Monday, December 28, 2009

Better late than never Christmas wishes.... ;0)

My favorite memory with the sheep happened the first Christmas we spent here on our newly purchased, bigger 'farm'. We travelled off to mom and dad's for Christmas Eve (our yearly family gathering-that we LOVE!), worrying (as I tend to do) that the sheep would sneak through the not so great (yet) fencing and visit the neighbors- or worst, get lost!
We got home and the first place I went was to count sheep (hee hee) and they were all present, accounted for- enjoying snacks, all happy-and wondering what the heck was wrong with ME. I took a deep breath, glad to be home and as I sat down to visit with my sheep, my favorite carol came on the radio- like magic, Silent Night.
It was SO perfect and I will never forget how it felt to sit amongst my critter family, the peace and warmth in our cherished, 90+ year old dairy barn. It was so difficult to pry myself out of there-but I did, and spent a very happy rest of the holiday with my wonderful hubby and son...
It brought home to me the wonder of sheep- how they are always there, even when I am in some sort of 'mood'-and how they make me a better person.....
Obviously Sandy child grinch could have benefitted from some pet sheep much earlier in her life! bwaaaaahahahahahaha! Bet you were not expecting THIS right???? HA!
Our wish for you all is that you enjoyed much peace, joy and happiness with your family and friends. Be sure you hug them up every day-and take a page from the sheep's book on happy.... Cheers!

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Border Collie-ism.....

This is going to be one of the fewest posts by me ever- so enjoy! This is one of our two, sweet sweet, deaf Border Collies- Noodle. I have never seen a happier dog in my life.....
I think we all should take a page out of her book and be happy- even when we are sleeping?!

The website update will be finished by this evening so be sure to take a look- I doubt anything will 'out cute' Noodle but stop by anyway ok? ;0)

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!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Welcomes and updates!

Hello sheeples! Have lots to show you this week! This is our new lambie pie Apollo- a sweet little North Country Cheviot sheep we adopted from Graham & Margaret's happy flock. He was a bottle lamb this spring and even at 6 months (now), he is SO small- just doesn't plan to grow I guess? He is the size of oh, maybe a Brittany Spaniel? We'll see if he grows into that name- if not, mini sheep is fine by me too! ;0) This is Julia, my friends Kathi & Jon's llama, who came to live with us all the way from Door County WI. They had a hard time driving out of the driveway with out her, loved her dearly, but since I have always adored that beautiful llama, when she needed a home, Kath brought her here... We also have Chaquita here (who came some time ago) that was not being so nice to them- she liked to spit. Ugh. Now that she has a job watching our goaties, Chaquita is good, just don't push her- she still likes to spit once in a while! Julia is watching over our little special needs group for now- and enjoying the view of the ever handsome Dalai Llama! giggle snort!
The sheep also updated the website and etsy shop with lots of new yarn and fiber! Be sure to stop in and look around!

Black Bay Lash/boa yarn!

Chaquita & Max llamas' clouds- Grain Fields!

And last but not least, here is my Cricket horse. She was rescued by a wonderful young lady from northern MN and we adopted Cricket last winter. She was in a sorry state, a throw away baby not even old enough to be away from her mama. We were not sure she would even live. She had skin problems and was SO underweight. She caught my eye because she looked/looks uncannily like the horse I lived my entire life with til I put Crissy down five years ago. It is spooky.

I swore I would never buy another horse, never wanted to compare one to Crissy its whole life- who knew! Cricket is a peanut and we are just starting to do some ground work with her. She is growing again, she won't be 2 til August and is almost 15 hands tall?! wow!

