Watch out for the teeth!

While it’s true that sometimes an overly enthusiastic (make that greedy) ewe will clamp onto my finger while grabbing treats, sheep teeth are nothing in comparison to hackle teeth.

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These things are sharp! Despite the danger, the hackle that Dave built me is today’s favorite fiber tool. This is a one row blending hackle. Its usual use is to blend prepared fiber.  But I’m not working with prepared fiber this week. I’m attacking a basket of “leftover” fiber – fiber that needs work before going through the drum carder and I’m too lazy to do the work. This is fiber with cotted tips or more VM that will come out with easy picking or hand teasing.

Going against convention, the fiber was lashed onto the hackle by grabbing a handful of fiber and lashing on willy-nilly rather than carefully laying in locks.  By lashing on just a few fibers at a time, the fiber is straightened, the tips are opened, and most of the VM falls out.

After lashing on, the fiber is removed with a diz. This diz came with my Patrick Green Supercard and is called a “roving guide”. It’s really just a diz, but it’s a nice diz.

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Because the fiber wasn’t perfectly prepared, the roving has some bumps and lumps.

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I like the yarn pretty well for salvage yarn.

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Time Flies

It seems like just yesterday I put the breeding groups together, but it’s time to start thinking about lambing already! Lambing will begin in April.

We bred 14 ewes this year to 3 rams.

Patchwork Finbar had six ewes – Patchwork Tempo, Patchwork Flair, Moose Mtn. Reina, Patchwork Marabelle, St. Jude’s Duchess, and Patchwork Sashay.

Wiggle Hill Jericho had five ewes – Unzicker Emily, Cold Valley Loretta, Hillside Holly, Canoe Lake Jewel, and Patchwork Jazz

Hillside Tristan had three ewes – Southwind Indigo, Patchwork Lisha, and St. Jude’s Callie.

It can be hard to pick breeding crosses when you are trying to balance all the diverse traits that make Jacob Sheep unique. I don’t want to lose the diversity of the breed in my flock by focusing on one trait.

So – let’s play “why that cross?”  Completely from my point of view and not intended as a guideline for anyone else.  I breed for what will fit in my flock the best. I have a small flock and I don’t breed to market.

Wiggle Hill Jericho x Hillside Holly

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This is one of my most anticipated fleece crosses of the year. Both have long, demi-luster crimped fleeces, with clean colors.  Aside from fleece – both have the feet and leg markings I like, but neither have freckled fleeces. Both exhibit correct Jacob structure. Holly is a lilac and Jericho is a lilac carrier.  While I don’t breed specifically for lilacs,  it’s fun when they show up. Bloodlines played a big part in this cross. A ram lamb from this cross with this diverse mix of bloodlines would be an outcross for almost every ewe in my flock. And a Holly daughter would also be welcome as Holly turns ten this year. Maybe one of each?

Patchwork Finbar x Patchwork Marabelle

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This cross is an emphasis on bloodlines. In contrast to the Jericho/Holly cross, which combines unrelated lines, this cross combines related lines. Marabelle and Finbar share a common granddam, my flock matriarch Craft’s Ruby’s Belle.  RubyBelle contributed much to our flock in her 15 years with us. In addition to bloodlines, Finbar’s softer, crimpier fleece should work well on Marabelle’s long, more lustrous, less crimped fleece.  Both exhibit desirable horns and both have backgrounds (on both sides) of strong ewe horns. Both are the finer more primitive type that I prefer.  Finbar is a lilac and Marabelle is a lilac carrier.

Time flies – so time to go! Back soon (as time allows).

 

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Just some random photos

I really do plan to catch up on blogging. The ewes and rams are together and lambs will be arriving in April. I’ll post some breeding groups photos soon.

For now – just a few photos from blog post drafts

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Patchwork Badger is not only a great producer, she’s my pet ewe.  A true “in your face” girl.

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Jubal and Finbar “lock horns” as lambs.

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Weaving rugs can be therapeutic. They don’t call it a beater for nothing!

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I was finally adventurous enough to trust my mushroom id judgement and fry up some wild mushrooms. So good!!

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Today, Dave is looking like his old self again.  We are looking forward to 2018.

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Back to Normal (ish)

As some of you know, our life hit a major bump in September when Dave was diagnosed with throat cancer.  It was a long haul with chemo, radiation, a time in the hospital, and a second surgery in July.  We dealt with problems and stresses we’d rather forget, but also found strengths we didn’t know we had and gained a new appreciation for the meaning of friendship.  We feel grateful to have such wonderful friends and family. We’re not quite back to normal, but things are looking up.

On May 10, I lost my 12 year old Great Dane, Maggie, to old age.  It wasn’t the time to think about a new puppy. Our life was still in flux and I was still missing Maggie.

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Finally, it was time! Welcome to Great Dane number 6 (over 40 years), Elsa, a 3 month old pup. Life is better when you have a new puppy to play with 🙂 It’s good to be able to focus on the frivolous and the fun again.  Life seems normal (ish) again.  Hello to Baby Elsa #2.

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Baby Elsa #1 is 12 years old and still here, although she’s grown a bit.

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In Like A Lion Out Like A Lamb

was a fitting description of the first day of March where a trip to Asheville included some serious wind gusts on the way over the mountain.

