Monday, November 30, 2009

Joy to the Wooled!

Hello everyone! Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! We spent way lots of fun visiting family and eating WAY way too much food! I swear, Saturday we got back here from Mary & Joseph's place and I actually had to rest/collapse.... way too much great food! We are working on updates all week, so please be sure to check both the Etsy shop and our Website ok? The yarn pictured above is our Treasure's 2 ply 'Sheep A Go Go' and you can find it in the sheep's Etsy shop.... giddyup!
We are also adding some great, happy wearables to the site and etsy- very cool, one of a kind items that would be great gifts- to friends OR your own self! This is a 'Feisty Boa/Lash Scarf' and you can find it in our etsy shop....
Roving on the website- 'Bumblin' , a pindrafted roving (thank you Shari of morrofleeceworks dot com !) that includes our own Fender's Romney wool (natural chestnut brown) carded side by side with our own hand dyed Corriedale wool. We purchased the Corrie from our Theo and Morgan's sheep family. Both wools are soft soft soft!
This is another colorway of our millspun yarn- a blend of our own Romney sheep, custom spun by the wonderful gals at Argyle Fiber Mill (dot com). Soft, two ply yarn that would be perfect for any project- it is named Allspice.
As I mentioned, we will be adding things pretty much daily (yes, I am that far behind) AND AND AND, just got my new dyes in the mail today! Yeeha and look out dyepots! Keep an eye on the sheep- they have lots of fun in store for everyone..... Fruit Loop Margaritas all around!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So thankful for SO much!

I love this picture of our Baab Hope sheep. I wonder what he is thinking or dreaming about? I hope it is happy contentment.
I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow- celebrate your family, friends and LOTS of good food! I can't put into words all the ways I am thankful & blessed....
We are blessed with a wonderful family (critter AND people!), extended 'Homestead' family and enjoy SO much, the good will and happiness of the people around us. Be sure to hug up your family and friends, enjoy your gatherings, and if you are travelling, safe home too!
Thanksgiving smooches (and Fruit Loop Margaritas) from the sheep, who adore you all too!
The Ryans

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving updates!

Hope you all have safe travels and happy Thanksgiving fun! The sheep are planning quite a shindig here so will be fun to see how that all plays out- emphasis on the word PLAY! ha!

We just finished updating our website and etsy shop so please stop by when you can...

We have another update in the works for Sunday afternoon, lots of new fiber in the works- and the mills were busy- two boxes in and one more on the way..... yeeha!
Happy travels and safe home everyone.... Smooches from the sheep!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Updates and froo froo dogs.....

First, we're going to talk froo froo dogs! This is my wool skirting buddy Thor, aka Thorbaby. He is a 3.5 pound poodle that we adopted 15 (yes 15) years ago as a baby- who was seizuring at the ripe old age of 4 weeks of age. This made him 'unadoptable' for the rescue group I was working with- we could not in good conscience send out a dog that needed lifelong meds, and could maybe live a year- according to our group's vet? Guess he proved US wrong huh? ;0)
I know lots of people who think these little dogs are frail, fragile and bite ankles. Thor, not so much. I swear that little peanut has lived over 9 cat lives.... I frankly do not know HOW he has survived the bumps and scrapes he gets himself into. Three years ago, he fell and broke his jaw AND nose. The vet said, let's give him the weekend, we'll fix him up. He survived the surgery and never looked back, even though he had no teeth after the surgery, and a figure eight wire holding his little jaw bones together...
Friday, Thor seizured and fell off his recliner- on his nose. He broke a chip off his little nose bone, and I thought he was done for this time. Well, I was/am wrong again. Today, thanks to some good dog meds, and a tough little dog, Thor is back on his feet (?), drinking, eating and generally on the mend. I am amazed. He has a bruised eye that will most likely mean he only sees shadows from now on so we will be outfitting a special playpen for him- to keep him safe when we are outside, etc. I am sure he will hate it, but stinks to be loved right?
ALSO, animals amaze me all the time- I was sacked out in my office sleeping when all this happened, Noodle (our deaf border collie) jumped the baby gate in the doorway and landed on me like a freaking line backer. She does that every once in a while so I gave her a hug, turned over and tried to go back to sleep. She was not having it- she pestered me, pulled my blanket off and herded me back through the doorway. There I found Thor, standing in a scary amount of blood, with my schnauzer Buddy standing guard over him. Buddy was not going to let even ME pick Thor up- took some convincing. Now the two dogs come check on Thor after every time they go outside, and they sleep as close to him as they can to make sure he is safe. Amazing..... I am so lucky to be part of their 'pack'....
NOW, off to updates! Above is our Fletcher's Merino cross wool.....

