Maryland 2018 – Days 3 & 4 MSWF

This is the third post for MSWF. Go backwards in the blog if you want to read the others.

I missed the shearing part of the Sheep to Shawl competition on Saturday morning and, by the time I made it to the tent where the competition was being held, one team had just cut their shawl off the loom.

That was Spin City. They had a Scout theme, complete with cookies and merit badges.

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I realize that unless you have a large screen you’re not going to be able to read the Merit Badge descriptions. Most have to do with becoming competent in skills of spinning, knitting, shearing, etc. However I particularly liked the one that shows a credit card and is awarded for: “Enabler (silver or gold). The requirements for earning this badge are: Teaching someone to knit, crochet, spin, felt, weave, or dye. You also must have ‘encouraged’ another to buy a braid of roving, skein of yarn, or spindle. Silver: If you have ever persuaded someone to buy a wheel or loom then you have earned the silver enabler award. Gold: To earn the gold enabler award you must have influenced someone’s decision to buy a farm,  fiber mill, or yarn store.” IMG_6873                The Fiber Friends’ sign said that they were “Celebrating the Royal Wedding with a Royal Shawl”.

Definitely a royal purple theme.

The third team was called Friends Thru Fiber and had a butterfly theme.

I was showing sheep Saturday afternoon and didn’t make it back to this area to find out who won the competition.

I mentioned in the last post about the opportunity to spend time with people who I rarely see.

20180505_081101               These are two of the JSBA inspectors that I communicate with via email a lot. Royal on the left, is the person who bought the sheep I brought. 20180505_133820                      Here is a photo of showing Serrano that Royal just sent me.

IMG_6923                 As things were winding down on Sunday afternoon I helped Royal load the sheep for his drive to Pennsylvania. That’s my two with their new friends.IMG_6925          Serrano in the trailer.IMG_6927               As I left the fairgrounds I took a few photos of the gorgeous countryside.IMG_6929                       I love seeing the farms and these old barns.

Back at the hotel…IMG_6933                   …I laid out my winnings.IMG_6977                    Stay tuned for one more day of Maryland adventures!

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Maryland 2018 – Days 3 & 4 MSWF

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was the reason for this trip. I spent the first day and a half in Maryland sightseeing and hiking (see previous two posts). The Festival was on Saturday and Sunday. I think I have enough photos here for a dozen posts, but I’ll try to limit myself to just a few. This post is devoted to the sheep. One of the cool things about this show is that there are examples of several rare sheep that may not be entered but are on display. DSC_0523            Scottish Blackface.DSC_0594                  Lincoln Longwool.DSC_0656            Kerry Hill.

DSC_0664       Leicester Longwool.DSC_0670                Tunis.

DSC_0658           Herdwick.

DSC_0672            Hog Island.DSC_0674            Clun Forest.DSC_0685              Shropshire.DSC_0692              Border Leicester.IMG_6760                And of course, Jacob. This is not my ram. This one had never been shorn.IMG_6718               My sheep were shorn in February which put them at a disadvantage at this show.IMG_6794            This is Jolene and Saffron waiting for the show.IMG_6846            Andy, who drove the sheep filled trailer out here, offered to show one of the ewes.IMG_6859                                                   He is an experienced showman, but I’ll bet this is the first Jacob he has shown.

IMG_6850                                                  My sheep place in the middle. The ram, Serrano, placed 4th out of 7 or 8. Jolene was 3rd and Saffron was 7th in a class of about 10.IMG_6864                     I hung around the Fine Natural Colored Wool show in case Andy needed help. This is one of Terri M’s fleeces. Color like a Jacob, but much finer.IMG_6886                 Look who was also on display. Making their debut, these are 50% Valais Black Nose sheep, the first generation in a breed-up program with the goal of producing almost 100% purebred sheep.

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IMG_6897           Elegant and cute at the same time!IMG_6869                  Seen in the parking lot!

More from the festival in the next post.

 

Lambtown 2017–Showing Sheep

I wrote a post about teaching and vendoring (a new word?) at Lambtown. Dona send me several photos of our sheep and Farm Club members that I can also share.