I truly believe some things were just meant to be. We got Cricket knowing that Monte was failing. When we had to put Crissy down, Monte laid down and would not get up- he wanted to go too. Then we got Casper the honkey donkey just in time to perk Monte up again. He saved him. Now when we had to put Monte down, Cricket has saved Casper. Funny how things work out- and how much animals truly do grieve.
Hope you are all happily fibering away- we will be updating the website and etsy again this weekend- planning the rest of the week for sorting fleeces! Giddyup!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another day..... ;0)

Apparently my Dalai Llama's ego is easily bruised? We welcomed Julia to the farm yesterday- she is my friend Kathi's beautiful llama! Dalai came to see who was new in 'his' kingdom and was promptly told Julia was not impressed! She has a full coat of beauteous fiber and looks might poofy- Dalai had an all over haircut this year- but still THINKS he is poofy! He sort of is now that he is ready for winter, however, he took one look at her and said WOWSER! He was not sure if he should be impressed with HER, or try to tell her he was boss? He looked a little confused poor fellow. He wandered off and left her by the fence after a long staredown- with both having those long banana ears pinned back- they hold their heads so funny when they do that- makes them look like a camel! What? camels? I love camels!!! bwaaahahahaha! Jim cringes at the thought..... I don't!
SO, getting Julia settled in and comfy with her little special needs sheep and have boxes to get on their way today. Rainy and weird around here but great inside work weather! Yey, because I have lots! We will be updating the site this weekend so be sure to stop back ok? Toodles for now!
PS- critter photo shoot planned for the weekend too- Julia, Cricket and everyone!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday update and Fall Scramble!

Happy Fall to you! Sure came up fast didn't it? Savanna cannot believe it! And how the 'fall scramble' seems to catch us EVERY year, despite our best summer intentions! eek. This weekend it is blustery enough to be 'coldish', overcast and only about 40 degrees? Holey camoley batman. SO, all those little jobs that could have been done this summer, are a must do NOW! Grain feeders today, sheep worming/check ups tomorrow morning. Even a few coats for the smallest sheep- mainly the Shetlands because they are so much smaller than everyone. Also coating our Angora goats this winter- keep your fingers crossed for our 'no-rip' coats ok? Giddyup!
This is Savanna's wool, (her picture is above this one)- she is a Lincoln cross sheep with the most beauteous honey brown fleece. It is soft, locks of 4 + inches and very little debris/veggie matter remains. Perfect as is, dyes well and is an easy wash too!

Mulberry Wine- hmmmm, need a jug of THAT. This is Coopworth wool from Jacob's flock- all soft and snuggly, perfect for a fall spinning/felting project!
The sheep added lots of new fiber (unwashed, washed & dyed) and yarn to the site & etsy so be sure to check it all out! And as always, we are happy to combine orders between the site and etsy shop- and refund over charges for shipping from Etsy! We are so easy to work with! tee hee!
Also, if you could be on the look out for critters in need, you might be surprised where they are- all around you. This week found a horse running loose in a very large city in IL- nobody has claimed him yet and I am happy that the horse was caught before being hit by a car. I hope the owner is looking for him, but it would not surprise me if some desperate person may have just let it loose, hoping someone would take him in. (doesn't always make sense to me but people are absolutely desperate right now). We have a good network of people that are friends of the sheep and always try to help place large animals/fiber animals with a good home, or temporary place to have shelter and love.
And please also remember, while there are turds out there that do not take care of their animal friends, I think right now, there are more people in the terrible place that they actually have to choose to feed their family and find homes for their animal friends. It is a gutwrenching decision for most people to make- if you see a chance to help someone, a bag of dog food, cat food or? You would be amazed how helpful that can be. Specially if it is just a rough month for someone- it may just get them through til things are better.... You don't even have to tell them you did it if you are worried about hurthing their feelings- just drop it on their porch, in their car? And take away with YOU the good karm that follows for paying things forward.
Thank you all for being so wonderful and hope you have a very merry fibery weekend!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy weekend y'all!

