Moms are eating. Babies are napping.
Moms are eating. Babies are napping.
Shearing Day here was way back in early February. I wrote a post about shearing the rams, but never got to the rest of it.
As I went through my photos I realized that a lot of them are of people, not sheep. But that is what makes Shearing Day here so fun–my fabulous Farm Club. The Fiber members chose their fleeces this day, but other members were here too. Everyone has a job and it makes the day go so smoothly.
The star of the show is our shearer, John.
John’s shearing shoes.
Stephany and Gynna…
…and Brenda were sheep wranglers, never letting John run out of sheep.
Deborah and Lorrian pushed sheep to the shearing pen.
Kathleen weighed fleeces.
Amy worked the gate in where the sheep left after being shorn.
With all these other people working…
…I could just lounge.
Here is Hallie after shearing…
…and this is the beautiful result.
Trista: “Does this shearing job make my head look big?”
Speaking of heads several of us wore our Baa-ble hats.
Some people left before we took these last photos, but there was still quite a crew for this photo.
This is a blog post that I meant to write a few months ago following our summer Road Trip to Colorado. While traveling I took photos of sheep I saw along the way. I forgot about this until I was going through photos tonight for another project.
This was a band of sheep on the way to Bodie, a ghost town in Mono County, California. There are more photos of them in the post that is linked above.
not all hardly any of the sheep I saw were alive. That doesn’t mean they weren’t impressive however.
A bighorn ram outside the visitor center at Arches National Park.
Another ram inside the gift store.
Petroglyphs seen on one of our hikes in the park…
…and a license plate in the parking lot (not a sheep, but I thought a mountain goat was cool anyway).
After hiking all day in the park we stopped at the visitor center to fill up our water jugs and spent a little time with this ewe and lamb.
Maybe it is a stretch but this is a photo of Sheep Mountain on the way to Leadville, Colorado.
One of the old buildings in Leadville. OK, so it’s not sheep, but it’s fiber related, right?
Also on a street in Leadville.
In the restaurant where we had lunch (another mountain goat)…
…and in one of the old hotels on the main street.
I’d sure love to have brought home this ram…
…but that price tag on his leg says $2900 (marked down from $4770).
This print was on the wall of our motel room in Leadville.
Somewhere on the road after leaving Leadville.
On the way home we saw sheep and some other fiber animals in a few places but I was always too late with the camera. I barely caught these yaks. With the exception of the first day, this was not a sheep-watching trip (at least not live sheep). The last sheep photo I got was one that Dan pointed out to me:
An anticlimactic photo of sheep on the road.
A few weeks ago two of my friends did their fall shearing. Since I didn’t have to do any work I just visited and took photos.
I don’t know which is which but this is one of Jackie’s Herdwick sheep, either Heddy or Hazel.
I do know this ewe because she lived here for many years. This is Diamond who is now almost 17 years old.
Lucy is Diamond’s granddaughter. She is almost 10.
Camelids are not my favorite animals but they can be photogenic. Jackie’s llama is named Peridot…
…and her alpaca is Evangeline.
Jackie’s flock after shearing. Jackie shears twice a year because many of her sheep are long-wools and benefit from twice/year shearing. The Jacob sheep will be shorn in the spring.
The next shearing location was Colleen’s place.
This is Colleen’s older ram, Razor,…
…and her younger ram, Thor.
When doing anything with the rams at Colleen’s farm you have to deal with the Goose. (Thanks, Dona for this photo.) The Goose is bonded with and protective of Razor (as if he needs protecting) but has a sincere dislike of Thor. Thor usually has to live separately to keep the goose from continually harassing him.
Razor is about as big as John, the shearer, and probably weighs more.
Velvet, the cat, enjoying the sun and the smell of lanolin.
Colleen raises Romeldale and CVM sheep that have very fine wool…
…and the unique “badger” face pattern.
After shearing we enjoyed surprise birthday cupcakes (mine–yes, I chose to spend my birthday watching sheep shearing) at Colleen’s outdoor table. Velvet joined us.
Before I get back to my Road Trip blogs I have a few more photos to share. No big surprises in this post like there were in the last one, but Dona sent me the great photos that she had taken of the show. And since I’m writing another fair post I’ll include a few others as well.
I didn’t see much of the fair besides the livestock area but I walked around briefly. Here is what caught my eye.
On the wall of the livestock office.
Another longhorn, this time with not-so-symmetrical horns.
A “corn-box” for children.
This seems like a good idea for kids but I think I’d want it far from my house. It’s hard to tell in the photo but there are metal bars hanging at each station for banging “music making”.
I always like walking through “The Farm” to get ideas for my garden. I like these bricks that made the corners of the raised beds. It would be easy to change the location of the beds.
Back to the show ring. Rotor was sometimes reluctant at moving around the ring.
Here he is at the head of the class of Shetlands and Karakuls.
This is the Primitive Breeds Champion judging.
None of my other sheep did as well as Rotor. The judge preferred his fleece over that of my other sheep, although I think they are just fine. Meridian Honey, shown by my husband, had won Champion Jacob ewe at Black Sheep Gathering in June, but she was last in this class. That is part of showing any livestock, especially Jacob sheep. There is such a wide variety in acceptable traits in our sheep that it may not really be appropriate to judge them against each other. That is why Jacobs used to be judged by “card-grading”. Each sheep would get a “grade” based on the characteristics–not putting one of a similar grade above another. But that’s not how it’s done in traditional livestock shows.
These are my two yearling ewes, Meridian Honey and Meridian Zinnia.
This is the Jacob portion of the Primitive Breeds ewe lamb class. The two lambs without much color have a bit more on the other side. They are sisters and my friend, Mary, has bought one of them.
