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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good things come in....nines?

Finally!  I can take a few moments from studying and other tasks to talk about the great excitement that has descended upon Whispering Acres in the past two days.  Well, probably a couple of weeks, but it has come to a peak in the past two days.  What could possibly generate excitement here?  Oh come on, if you're a reader, you know by now...

SHEEP!!!

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!





20 comments:

Holly said...

I am going to buy a little Leicaster wool for our daughter for Christmas. I've given her my old spinning wheel and the gals at Spin Off magazine told her that Leicaster was a good fiber to choose to begin learning to spin. My daughter works for Interweave Press at Crochet. Her co-workers said the wool is buttery and the fibers slide nicely by each other. Have you ever spun with it? I haven't. I gravitate toward fine micron wools, alpaca etc.

Holly said...

Oh I forgot to tell you Congradulations! When are the ewes due?

Gail said...

Good for ewe! I love the natural colored one.

Aimee said...

what a handsome lot of animals! Congratulations.

taylorgirl6 said...

They are all so beautiful! Congratulations on expanding your menagerie yet again. I am terribly envious, but I feel somehow satisfied that I may live vicariously through the sheep of others.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

How beautiful AND BIG they are! Congratulations on your new family additions! Goat kisses from Isobelle!

tennismom said...

Hi Claire -
Congratulations!! As a fellow spinner I am VERY excited for you - I hope to see some of that lovely wool at the next (fall) Yarn School!
Have lots of fun with your New Nine!


Carol

Becky Utecht said...

Welcome to the ranks of Bluefaced Leicester owners Claire! I know you will absolutely love their fleece, and it won't take long for you to become enamored by their friendly, docile personalities. Best of luck with your lambing, I know Carol's sheep have given her triplets pretty often.

Christy said...

Congratulations! They are beautiful sheep. I know someone who raises them and says they are very friendly.

Mom L said...

Congratulations on your new sheep, Claire! And to think you'll have babies next year - way to go! What does Marshmallow think of the newbies?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Kelly.

Nancy

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! How exciting! They look so much bigger than your current sheep, too.

Springtime is going to be a very busy time for you, thats for sure! lol!

Beautiful way to start a Thanksgiving Day. Looks like you have to be thankful for, my friend.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your day with your two and four legged loved ones.

~Lisa

Terri and Randy Carlson said...

Oooohhhh! I am so jealous! I just love working with the bfl wool. How fun for you!

Michelle said...

I am happy for you and for Carol; how wonderful that her flock could stay together! Very nice animals....

BlueGate said...

Hee hee, Congratulations Claire, you mad woman, you!
Between you Sally, Lorraine and Cherie, you're going to keep the PrairieSpinners group in local wool all year round!

Flartus said...

Wow, I can tell how excited you are about the new arrivals! I can't wait to hear about the lambs and the shearing. If you're ever interested in selling some of your yarn, I have a mother who's always got a knitting project underway!

I hope you got a moment to enjoy some turkey between chores!

dizzylettuce said...

Claire, I am beside myself with excitement for some of the
BFL yarn. Sooo gorgeous & how special to have some from your flock! I am first, I don't care if it's dyed or not!!

kenleighacres said...

How exciting!!! If I had enough property to have a second breed it would definitely be BFL's :) They are so cool - congrats!!!

Brenda said...

Hello Claire, I'm glad to hear that the Blueface's have found a farm where they can all remain together. If you have any questions about any of them, Cragganmore, Leslie, Sloan, and the gang, feel free to drop me an email at beechtrfrm@aol.com.
PS, give Crag a good chin scratching and a hug from me (his mum) Brenda at Beechtree Farm.

Candy T said...

I have heard wonderful things about BFL wool. But the stuff I got a couple of years ago on ebay was awful. Easy to spin, but it felt like steel wool. I am now thinking that I got a bad batch and will trying again next spring. Congratulations on your new additions.

Split Rock Ranch said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful flock and you are going to have SO much fun playing with those BFL fleeces when shearing time comes!