Arthur our sassy Shetland needs your help- and he THINKS you will help!! We are looking into ordering jackets for them today- he says no no no!! I say yes yes yes! They don't listen to me when I ask them nicely to keep their fleeces clean so that's the fact jack. Mom wins! Going to get the goats and small sheep jackets this year, and work on the rest of the sheep too. Looking forward to better fleeces, and jackets that won't be able to be shredded- tee hee- they only THINK they can best me right? ha! (We'll see)
Promise to self: NEVER let my yarn get ahead of me again. I spent the better part of a week taking photos and loading the new yarn on the website? Shame on me. Sure is fun to see it all 'out there' though so if you have time, have a look ok?
I am off to have a knitting sleep over with mom tonight so the men are manning the farm til tomorrow when I get back. (eek) Will be updating the site and etsy again by Wednesday- but in the meantime, you never know when a sneaky update might make its way on either one- I added a few Crazy Quilt batts the other day- bwaaahahahahaha! Better keep an eye on the sheep- and happy fibery weekend all! Smooches from the sassy sheep!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What is a horse.....?

A horse is an indescribable champion, inside or out of an arena or show. He never questions happy, tears or the need for a hug- and a good snuffle of that ever wonderful 'horse smell'. Strangley comforting and never overrated....
Our horse is Monte- he is a good friend not only to his people peeps, but his sheep too- specially our little Piper sheep....
He survived a trip to America from Australia, a brand on his hip, landing eventually with a polo group that did not treat him well. He came to us at the age of approximately 15- sad, sore and amazingly, never holding a grudge for what had gone before.
He loved to play, specially with popped beach toys- you know, the ones we all had as kids- til we popped them? The big difference was Monte figured out quickly that if he flipped it around and shook it, it was SCARY OOGIE BOOGIE to the others! What could be more fun??
His best friend for life was my horse Crissy, who left us about 5 years ago. He has since befriended our honkey donkey Casper- who rescued Monte from the despair of losing Crissy.
SO, what is a horse? It is you Monte, never giving up, taking everything in stride. I only hope I can mirror some of your charm, being a good friend, family and living my life the best I can. I cannot imagine how I will do this without you my friend. My only little bit of solace is I can let you free from your pain, and send you up to find my Crissy, and all my little sheep angels. Please keep them safe and remind them how much I love and miss them.... always.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Always remember...

No pictures today, or goofy stories, just remembering this day that seems like it is still yesterday- September 11. I can remember that entire day, exactly where I was, what I was doing when those mighty towers fell and so many lives destroyed. I really cannot find words to adequately tell how deeply this affected me- all the brave people involved that may never recover- families and rescuers alike- you have my thoughts, not just today, but always. I wish that you find peace some day. We all should never forget that day and all it brought to our lives. Even though I was not there in person, my soul was- I promise to never forget all you did, all you lost.....

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Updates and ramblings!

Good eeeeevening! I vant to show you fiber..... mwaaahahhaha! Geesalou, been a loooong day- can you tell? ha! The sheep stayed up late tonight, or should I say late WORKING, to update the website AND etsy! Yey sheeps- bet they will sleep late tomorrow? Doubt it!
Top picture is the first of the Mohair (Angora goatie) fiber we have to offer from our friends Mary & Joseph's flock. (really really-that is their name!) The fiber in the picture is from their papa goat and started out 'life' as a silvery white fleece. THEN the sheep happened and that was all she wrote.... ;0) They sure come up with some great color ways!
This is another Coopworth wool selection- Fade to Fall....

Our Romney clan's wool, blended at the Argyle Fiber Mill with huacaya & suri alpaca from Jenny's happy flock. And again, the sheep got happy and dyed it all up! Sweet Potato!

And last but not least, our Baab Hope has his fiber sorted out and listed on the website too. He is such a sweet sheep (I say that alot, but it really is true!). He arrived as a bottle lamb and has grown into this beautiful, elegant Lincoln/Romney cross sheep. The only black spot on his body is the little beauty mark above his mouth on the left side-- I LOVE this picture of Baab.

Baab's wool features 4+ inch locks, very minor debris to remove, soft/medium to touch, a bit of shine- AND easy to wash, dye and blend..... Can't go wrong!
We did a little rearranging on the site (fall cleaning?) so be sure to check around for the new drop down menu choices. I think seperating the fibers to some of their own pages is making it easier to browse with out being so overwhelmed? Hope so anyway! Working on yarn this week so will be updating pages, adding new yarn to both Etsy and the Site- and we are always happy to combine orders if you shop both ok? Just email the sheep and we will get it all set to go! Manana sheeples!
PS! Don't forget our sheepy knit/sew along for the shirtless UK chicks ok? CHICKENS you naughties! The sheep just cast on chicken jumper #5! (info in blog update August 24- or email for info ok?)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Scotch Mule Fleeces featured in Spin Off Magazine!!