This is Niles, our gorgeous Wensleydale sheep who donated some very pretty locks for the sheep to list on Etsy- against my own oink snort tendency to stash his entire fleece.....

Next is Smooth Sailing Coopworth locks, available on the website......

And please, keep good thoughts for our Magpie goatie, who I lost Wednesday night. We had her for a long long time, never really knew how old she was when she arrived here from a very awful situation- and she was such a sweet sweet girl in spite of it all. I hope she is up with the rest of my critter family, watching over lambies, chasing the naughty goats and loving life as much as she did here. I will miss you forever my Magpie.....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you.....

Today I again find myself with out a lot of words, just thanks in my heart for the people serving our country. I cannot imagine what you have all given and sacrificed- but only hope our thoughts and prayers will bring you home soon. Safe with your families, where you belong... I am humbly adoring of each and every one of you.... Thank you.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sheep jackets? Really??

Good Monday morning everyone! (is that really possible though??) Wanted to chat a little bit about sheep coats/jackets- and why we use them. I am not sure exactly why but there is a new thought out there that they are not 'humane' for the sheep to wear- that being said, here is what we believe!
Why do we jacket the sheep? Jackets protect the best part of a sheep's fleece, keeping out hay and debris. I like to use them most on our smaller sheep (Shetlands) and Angora goaties. The little sheep are 'victims' of their bigger pals, who despite my many pleas for clean, eat their salads over the top of the smaller sheep. We could seperate the little sheep but they would hate that- and so would I. This allows us to have a gorgeous fleece!
When do we put jackets on the sheep? When we start feeding hay, which is usually some time in November. The jackets are then removed on shearing day (April) for spring through fall. Since our sheep are on pasture, we feel there is no need for the jackets at that time.
Are the jackets too warm or uncomfortable for the sheep? Not in our opinion. We buy quality jackets that are made of a strong, light weight 'wind breaker' fabric- made to not rip (sheep LOVE to challenge me and try to rip the coats to shreds!) and designed to adapt itself to a growing fleece- with out matting the locks. We used canvas jackets in the past (pictured above) and found it was easy for the sheep to shred them- big game for them and too much sewing for me! ;0) The new jackets are light weight but do not keep the sheep completely dry-which we feel is not necessary. They slip over the sheep's head, have loops that slip over their hind legs and we monitor their fleece growth frequently to be sure they are fitted properly, if their wool outgrows the jacket, they move into the next size up. The jackets are easily laundered between uses and stay remarkably clean on the sheep too- thanks to the rain I think? ;0)
If you have ANY questions, I am always happy to answer them as things pertain to our own sheep, or look about and find the answers! We would not allow our sheep to do anything that would harm them, jeapordize their safety or just make their lives unhappy. Happy sheep is numero uno rule here, but since they gleefully do not heed my please for at least trying to be clean fleeced, I really prefer the jackets so we have enough sparkling clean fleece to share! Even though I DO tend to oink snort a lot of wool- I DO like to share too!
Long story short (short??Me you say??), we do not feel sheep jackets are inhumane for our fiber animals to wear. They truly don't mind.
Please remember, this is not a commentary about the only 'proper or improper' use for a sheep jacket- our theories do not always work for other shepherds. Their decisions are based on each flocks needs and if you have questions about their practices, just email them, I am sure they would be happy to chat. It is a big world out there with many many different situations and not all theories could possibly be a blanket answer for everyone. (tee hee)
Sophie and Louis are pictured above, modelling the canvas fleeces we used to use. I will get pictures of Becan in his new jacket soon and post it too. So far we only have enough jackets for a few sheep but hope to have them for all of the sheep by next winter. Giddyup! Thanks for listening and I hope I have answered questions you may have!
Cheerio for now! Smooches from the sheep!