Monday, February 19, 2007

Farm Photo 2/19/07: I Love Black Sheep!



Suffolk sheep (which is what I mostly have) are known for having white bodies with black faces and legs, but Suffolk lambs are often born covered with adorable black spots and splotches. (Chip and Chip, my 11-year-old pet wethers, were so named because curled up together as newborns they resembled two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream.)

Some lambs, like Cary and her twin brother, are actually born completely black. But the spots quickly fade away, and even the fully black lambs eventually become white.

More below. . .

When I started raising sheep, my goal was to have a naturally colored flock that would provide me with gorgeous wool to spin into yarn for knitting, and so I bought a Border Leicester ram who had wonderful long black wool. I bred him to my white ewes, and because the ewes I have now are all related to my original flock, many years later there is still some of that black Border Leicester blood flowing through their veins.

My plans to learn to spin have long since fallen by the wayside, but I am always thrilled whenever a true black lamb is born on the farm. There is just something about black sheep that I have always loved. Unfortunately that jet black wool quickly bleaches to brown or grey in the sun (which is still very nice).


But unlike the faded-to-white Cary, that original dark color is still hiding under there.


And when shearing time comes around, these gorgeous girls are back in black (well, except for the big pale spot on this one's back, which started out about the size of a quarter and just keeps growing as she does). This is one of Snugglebunny's 2006 twin girls. Her sister is Lucky Cherry, who was born all speckled but faded to white (and now that she's had her little woolly face sheared, bears an uncanny resemblance to Cary).

Click here to see more photos and read more about Sheep Shearing Day 2007. (Note: I've started using Blogger's new labels for my posts, so this link will take you to all the recent posts labeled "sheep shearing," including this one. Just scroll down past it to reach the others.)

A year of Farm Photos ago:
2/19/06: Same Scene, New View
And WDB#22: Winter Spring

15 comments:

  1. Morning Farmgirl,

    Its been ages since I commented on your blog -- but I have been visiting. Those dark sheepsies are pretty -- even if they are "dirty".

    My neighbor has new kids and they are adorable... the little boy climbed into the laying box for the hens to get warmed up. It's on the ground, but even at 3 days old he's taller than the box...

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  2. Awwwwww. They're absolutely beautiful!

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  3. how gorgeous! I must have at least one black sheepie, what with me being the black sheepie in my family and all.

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  4. thank you, thank you! You can never post too many sheep pictures! Did you decide on the chickens yet? Have a fab day
    love kat

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  5. I just finished seperating my two border collies who were simultaneously barking at each other and the trash truck; I couldn't help but think, after reading your last few posts, how nice it would be to have a few sheep for them to look after. We have lots of room for these dogs but they bicker like children and need to focus on something else!

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  6. I'd be a lousey sheep farmer. They are so adorable. If the sheep didn't like the sheering process (and, it looks as though they don't) I'd be the one who sends away the shearer-guy. Not good. The black one is precious!

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  7. Hey Farmgirl,

    I'm a lurker who absolutely loves your blog. I've started cooking more now after reading your recipes and also plan on gardening this year.

    The sheep are adorable even before shearing. Which brings up a question...if you don't spin then what do you do with your shorn fleeces?

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  8. Is that my sheep? She is so darned cute! Hasn't she been named yet??? (hey, Cute starts with a C if the other names are too *french* and weird...but I still sort of like Cassis Clay...and my weird word verification starts with a C...)

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  9. It's 04.42am and I've already been up an hour. Must not have a diet coke before bed again.
    So here I am, in the dark, staring through bleary eyes at my screen. I check in on Farmgirl Fare and am already wide awake and avidly reading today's post. I don't know any blogger out there with a sense of humor like yours. To call both sheep Chip on account of them being curled up as little sheep is the cutest thing I have ever heard of. Thank God for the internet, thank God for Farmgirl Fare........
    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

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  10. What great pictures! I'm a sometime spinner who has always wanted a flock of my own. When we moved here to rural PA from St. Louis I was promised sheep, but somehow that didn't happen. So I have to visit friends with sheep in order to get my dose of lanolin.

    I enjoy your blog- it makes me homesick for Missouri.

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  11. So what I want to know is, do you have some sort of software that is like a cute lamb name generator or something?

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  12. How breathtakingly beautiful is that black! I want!

    Love your blog. Love the food, love the stories, love the photos.

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  13. Ah....shearing day! Chip and Chip; too funny! Love that black fleece :)

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  14. I understand about the wool being not the sort for spinning, but might you an exception for the first Cary fleece? A person might knit, say, a little carry (Cary?) bag, and then have it around, you know, forever?

    Have you made any chicken decisions yet? I'm just pining for for some chicken talk, here. Will there be a Lindy II?

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  15. I am a handspinner in Springfield, Missouri. I have no sheep. I love reading your blog to get my fill of sheep management. Darn cute photos of the whole gang. Soon I will try your bran muffin recipe. You rock!

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January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

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