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Buster had his own pen. The ewes are Cindy and Vanna.

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Mary having a conversation with Buster.

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Mary and Lisa in the barn.

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Sumi, also in the barn. A lot of the Farm Club members were also on the Spinzilla team and were working to increase their yardage spun.

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Lisa rode the train back and forth from the barn to the vendor hall.

The sheep show was Sunday afternoon. Yearling rams were up first.

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Buster was the only one in his class.

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He didn’t want to cooperate.

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Do I really want to be dancing with a ram.

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I think not.

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He was better behaved on a halter…

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…and especially when tied to the fence after his turn.

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This is the rest of the sheep waiting their turns.

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Vicki helped with the ram lambs.

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We showed against Shetlands in the Primitive Breeds Division.

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Doris helped with the yearling ewes.

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Everyone was a winner. Thanks!

CA State Fair – 2017

Someone commented on a social media post something to the effect “It takes a village–no, it takes a Farm Club.” That’s so true. Farm Club came through again with helping me at the State Fair. Some other of our fiber friends were there as well.

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This is what the main part of the display looked like. When you set up a display at a fair, the first thing you have to figure out is how to make walls. There are no walls, just sheep pens. A few years ago I came up with the idea of using corrugated tin. Do you ever see those DIY or garden makeover shows? They buy tin and then spray it with acid to make it look old. We don’t need to do that. We just go out back and find plenty of beat up, rusty tin.

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The signs are mostly about Farm Club and include plenty of pretty pictures of sheep. I also had continuously running videos of the farm and sheep. That’s Jackie, Mary, Dona, and Doris spinning and making themselves available to talk to the hundreds of people who came by. DSC_2628

People admired Alison’s vest. The yarn is some that I spun during Tour de Fleece but plied at the fair.

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This year I added a Touching Table.

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Greenery is part of the scoring–or at least plant material is mentioned in some of the criteria. (20% Effective use of display materials. Paper, wood, metal, plastic, plants, etc.) I am always irritated that I have to go out and buy plants that I don’t need. It’s not that easy to find ones that look good for a display like this and then I can plant and keep alive here later. So this year I dug up shovel-fulls of the pasture and labeled them as such. Even though they weren’t “pretty” it made much more sense to me.

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Deborah, Alison, and Kathleen were there on Friday.

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This year signs in English and Spanish and having the plants and white chain (see upper photo) in front of the ram pen helped keep people away. Does it seem like overkill? The white chain was the last thing to take away when we packed up. When we went back in the barn to halter the sheep there was someone in the alleyway yanking on Buster’s horns. What can I say?

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I don’t mind the ewes having any attention they can handle. This is Vixen who learned that chin scratches are nice.

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Jude and Dona spinning on Saturday.

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Saturday was show day. I had cleaned the sheep up the day before, including scrubbing Buster’s horns.

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Here are the sheep at the ring ready to go.

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Yearling rams showed first. Buster was the easiest ram that I’ve shown in the last few years. I don’t see a blog post with a photo of him after I got him, but there is a photo here of him last October. He won his class and then was awarded Reserve Champion Ram of the Primitive Breeds Division.

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Doris was a huge help. She had her sheep showing debut at Black Sheep Gathering and she looked like a pro here. These sheep are the ewe lambs, Jolene and Jennie.DSC_8771

The next to last class is “Flock”. That’s one ram and four ewes. Not the best pose by Vixen, crossing her legs.

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The last class is “Best Pair”. I pay attention to what the judge says and use the two that he likes best. That’s the lamb, Jolene, and Buster.

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Most of my ribbons were red or white because there were some top notch Karakuls also entered in the show. They swept most of the awards. I’m happy with this award though and am satisfied with the others. The big competition was still to be determined.

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I reward myself each day with cold chocolate milk. Fair time and road trips are the only time I allow myself the luxury.

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Speaking of showing sheep, aren’t you glad you aren’t showing Suffolk sheep? Not only do you have to do all the work of fitting, they are the size of ponies.

