Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Icelandic Ram Game

Doesn't this look like fun? Even if you don't want to actually play the game, it would be a great reference for AI Icelandic rams. It has just become available online through "Shop Icelandic"

I ordered a set today. Of course while I was at it, I had to browse through the other items. I found this cute Icelandic sheep, which is supposed to be some sort of cell phone decoration. I think she looks rather mischievous, don't you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Updates coming soon!

January! Cold and blustery winter days. A fresh pot of soup simmers on the stove nearly every day, warming the kitchen. I love soup in the winter.
I have diligently been working on improving our website Our flock is growing, and how can I sell sheep without a decent website? We have used the 1 & 1 host, with one of their templates. For some reason, it has not been compatible with our computer/windows system, browser, etc. Updating it is a nightmare, which is my excuse for lack of updates. I've been working on Frontpage software to update our site. It should be up before lambing begins in late March. Hopefully sooner, though! I do have a few bred ewes that I'd like to sell. I love designing the web site. After all, I do have a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in graphic design. The technical aspect is something else. When I went to college, we didn't even have computers! I'm really not that old, either.
I've taken thousands of photos of my Icelandic sheep in the past eight years. I'm trying to find a decent side pose of each of the 50 or so sheep of in my current flock. Not easy! I will have to remind myself next summer to take more side shots. Especially in the fall when they are looking fabulous sporting their full fleeces. Some ewes are so friendly, with their faces right in the camera. I can never get side shots of those girls. I took photography classes in college. The old fashioned kind, developing and processing your own prints. Now, with the click of a mouse, I can edit the photos in no time. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements, which can do amazing things. I need to learn more. I love the way I can erase hay in the fleeces or a eliminate a runny nose.
We may finally be upgrading to high speed Internet, instead of the satellite dish-woo hoo!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old Reliable

It happens every winter without fail. Our outdoor water sources freeze up, one by one. The faucet by the back door is the first to go. Then the line to the stock tank in the barnyard. Finally, the water hydrant by the milk house. Not even a heat lamp can bring it out of hibernation. This is when we turn to "Old Reliable", the hand pump on our deck. It's right over our well, a shallow, sand point well dug in the 1800's. So, we get a good workout, hauling buckets of water to 50+ sheep.
I enjoy the quiet of winter after the holidays. It's a good time to get caught up with sheep paperwork (registrations), read, work with wool and dream about spring lambs. Most of the year there's so much to do outside, indoor tasks get neglected. Whether it's the daily task of moving the electronet, filling stock tanks, famacha checks, along with gardening, building upkeep, etc. Winter demands are few... hay twice a day for the sheep, water for the heated buckets, mineral feeders filled, a bit of hoof trimming. The pregnant ewes are mellow. If they're not eating, they're dozing in the barn or basking in the winter sun
on their south facing porch.
This is Gretchen, a triplet ewe lamb out of Deidra. She is one of my wild, skittish girls. I hope she settles down soon. Several of Fudge's offspring have his high-strung temperament.
I think it's the leadersheep genetics.

Ewe lamb Garland, Pippi's super chunky girl with the most annoying voice I've ever heard. No quiet baa's from her. Whenever she sees me, she bellows loudly

Grace, another 2009 triplet ewe, sitting in her favorite spot.
She is so much like her momma Charlotte.
Not a flocker, content to do her own thing.
I like that in a girl!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas goodies

Did you get any fun fiber related gifts for Christmas? I did! Some new books, Knitting Little Luxuries...a book that has been out for a while. Lovely, feminine designs that don't look too difficult for my limited knitting skills.Also, The Knitters Book of Wool, which will surely become a classic. I love all of Clara Parkes books.

Teaching Yourself Visually Hand Dyeing written by Barbara Parry, a very eloquent blogger that I enjoy. Teach Yourself Visually Knitting, the updated version will be available later this winter. I have it on order. I am determined to become a better knitter this year!I also received a nice shipment from Paradise Fibers. I love ordering from them. They have such a wonderful selection of spinning fibers, dyes, and other goodies. I got a yarn yardage counter, several Country Classic Dyes, 2 new jumbo bobbing for my Kromski wheels ( I got the new jumbo flyer for my December birthday), plus, some new spinning fibers--Tussah Silk Noils, Seacell, and some Tencell. I love playing with new fibers, and will blend these with my Icelandic on my drum carder. I am so busy with the sheep during most of the year, winter is the only time I can really spend some time experimenting with fiber blends, dyeing, etc.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Farm Accidents

I went out to feed tonight and found Falla dead! Somehow, she had gotten her horn caught on the manger, flipped over, and strangled herself. UGGGHHHH!!!!! This was one of my most prized yearlings. Not the friendliest of girls, but with valuable new bloodlines to our flock. She was bred to Finn, and since he carries spotting, those lambs would have been spotted beauties. It's times like this that I kick myself, thinking, why didn't I go out to feed before starting dinner? What could I have done to prevent this? She will certainly be missed. Her brother is Fudge, and now I'm really glad that we used him as a breeding lamb last year, so the genetics won't be totally lost. Even with a flock of 40 ewes, I find losses like this very sad.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Winters Day

It's been so cold here! Power outages and a dead furnace have added a little more work to the daily chores. Belle knows how to stay warm, snuggle up in the sheep manger! What a brat she is. I've been working on some socks, some lovely yarn from
Blue Moon Fiber Arts I am the slowest knitter on the planet,
that's for sure.
Here is Ivan, modeling my socks. He feels tortured and unhappy about it. He will probably be an old man before they are finished. Oh, if only I could concentrate on my knitting! Why can't I be a better knitter? I love to spin, and I guess that's just my thing. I do need to work on my knitting, though.
Have you ever seen the movie Fargo? That's what the scenery looks like, the field south of our farm. Bleak, bleak, bleak!!! I will have to look at this for another 4 months! At least I can look forward to lambing season. I have a lot of sheep paperwork to keep me busy in the upcoming months.
Plus, the never ending task of home improvements. A view of our creek. It's been a strange winter season. The creek is usually frozen by now, and we are skating.
We had a lovely visit from the girls from Mainely Ewes Farm in Maine. I'm so in awe of them! What determination, what vision, do they ever sleep? I don't think so. I want to live life with such joy and reckless abandon. Isn't that what it's all about?
Kudos to the girls at Mainely Ewes Farm!