Hooray for Graham and Margaret of Little Dale farm! Their Scotch Mule sheep were featured in the new issue of Spin Off- gorgeous pictures and Carol Rhoades did a wonderful job describing the fleeces and I love her projects! We are lucky to be able to purchase Graham & Margaret's fleeces each spring- and we are sorting the Scotch Mule fleeces right now to get them ready to sell. I am putting together a list of people to sort for- and wool will be sold first come first served- in order of email received by the sheep. You can email us through the site or via ryan3 at tds dot com. We have a limited amount of this wool so don't miss out, this is gorgeous wool!!
The Mule sheep pictured here is our own little Brenden- we purchased him from Graham & Margaret several years ago- and he is a smooch! This is not Brenden's wool for sale though- it is all from his family....
Hope you are all enjoying your week- almost a long weekend- with lots of fiber involved??? Look forward to hearing from you and thanks for stopping by!
(PS- you have seen this wool in the past on our site listed as Scotch Mule or Blue Face Leicester x)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken Run--er Chicken Jumpers!

No, the sheep have not lost their marbles, thanks to a friend of the Homestead, they were given a link to the Little Hen Rescue in the UK- who is in need of Chicken Jumpers! They rescue scads of hens from egg production farms, get them healthy, and re-home them. Many arrive with out their tummy and back feathers- thus the need for jumpers/sweaters!
Sooooooo, the sheep want to help them out- and make this a long term knit along (KAL) AND sew along- there are two patterns on the site (jumpers), one for knit jumpers, and one for sewn fleecies! Below are my first two jumpers- the first I made a mistake, so figured some cute hen would like to be stylin (?) with a boa neck line! bwaahahahahaha! I used wool yarn that was millspun, I dyed it a bit ago, and it has been waiting the perfect project...

And this is the second - another stash buster! Woolie and I hope warm for a UK winter! tee hee! I have a third on the needles that is knit with acrylic yarn I found at a thrift store... And how fun to work with buttons from the button box!!

It does not take much yarn to knit one of the jumpers up- and it is a quick evening type project. I have not tried out the sewn pattern but I think it would be perfect for extra pieces of fabric you may have- soft and snuggly fleece? (trust me, they would NOT want me to sew for them- THAT would be a disaster!!!)

As part of our 'chicken jumper/run', the sheep have decided to have everyone send the jumpers to us here, and we will send one big box whenever we have a full one. ALSO, the sheep will credit $1 for each jumper sent in to us that you can use for your next order... Giddyup sheeps!

Hope you think this is as fun as we do- and look forward to hearing from you- you can find this info on our Ravelry site too- and if you have any questions, just email the sheep!! (ps- my hens and even my little ROOSTER are making a case for their own jumpers for winter???? heeelllllpppp!) I told them naked chicken jumpers first! ;0)

Here is the link again for the jumper patterns , and we will be updating the website and etsy shop by Wednesday this week- smooches from the sheep (and all the needy naked chickens!!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Monday Sheeples!

Now how is THIS for a happy Monday? Top picture is our Obama Llama, below our Dalai Llama- what camera hams huh? I really doubt they know what day it is- but most days I don't either! tee hee! Obama has some fiber on the website this week- our update was Friday and there are still lots of fun woolies so have a peek!!
The sheep also wanted to let you know about a fairly new shop featuring the creations of Manuela- long time friend of the sheep! Many of her creations, yarn and spinning fiber include fiber from our critter family- she is quite the talent! Be sure to have a look ok? ;0)

Hope you all had a fantastically fibery weekend! Lots of great new fiber coming your way on this week's update- my wonder hubby 'bailed out' the fiber at Argyle Fiber Mill- giddyup!!! I think I even saw some millspun Shetland yarn from our little auburn Vaughan??? Off to play!