the beach calling my name?

I did get to visit with family.
I did get to put in the basement windows we didn't get in last fall....We also enjoyed mother-daughter time standing on two long ladders waving in the 30 mile an hour winds.....during the heat wave of 95 degrees with humidity in the 70's.....just before the storms. We were wearing complete matching mother-daughter outfits of long sleeved sweatshirts and hoods to fool the wasps, who were being displaced by our vinyl siding. To make the three days of family time complete, we got to put in two dozen pavers weighing 34 pounds each.
Isn't summer vacation fun?
I do have to recommend the upper Mississippi river for a beautiful sight. I am always surprised at how lovely the river is along the Wisconsin border. If you haven't seeen it. Put it on your list.
I still haven't figured out how to load photos...but the fax works good.
We still have little girls....who, by fall, will be boy-crazy. This is Diamond. They all have a spotted sire, thay all look similar to Diamond....the dark ones may be showing modified tendencies. Actually, The only one who looks Sunshine, who is dark moorit.
A few of you may have room for a little girl yet. Some of you don't.
If you do....have-I-got-a-deal-for-you....!....?

Sunday, July 06, 2008


I just read Karen's What-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation.

Way to go...we all need summer vacation.

Because of the kitty eating lambs without permission....we asked our oldest to come take some missouri air on his vacation....while we went on ours.

Our summer vacation began at 1 am on Saturday morning, when we tried to get ahead of a huge warned storm, by loading the sheep in the dark. Only one ewe managed to escape during loading, and we did get her back in without much delay. By late Saturday afternoon we got a free truck and sheep wash from Lake Erie. If you have never had a lake-effect storm, take it from me...avoid Lake Erie! Later that night, we finally arrived at our sheep's new home. We could tell everything was beautiful....even tho it was dark. I must say the new family was very patient and kind as we kept them all up into the second day of our vacation.

Our "second summer vacation" began with a quick trip down the NewYork Mountains into Pa. Bopeep was lacking sleep, and many of her marbles spilled down the mountain....but no one claimed to notice. Our truck did sport a new couple of cracks in the windshield from Bopeep swatting a fly. However, we did eventually arrive OK at the new home of our old high school and college friends. These folks actually introduced Bopeep to her one and only the fall of 19 something.....ohhhhh. You don't want to know that!

Anyway, we made the most of our vacation and all stayed up until it was Monday....and the "Peeps family" had to leave. Arriving home before midnight on Monday, we were glad to have made the trip....and anxious for another "vacation".
I do have some lovely photos of Summer Daylilies...but, the storm on Saturday morning, fried our Fax machine...and the new one installed on Tuesday....doesn't want to load my photos off my unless the computer genius tells us what to do next....we won't have new photos.
Argh!!!!! This is Puerto Rico....growing nicely....and looking for a new home that doesn't want to eat him....or otherwise tamper with him.
And this is what's left of Peeps, saying...go ahead...take a summer vacation.