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Back at the sheep pens, more spinning going on. This is Pat, Dona, and Susan’s husband (and Susan) who learned to spin just before I took this photo.

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And speaking of learning to spin, we added a couple of other new spinners to the ranks. I met Louis across the aisle from us. He is with Eureka Mohair and asked if he could try a wheel because he had started spinning on a spindle. I brought an extra wheel the next day and there was no looking back. He did well on the Ashford Traditional but decided that his favorite was the Ashford Joy.

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And this is my view of helping an 8-year old to spin. I treadled while he drafted.

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Eventually he was able to spin mostly by himself. (That full bobbin is mine however–I just let him add to it.) His family was showing sheep and he was glad to hang out with the rest of us who were spinning.

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The first day I plied his yarn and he wore it as a bracelet. The next day’s spinning made enough to be worn as a necklace. (He was also very excited about his henna tattoo.)

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On Sunday afternoon the Supreme Champion Ram and Ewe are selected from the Champions of each breed. This is the ram class. Southdown, Montedale, Dorper, White Dorper, Wether Sire, Dorset, Suffolk, Karakul (Primitive Breeds), Merino (Wool & Fiber Heritage Breed)  , Hampshire, Shropshire, Columbia, Natural Colored (can’t see that one), and All Other Breeds. In between the ram and the ewe class the other awards are announced.

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We did OK. This is 1st in Herdsman, Best Educational Presentation (sheep), Best Educational Presentation (all the livestock), Most Creative (Marketing), 2nd in Marketing Program. Thanks Farm Club and friends!!!

Black Sheep Gathering 2017- #2

I had too many photos for one post (as usual) so here is another of the weekend spent at Black Sheep Gathering. In the last post I mentioned Peyton, the new BFL ram. He just wrote a post on Rusty’s blog that you might want to check out.IMG_0526

In case you wondered what it was like to stay at BSG in a tent…here’s a photo of my camping spot. This wouldn’t have been fun if there was rain, but this time BSG was dry.

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The whole reason for going on a Road Trip with Sheep is to show them (and maybe to sell a few). We showed on Saturday morning. The crew that showed up to help include Deborah and Brenda, Farm Club members, and Doris, who knitted that beautiful shawl in the last post, and Vicki, who has sheep and Border Collies back home. None had shown sheep before so we had a quick sheep showing lesson before the show started and then brought the sheep to the holding pen. There weren’t enough Jacobs this year (one other breeder) and we were showing against some Shetlands in the NCWGA Primitive Breeds Division.

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There were no yearling rams entered so first up was the Ram Lamb class.

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The 4-horn lamb on the left here was awarded Reserve Champion Ram.

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Next was the Yearling Ewe class.

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It was followed by the Ewe Lamb class.

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The judge liked Jennie (front) best.

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The yearling ewe, Vixen (on the left), and Jennie (right) went into the Champion class…

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…and Jennie got Reserve Champion Ewe.

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As I say all the time, I couldn’t do this without the help of my friends…including the people who took photos and sent them to me. Thanks! Everyone had a fun experience and they all went home with blue ribbons.

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I don’t know how many fleeces were entered in the Wool Show but these tables were full and there was a long line of buyers waiting outside.

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I checked back an hour or so later and there weren’t a lot of fleeces left.

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Saturday night there is always a potluck followed by the Spinners Lead competition. You can find handspun items in the most unusual places. (made by Marilyn from CA). It was so unusually hot for Eugene that attendance was lower at both these events. But we found familiar faces.

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Doris and I took the yearling ewes to the Spinners Lead, wearing our shawls. We had both won first place in the classes in the Fiber Arts Show. Mine was in the woven division and Doris’ was in the knitted division where she also was awarded Best Use of Natural Colored Wool.

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Other California friends were there.  Marilyn wore the shawl that she had woven the previous day in the Sheep-to-Shawl contest. Her Hangtown Guild won that competition and she borrowed a sheep to enter this show.

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Beth knit this beautiful shawl and also borrowed a sheep.

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This was Doris’ first time at BSG, first time entering this event, and first finished handspun project!!

