Friday, September 07, 2007

Farm Photo 9/7/07:
A Wooly Look Back At Lambing Season


Silly Wendy & Her Baby Girl On April 12th, 2006

It's hard for me to believe that I've taken something like 15,000 photos since I started this blog back in June 2005, especially considering I'd only taken a few hundred during the previous 37 years. And I certainly never imagined I'd be constantly strapped to my camera. But it seems like the few times I decide to leave it in The Shack I come upon a fabulous photo opportunity, like the dragonfly that landed on the truck antenna six times the other day while I stood watching and framing photos I couldn't take with my fingers. The bright blue sky made a perfect background.

I keep several files of photos I plan to post, but for some reason or another many of them never actually make it up here. Mostly it's a timing thing. I always seem to be running behind, and it feels odd posting a photo of something that's out of date, like summer flowers in January or Silly Wendy with this tiny lamb who is now a grown up lady sheep.

I came across this photo the other day and immediately set it as the desktop background on my computer. When Joe saw it, he said, "Ohhh, that's so cute--even with the little pile of sheep pellets!" I figured any photo that can make a tough farmguy say the word 'cute' and passes muster even if it has manure in it deserves to be shared, no matter when it was taken.

Silly Wendy, who received the second half of her name during the infamous Farmgirl Fare Name That Sheep Contest, is Doll Face's daughter. While we're starting to see a real conformity within the flock (translation: I can't tell some of this year's lambs apart), she and Doll Face each have a very unique, but very different, look. Eleven-year-old Doll Face is small with delicate features. Five-year-old Silly Wendy has a much larger frame, a snow white snout, and the biggest pink nose I've ever seen on a sheep.

Last spring Silly Wendy gave birth to a cute and sturdy ram lamb, but he and all the other lambs never seemed this small compared to their mothers because for the first time we sheared the sheep before lambing season.

It was by far one of the best things we've ever done, both for the flock and for us, and if all goes with the winter weather and the sheep shearer's schedule, we'll shear the sheep before lambing season every year from now on. That means we won't be seeing these big wooly mothers again, which is another good reason to share such an outdated slice of life from the farm.

It's hard to believe that sheep breeding season starts next month!

Want to see more?
Scenes From Lambing Season 2006
Scenes From Lambing Season 2007
Scenes From Sheep Shearing 2007

© 2007
FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

11 comments:

  1. Sheeeeep, I love sheep. And silly Wendy as a lamb is adorable. I like the way you captured her moms attentive yet detatched look. Some day Farm Girl I will join you in your ranks. I already live in Mo. and have a few spare acres, your inspiration has been wonderful
    A.

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  2. aww, sheep! I love reading this blog because I've lived in Los Angeles all my life and never get to see things like this.

    Do you sell the wool?

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  3. I was sneezing for a while... (0_0)

    Good job nice pictures. Its realy great to see people care for life in general.

    Envious of the farm life, farm air... Enjoy it!

    Nice Blog

    Sorry my blog is all in Spanish and nothing to do with farming! But Welcome to visit if you like

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  4. I have been reading your blog for sometime now. You are one of the reasons I started my own and you were the very, very first blog I ever returned to. I have subscribed to your post and while I am still quite new to this whole blogosphere thing I enjoy being in your "company." Thank you for such warmth, inspiration and sheer joy and passion you share. I can definitely say you make me want to quit my job and be a lady of the land. Ever since I found you my house has smelled of fresh bread. My family and I thank you for starting this for us...we have come a long way in a short time in making every bit count and bringing a bit o' country to the city.

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  5. What a lovely photograph. I wonder what they are thinking about.Sara from farmingfriends

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  6. How incredibly sweet. The size difference makes it all the more so - as you say. In Scotland, many of my friends lived on farms (everyone was a farmer or a fisherman except for us - the weird Americans), and I used to love play dates during lambing season! It was enough to make me brave all my friends' scary Scottish farmer dads and the scary Scottish food I'd have to eat. Lots of tongue. Lots of haggis. Suffice to say I was a much thinner child than I am an adult.
    I owe you an email, I know! This Maine wedding insanity has taken over. I take off Tuesday am. Yikes!
    xo

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  7. You forgot the word butt. I'm pretty sure you meant to write 'tough farm guy with a cute butt'

    We understood anyway ;)

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  8. Hi Andylynne,
    Thanks for the kind words. When you're ready to become a full-fledged shepherdgirl, let me know. I sell starter flocks of sheep. . . : )

    And if anybody else reading this is in south or central Missouri and interested in buying a pampered flock of meat sheep, feel free to contact me. After years of holding back all of my ewe lambs, I have too many sheep! farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

    Hi Steph,
    So glad you're enjoying your e-visits to the farm.