Here is our Flock entry in the Primitive Breeds Division.
Rotor’s debut on the photo stage after winning this show. See the previous blog for his other winning photos.
We interrupt this blog series…
I am not even half way through sharing photos and stories about our recent Road Trip, but for the last four days I have been at the State Fair and I have to share that experience.
Every year I wonder if it’s really worth the time and effort to go to the fair. My friends and I go to Black Sheep Gathering because…hmmm…why do we go? It’s a Road Trip With Sheep. I just bring sheep, look at fiber, and hang around with my friends. That can’t be said for the California State Fair. Although it’s close to home, it’s a lot of work. I set up a big display booth and my Farm Club friends and I staff it all day. It’s hot (105 this year), dusty, and I stay every night until about 8:30 because there are so many people still in the barn. We are under pressure to keep the area spotless and be nice to everyone because we are in contention for a couple of major awards for the display.
For Farm Club member, Mary, who is also a new farm owner, this was a new experience. She has been here before but it’s different when you have your own sheep. Before we can put the sheep in the barn they are checked by the veterinarians.
Once the sheep are settled in their pens we start with the display.
There is prestige and a good monetary award at stake for the Marketing Program that “should be directed at potential customers and show case the exhibitors Breeding Program and Operation”. Here is the scorecard:
Here is the finished display.
I’m glad that I had the last minute thought to provide a Touching Table. That came to me when I was looking for something else in the barn and came across these horns. We’ll expand on this next year. I was especially glad I thought about this when I realized that I had forgotten to bring the A-frame that holds some of our other interactive display material.
In addition to the Marketing Program, there are Herdsman awards that are offered “to encourage attractive, educational, and high quality presentations of all livestock exhibits”. The Herdsman Award is judged on :
In addition there is Best Educational Presentation over all the species entered in the three week run of the fair.
Farm Club members help to set up the display and come each day to staff the area and answer endless questions.
This is the crew that was at the fair on Friday.
I think they worry that I will forget to eat. On $2 Sample Thursday (all the fair food booths have to include a $2 item on their menus) they returned with this treat for me. I have a good photo of all of them eating their selections but they wouldn’t let me use it.
Other faces in the barn include:
This Lincoln across the aisle from us.
Suffolk ram that was just down the aisle.
Longhorn steer at the other end of the barn.
This is one of Mary’s new lambs who seemed delighted with the attention.
The yearling ram, Meridian Rotor, standing behind the “DO NOT PET THE RAMS” sign.
We spent the four days answering questions
I spun three skeins of singles yarn while I was there.
But it’s really supposed to be all about the sheep show.
Mary and Russ practicing with their sheep.
Dona, Mary, and Amy prepping sheep for the show. We don’t do all the fitting that other breeds do. That morning I had taken each sheep to the wash stall to clean their legs and feet. We wiped their noses and cleaned the grime off the eartags. Then we pretty much just brushed off the straw and were ready to go.
The show started with yearling rams and I was thrilled when Rotor was placed first in his class and then awarded Champion Ram of the Primitive Breeds Division. The judge was not as happy with the rest of my sheep and they were interspersed with or at the end of the line-up of Shetland and Karakul sheep that were also in our division. Even Honey, who was champion Jacob ewe at Black Sheep Gathering, was placed last in her class.
The breed show was Saturday. On Sunday champions from all 14 Divisions compete for the award of Supreme Champion. Rotor lo0ks pretty small in that line-up. (Some of those smaller sheep ahead of him are ram lambs that won their divisions.) As the judge went down the line he stopped and scrutinized him more than the others.
He was one of four rams pulled out of the line-up to be in contention for the award.
Thanks to Dona who got these great photos of us in the ring. In this photo the judge is discussing the four rams and said that although he wouldn’t ever want a Jacob (at least I think I heard that) he was very impressed with Rotor.
He awarded Rotor Supreme Champion Ram of the State Fair!!!
Here is me right after with all my loot.
Oh yeah, some of that is for the Herdsman and Marketing awards. Usually that is the highlight for me because I don’t expect to win with my sheep.
From right to left: Supreme Champion Ram (banner and buckle); Best Educational Presentation (Herdsman); Best Program (Marketing); Third Best Educational Presentation over all the species for the three weeks of the fair; Second in Herdsman; Best Marketing Program.
Of all the years showing in 4-H and later with our dairy and then with sheep, I’ve never had a belt buckle! I guess I need some Wranglers to go with it. And maybe some boots. I realized after the show that I hadn’t even changed into my (work) boots for the show and I was wearing those sandals through the whole thing. The excuse is that it the show was at 5 p.m. in the afternoon of a 105 degree day. (I was wearing jeans though. This picture was taken later at home.)
The last few blog posts were about Black Sheep Gathering. One reason that I decided to go this year was that I could bring home some new sheep. Here they are:
Windy Acres Bronagh, 3 years old, lilac (that’s a gray-brown color in Jacob sheep lingo).
This is her fleece…
…and here is another view.
Another sheep is 2-year old Hunter’s Glen Scout.
This is her fleece…
…and another view.
Bide a wee Hallie is a yearling with very pretty horns…
…and a long, open fleece.
Shadow Mountain Shelby is a yearling…
…with a fine crimpy fleece.
Kenleigh’s Sheena is the last yearling.
I brought home two lambs from bide a wee Farm. I just realized that I didn’t get a decent photo of the ram lamb, buster. This ewe lamb is Trista and I just love this little lamb. She is one of those sheep who seems to have a friendly nature and is taming herself.
And look at her lovely fleece.
I can’t wait to see these fleeces next February and new lambs in March.