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I took Cindy in the show and she wore a scarf woven of the leftovers from the shawl I wore. All the entries in this show are handspun or felted.

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This is the smallest sheep I’ve ever seen at this show and she was quite a crowd pleaser.

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The next day I was sitting in the barn and spinning and glad that I didn’t have to take a sheep into the Black Sheep Cup (Supreme Champion) competition in the heat of the afternoon when I realized “uh oh, I do have to take sheep into the ring for the Young Flock competition”. Thanks to Doug and Karen who quickly helped me get the sheep to their appropriate spot in the ring, although I wasn’t exactly dressed for showing in my tank top, shorts, and Birkenstocks.

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I loaded up and got on the road about 4:30. View heading south.

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 3 continued

Did I mention in this post how much there is to see at MDSW? I heard someone describe it as the Disney World for sheep and fiber people.

After seeing the fiber entries and the Jacob sheep I started with the tents at the top of the fairgrounds. It had been raining the day before so it’s a good thing that commercial tents are provided for outside vendors. There is mud to contend with but many vendors put straw down which helps with that.

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The first tent I entered was the Equipment Auction tent. Have you ever seen so many spinning wheels in one place?

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There were wheels (including several great wheels), carders, looms, and all kinds of miscellaneous equipment. Incredible.

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Customers were lined up outside their favorite vendor booths. One thing that was so fun about this show was that since all the other fiber shows I have seen are on the west coast almost all the vendors were new to me.

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In one of the fiber booths I found this cute bunny.

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Ears, anyone?

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Silverware creatures.

 

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Dog or lamb coats made of felted wool.

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At 1:00 I went back to the barn to help with the Jacob sheep show. These are Royal’s two yearling rams. Royal’s other helpers were his two granddaughters who were sheep handling novices so I was glad to help out.

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The girls did well showing the ewes and were fun to work with. After the show I spent more time looking at the barns full of sheep. The Livestock Conservancy (I think–or maybe it was MDSW) organized a display of sheep breeds that weren’t necessarily being shown, along with educational information about them.

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Dorset, a breed from England that was first imported in 1885.

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Clun Forest, a British breed first imported into North America (Canada) in 1970.

Cotswold

The Cotswold is another English breed with long, lustrous wool.  The mature sheep weigh up to 230 lbs (ewes) and 300 lbs (rams).

Icelandic

The Icelandic sheep is considered to be one of the world’s oldest and purest breeds, with 1100 years of producing meat, milk, and fiber.

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Leicester Longwool, a sheep, also originally from England, that produces 11-18 pounds of lustrous curly wool that may grow to 14″ in a year.

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Another Leicester Longwool.

Rambouillet

Rambouillet ram. The Rambouillet is a fine-wooled sheep that was derived after prized Merinos were sent to France in 1786 and raised in a closed flock for many generations. They are now make up a large part of the commercial herds on the western range of the U.S., providing fine wool while producing crossbred lambs for market.

Romeldale cross

This is a Romeldale cross. Colored sheep, even if not a pure breed, can be registered with the Natural Colored Wool Association

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Scottish Blackface is the most common breed in the United Kingdom and was imported to the U.S. in 1861.

There will be more sheep photos in another post, because there are a lot more sheep to be mentioned.

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While I was in the barn my friends were shopping.

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When we got back to the house that night everyone showed off their purchases. Mine were meager compared to some of the others. But none of them bought a sheep…

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This is Shenandoah, one of the sheep that I showed, and that got a ride to California on the Mendenhall truck.

One More State Fair Post

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.

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On the wall of the livestock office.

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Another longhorn, this time with not-so-symmetrical horns.

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A “corn-box” for children.

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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”.

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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.

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Back to the show ring. Rotor was sometimes reluctant at moving around the ring.

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Here he is at the head of the class of Shetlands and Karakuls.

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This is the Primitive Breeds Champion judging.

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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.

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These are my two yearling ewes, Meridian Honey and Meridian Zinnia.

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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.

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Here is our Flock entry in the Primitive Breeds Division.

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Rotor’s debut on the photo stage after winning this show. See the previous blog for his other winning photos.