Last night, we were the excited recipients of a personal delivery. Shortly after dark, there was a truck pulling a trailer that came into the driveway, causing me much delight!.
What have we here?!
Some of you might recognize the ears on these critters...
Yes indeed, they are Blue-faced Leicester (BFL) sheep. All NINE of them! Can you tell that I'm beside myself with excitement?
Quite recently, Carol of Zephyr Sheep Farm in Indiana decided to move on to a new phase in her life. A sheepless phase. I'm not sure how she's going to like being without sheep, but she has made her decision and it's the right one for her at this time. As a result, she was selling her flock of 9 beautiful, friendly, and remarkably adaptable BFL sheep. I decided to buy her entire flock. Here's Carol unloading Black Pearl, a stunning natural coloured ewe.
They are a new breed for us, but their fleeces are just beautiful and make wonderful spinning yarns. In addition, there are not many BFL flocks in Iowa, so we may be able to share their superb genetics with some sheep enthusiasts here in our state.
Carol and her flock arrived in a cold, heavy rain last night, after dark. We decided to leave the sheep in the trailer for the night with hay and water, rather than trying to move them through the quagmire of our barnyard in the rain and the dark, risking losing one and having to chase a scared and disoriented sheep in the dark. I think it was a good plan. Here's Cragganmore the ram, being greeted by our Icelandic ram lamb, Rocky.
We moved the ewes this morning into the pasture with our llamas. The llamas gave them a sniff and then essentially ignored them. A couple of hours later, the sheep had firmly established "ownership" of the barn and the llamas were lying down outside the barn in the pasture.
We have 7 ewes and 2 rams, several of which are already natural coloured (i.e. black/grey) and some of which carry the genetics for producing coloured offspring. We are also thrilled with the beautiful white fleeces of the others, which will take dye beautifully and will produce warm, lofty yarns. I can't wait for shearing time! But, before that, we will be having lambs! Yes, all 7 ewes are due in either February or early March. Here's the other ram, Craigsley (this year's lamb) greeting our ram lambs.
Thanksgiving Day on Whispering Acres will be spent doing a huge barn clean-up and building lambing pens. We'd rather do it now while the weather is comparatively warm, rather than waiting until January. Brrrrr!!! We want to ensure these lambs are born inside, rather than outside in the cold of an Iowa February. It's quite possible that some of the ewes will have twins, or possibly even triplets, so we are very excited to share their stories with you in the coming months.
Today's pictures simply do not do justice to these gorgeous animals. The sky was dreary, the ground is wet and slippery, and the poor sheep were in a new place with unknown companions. In the coming weeks, I will be posting more pictures of them as we progress in farm building projects and clean up. For now, please join me in welcoming the New Nine to the farm. The ewes are Leslie, Sloan, Corsica, Alystyne, Assyria, Paisley and Black Pearl. The rams are Craigsley and Cragganmore. All are registered Blue-faced Leicesters that we are very proud and pleased to call our own.
Thank you Carol, for making your beautiful flock available to us!