Unzicker Emily ended the month of February with “out like a lamb” – well, out like two lambs

Welcome to the first Patchwork Finbar lambs..
Patchwork Dublin (2 horned ewe) has her sire’s icy blue eyes

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Her twin, Patchwork Darby, is a four horned ewe with soft blue grey eyes

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Tickle’s twins – the first lambs by Wiggle Hill Jubal – arrived on March 6. I started the year with a naming theme of towns in the state where the dam was born. I used the theme before and it was fun. But it’s more fun to just let the names happen.  There are no towns in Georgia named Jubilee or Heinlein 🙂

Patchwork Jubilee is a four horned lilac ewe

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Jubilee’s twin brother is a two horned lightly marked lilac. His blue eyes don’t show up in this flash photo. We have lots of blue eyed lambs this year!

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Cold Valley Loretta’s twins by Patchwork Finbar were out like lions! These two were in a hurry to be born and they hit the ground bouncing. Patchwork China – lilac 4 horned ram with Finbar’s icy blue eyes on the left – and Patchwork Celeste – lilac 4 horned ewe also with Finbar’s blue eyes – on the right.
(Even though I’ve moved on from naming lambs after towns, it’s still fun to browse town names. Wisconsin is fascinating in using the same town name as many as five times! )

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Patchwork Badger took a bit more time than Loretta, but did a great job with Wiggle Hill Jericho’s first lamb. Patchwork Nesos – a striking two horned boy.

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As we await only the second winter weather in an otherwise record breaking warm winter, I wonder if we’ll see some lambs in the snow? Tune in next week  (or whenever).

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New new Sheep and new old Sheep

After cutting back the flock last fall, we moved into 2017 with 21 sheep – 11 bred ewes (Canoe Lake Jewel joined the bred ewe flock in November) , 3 rams, 2 yearling ewes, and 5 unbred ewes.

We are now at 27 sheep – 14 bred ewes, 3 rams, 2 yearling ewes, 5 unbred ewes, and 2 lambs!

It was bittersweet to add four older ewes from two flock dispersals in January. It is always sad to see respected breeders leave the world of Jacob Sheep breeding.  But I was fortunate to be able to add –

The New Old Sheep

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Broken O Trudee is a 9 year old girl. Originally bred by Mickey Ramirez (Broken O)in Fort Collins, CO, she traveled to Jennifer and Brian Tucker (Moose Mtn.) in Bennett, CO as a lamb and came to Georgia in January 2017. As a bonus, Trudee was bred to Windy Acres MacCallum. Trudee is a big girl with a strong personality!

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Broken O Dotted Eye traveled from CO with Trudee. She is a 12 year girl and is bred to a Moose Mtn. ram. She is a sweet girl. And the biggest Jacob ewe I’ve ever had!

Thank you to Alena and Jack Hixon (Dragonwool) for adding these two lovely old girls to your trailer.

 

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I’ve been wanting this ewe for years and finally she is mine! Thank you to Kim Sutton (S-Squared) in Oklahoma for getting St. Jude’s Callie to Georgia. Callie is a 9 year old who was born in Texas. She is bred to Painted Rock Storm. She loves treats and scratches.

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Because Callie would have been lonely on the trip to Georgia (and because what’s one more sheep?) 8 year old St. Jude’s Duchess made the trip with Callie. Duchess is bred to S-Squared Atticus. Duchess is a calm, but aloof girl. She’s easy to handle, but doesn’t seek out attention like Callie.

Because nothing is static in shepherding –

The New New Sheep

Right on schedule Broken O Trudee added the first of the 2017 new new sheep on February 11.

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Moose Mtn. Frisco (ram) Broken O Trudee x Windy Acres MacCallum

And his twin sister..

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Moose Mtn. Delta

 

Next up? Probably Unzicker Emily with Patchwork Finbar’s first lambs – stay tuned!

 

 

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Back Again

It’s easy to post a sentence or two and a photo on Facebook. I’ve neglected my blog which I enjoy more. So I’m back to blogging. HI!!!

Plans for fall breeding didn’t go as planned. Health issues took the front seat in our lives in September and continue to be our main focus. We decided to not bring any sheep from the other barn home to the rams and just breed 10 ewes. Because sheep are still a big part of our focus. And a source of relaxation and stress relief for me (usually).

As usual, plans didn’t go quite as planned and our 10 bred ewes jumped to 15. More on that in the next post.

Today was just a nice day to take my $10 thrift store camera out when I was feeding and take a few pictures. The ewes are starting to show the promise of lambs to come!

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Patchwork Tickle had twins her first time lambing . She’s not due until March 10. I think she’s going to continue her twinning tradition. With her marbled blue eyes and Wiggle Hill Jubal’s blue eye (and one marbled eye), I think we’ll have some blue eyes.
Lilac ewe bred to a lilac carrier ram.

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Patchwork Finbar (in the front) photo bombs the photo of Jubal. Finbar is a serious ham.

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Moose Mtn. Reina is due 3/13. She’s looking a little saggy :).
Reina is a lilac and is bred to Patchwork Cowboy, a lilac carrier. Cowboy left Patchwork in November to spend time at The Cove Fields in NC before heading to Havencroft in Arkansas in January.

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Southwind Indigo came to us from New York in October, bred to Ballard Escapade. I’m not sure of her due date – probably mid March – but am confident she’s got some lambs in there. Surprises are fun and common when raising sheep. She’ll know when it’s time even if I don’t.

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Old dog, Maggie, isn’t expecting anything but supper, some hugs, and a warm bed! She is 11 1/2 (old for a Great Dane) and has had a bit of rough time this year with her hips. She wiggles a little when she walks, but still makes the trip with me every evening to feed sheep.

 

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