    As for the wool that is sheared each year off our sheep. . . because they're meat breeds (Suffolk & Hampshire) as opposed to wool breeds, their wool doesn't have the characteristics (fineness, etc.) desired by spinners. And because we let our sheep roam in the briars and woods and don't put little cloth coats on them, their wool gets full of "vegetable matter," i.e. itty bitty seeds that take hours and hours to hand pick out of the wool.

    Up to now I've never tried to sell any of the wool, which is crazy I know because there are lots of uses for coarse wool, I get all kinds of readers asking me about it, and of course we can always use extra income because farming doesn't really pay. ; )

    I recently met a local spinner/knitter who sends all of her dirty wool to a large processor who she pays by the pound to have it washed and carded. It's returned to her ready to spin. She showed me examples of what she gets back, the yarn she's made, and several beautiful finished sweaters. They can also prepare the wool in large sheets to use as quilt batting, etc.

    She didn't think my wool was too coarse or dirty, and in fact remarked on the softness and crimp of some of it. My original intention when I started raising sheep was to have a colored flock so that I could spin naturally colored wool, so my first ram was actually a black and very wooly Border Leicester. Because I keep a closed flock except for a new ram every year, some of my sheep still have a little bit of Border Leicester in them.

    Anyway, she's going to send off some of my wool to have it processed. Depending on how it comes out, I may start selling processed wool. That way buyers would be able to purchase a 'finished' product and know exactly what they were getting, rather than a questionable bag of dirty wool.

    I didn't think I would be able to make any money selling processed wool after paying for processing plus shipping in two directions, but when she showed me how much finished wool you get from one pound, and told me that she only uses about a pound and a half of yarn to make a sweater, I realized that we just might be able to start putting our wool to good use and making a few dollars in the process.

    If I do end up having wool for sale, you can be sure I'll be writing about it here!

    Goodness, I didn't mean to go on so long about wool. : )

    Hi Simplemente el Vandel,
    Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to write!

    Hi Cutiepiespacepop,
    Wow. Well, didn't your comment just make my day. You're very welcome. I love it when people blame me for things like starting a blog, learning to bake bread, planting a vegetable garden, or even moving to the country. Thanks so much for taking the time to write.

    Hi Cate,
    I know. It doesn't seem possible. And I'm not the kind of person who has the patience to take 75 photos of a plate of food or anything either. ; )

    Hi Sara,
    Always nice to hear from you. Now you have me wondering what they're thinking about, too. Food, probably. ; )

    Hi fgo,
    You crack me up. Looking forward to catching up after the wedding insanity is over. At least it's not yours!

    Hi Mare,
    Hehehe. My guy does look good in his Levis. And funny you should mention his cute butt. The other day we were moving two ram lambs from one pen to another pen about 75 feet away. One of them was Silly's lamb and he weighs about 70 pounds. (How these two escaped being castrated I still don't know, but it's too late now, so they get to remain as rams. Unfortunately that means they also have to remain separate from all the ewes so they don't breed with them before Studly does!)

    Anyway, we decided the easiest way to move them would be to carry them, because as I've mentioned before, trying to get a sheep wearing a halter to walk somewhere is no easy task. Carrying is a lot less painful than dragging (for us).

    So Joe picks up Silly's ram lamb while I work the gate. He starts heading for the other pen, where I'm supposed to open that gate. When he's almost there he yells "HURRY UP!" because I'm lagging several steps behind, commenting on how perfectly he's carrying the lamb, wondering if I dare pull out my camera--and admiring his cute butt! ; )

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  9. You know I love those sheep shots. I am already looking forward to the lamb count next spring. I have to love the lambs because we are not expanding our animal population here. 4 dogs and 1 cat are all I am allowed. I think that if we had a sheep or two we would put the lawn mowing teenagers out of business and they would be none too happy. Maybe that could be my new business when I get to retire!

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  10. How cute can a ball of fluff get?! Isn't there just something about a sheep that takes the cuteness factor right off the charts? So sweet. :-)

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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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