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.


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


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


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.


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


Ears, anyone?


Silverware creatures.



Dog or lamb coats made of felted wool.




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.


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.


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

Clun Forest-2

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


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


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.

Leicester Longwool-4

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.

Leicester Longwool

Another Leicester Longwool.


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

Scottish Blackface-2

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.

Rug hooking

While I was in the barn my friends were shopping.


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…


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


The Flock

Every year I put together a Flock List for the Farm Club members. This includes photos and a little information about each sheep (and dog and other characters) on the farm. I like to get current photos of each sheep and I’ll share a few here. Shearing Day is in just a month so they are in almost full fleece. I’ll have to get before and after shots of them as well. 11047-zoey-3













Two almost 2-year-olds, Honey and Zinnia.


Marilla, a 2016 lamb, and her mother, Marilyn.


This photo was taking during the summer of two of the sheep I bought from flocks in Oregon. That is Kenleigh’s Sheena on the left and Shadow Mountain Shelby on the right. I found this photo while I was looking for another. It is a good example showing a lilac ewe (right) and a black and white ewe.


Most sheep eyes.


Some of the lilac sheep have striking blue eyes


Every year at this time I create a Cast of Characters for the Farm Club members. So I took sheep photos today. Here are some of them:


I started before chore time in the morning and had to chase all the sheep out of the barn. They weren’t too happy about missing breakfast.


And they don’t like the deep mud so they all stayed on the cement that Dan poured behind the barn this summer.


This is Janis.


Mud Ranch’s Foxglove. She is a lilac ewe.




One of the 2016 lambs, Virginia.


Another lamb, Cindy.


This is Windy Acres Bronagh, another lilac ewe.


Bide a wee Buster, and March ram lamb.




While I was taking photos, my DIL was throwing the ball for the puppies, Sawyer and Finn..


Ginny ended up with their ball.


Sheep on the Road

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.

So 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.

dsc_0919Petroglyphs 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.

Shearing at Other Farms

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. dsc_4102

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. dsc_4130

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.


Consolidating Breeding Groups

For almost four weeks I’ve had sheep in five different breeding groups plus a non-breeding group. It doesn’t take long before I’m tired of dealing with that. By last Friday all the ewes were marked and very few were being re-marked so it was time to pull out a few rams.


Dragon, this 4-horn ram, went back to his farm up the rad from here. Buster went with him to finish up the job there. Joker went back to the ram pen with Marv (after spending a couple of days in the “buddy-up” pen, or “jail” as I also think of it.


Faulkner was a lucky ram who got to stay out with his ewes for another month or so. However, he knew that something was going on in the barn and thought that maybe he should really have a few more ewes on his side of the gate.


All the rest of the ewes were consolidated into one group and spent some time meeting and greeting.


How are you Fran? Did you hear what happened to…?”


What is that scent you’re wearing?…Who have you been hanging around?





Catalyst is the Jacob ram who stayed out with the ewes. He spent some time introducing himself to the ewes who had been in the other groups but they all ignored him.


Here is he after another couple of ewes were turned into the field.



Happy boy even though he’s not seeing any action.

Hug a Sheep Day

Hug a Sheep Day originated a few years ago at Punkin’s Patch and we think its a great idea! We were a little concerned with the forecast (rain from midnight through noon, then clearing). We went ahead with plans and didn’t see rain all day.  In fact the sun came out and the welcome rain from the previous week had cleared the sky, washed away the dust, and started the grass growing. Beautiful!


Farm Club friends came early and helped set up pens and find the huggable sheep. Jade will follow you anywhere for a chin scratch.


Jazz likes those scratches too.


This is Jade and Jazz both lined up for attention.


Jazz is probably the most huggable sheep here.



Spinners enjoyed the wonderful weather and the camaraderie.


Alison is wearing her handspun 4-ply Jacob vest. Notice the very cool felt Christmas stocking in the background. Jackie was here with her Sheep-to-Shop booth but I didn’t get good photos of that.


Claire is a friend I’ve known since we were in college in Davis in the 70’s.


I kind of like this photo because it shows a lot about the marketing of a small sheep farm. Alison and Stephany are both Farm Club members, Alison is wearing yarn from the fleece she bought several years ago, Stephany is knitting more yarn, and she bought a skull, and of course there is the sheep ready to be shorn again in a few months.


At the end of the day we decided there should be a group hug, although I realize now that this was more of a group picture than a group hug.


Next year we’ll make sure we all get in on the hug part.