Monday, November 26, 2007

Grand Babies ... :-)

My daughter, Kate, came with me on Sunday when I went to spend the day with the world's most perfect baby (at the moment, Kate ... ;-). Of course I am talking about Will Stearman.
Above is a picture of Kate holding Will. Will, is resting on his yet to be born cousin. It is a very cool picture ... and the first one that I have taken of my two Grand Babies ... :-). Kate is 'due' around December 10th. I am doing my best to remain calm ... but when she called from work in the middle of the day today ... just to CHAT ... I almost started to hypervenatlate ... but she really did just want to chat.
And this is Will ... doing what makes me happiest, for now, anyway ... sleeping on my lap so that I can look at him, stroke him, smell him, listen to him breathe. He is so perfect ... :-) I have never known love like this before ... love for my Grandson ... and love for the wonderful couple who look after this amazing being when I can't be there. Thank you so much for this gift to the world Chris and Kerri!

Life is good ... and can only get better.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It Is Coming!

Well ... as much as I hate to think about it ... it is coming ... and soon ... it will be winter. Each morning these days there is a thin layer of ice to break on the water troughs for all ten groups of sheep that I have!!! If it gets much colder, I may break up breeding groups after four weeks, instead of the usual five ... although it is due to warm up ... and rain ... for the rest of this week.
Last end of July, I noticed mosquito larvae in my water troughs ... so I bought a bunch of 'feeder' goldfish to put in. Out of 17, spread between the three big troughs ... we still have 16. Today I set up a 'tank' for them in the furnace room.

More work ... but ... how can I complain. They did their job, and will continue to eat the mosquito larvae.

Life is good ... :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ShelteringPines Zimbelstern

I think I bought this little girl on the day that she was born ... or at least on the day that her picture was first posted on the list. I LOVE spotted sheep, and my goal is for my spotted sheep to be fine and even ... and to meet the same numbers as all of the other sheep in my flock.

This histogram is from an 18 month old fleece. SD is a bit high ... and CV is as well ... but ... the AFD, while not outstanding ... is VERY acceptable!
Zimbelstern is being bred to Kilimanjaro this Fall. I look forward to spotted lambs with improved fleeces. She is one cute Shetland!

Great Plain's Joanne, and her AI son, Congo

Great Plains Joanne is another ewe purchased from Carol Arthur. Her breeding is 100% domestic, which shows the strength Carol had in her flock even before her extensive AI venture.

She is not 'posing' well in this shot, as she is very straight and square. She also has a well sprung chest, which I like.
This histogram is from her third fleece. Joanne's fleece keeps its gray and spins up a silver colour. I like this ewe a lot.

Last year she had a single ram lamb out of Todhill Hornblower. WillowGarden Congo also seems to be holding his gray colour as well. I have not used him for breeding this year, but plan on retaining him.
I am disappointed in the CV for his fleece. I guess that I don't fully understand the genetics of fleece. Joanne has a low CV. Hornblower, the sire, has an even lower CV. Yet Congo, as a lamb, has a higher CV that I like to see in my adults. Go figure, eh!?
We'll see what he grows into ... :-).

FirthofFirth Masala Chai

This little girl is one of the group that I collected over that past couple of years ... and then kept at Willow Garden South (aka Sheltering Pines) until the border opened, and they could come 'home'.

Chai is out of Winter Sky Sandstone and FirthofFirth Evidence of Autum. The genetics sure are there for a fine fleece ... but I was very disappointed when I felt this girl to take her sample a while ago. Her fleece has, to me, a terrible handle.

Her histogram does point out that there is indeed hope for finer handled fleeces out of this girl. It was taken when she was 18 months old. I am happy with her AFD. I think that the higher SD (remember I want 8 and under) and very high CV (my goal is 28 and lower) ... are what give her the courser handle ... all those whispy bits that show in her picture.
Chai is being bred to Kilimanjaro this year. Although he isn't my tightest ram (in terms of SD & CV), but I am guaranteed a spotted lamb with a decent, workable fleece. Next year, when I once again AI, I'll 'breed' her to Todhill Glayva.

Great Plains Cherry

Great Plains Cherry is one of the ewes I bought from Carol Arthur. Cherry is such a lovable girl and she loves pats and cookies! She is also a bigger girl, and older (2000). She has an AWFUL tail, but ... with her perfect SD and CV numbers, and her pretty nice AFD (histogram is her sixth fleece) ... she is a keeper. This is a fleece that feels like butter and always sells the moment it hits the skirting table on shearing day.

Her son, Nelson has a perfect tail. Her daughter, Mandella has an almost perfect tail. Neither of them have Cherry's unifomity of fleece though.

Cherry is in Kilimanjaro's Breeding group.

WillowGarden Nelson, and His Sister, Mandella

This handsome young guy is WillowGarden Nelson. Nelson is out of Great Plains Cherry, an exquisite double F2 katmoget (Timothy/Greyling). His sire is Todhill Hornblower.
He has a nicer histogram than Kilimanjaro, but doesn't carry spots. I've given him eight ewes this year ... three Todhill Glayva F1 ewe lambs ... my dear Dailley Iris, a mioget ewe ... Great Plains Sylvia, a grand 1999 Ag fawn Greyling daughter ... Whistlestop Lizbet, a awhite F1 Skeld/F2 Drum Jings 2004 ewe ... and Bonnine Best, a moorit with no iset, out of my Kate lines and Whistlestop Lerwick.

I am liking this guy a lot, and will re-testing his fleece as he matures
Nelson's sister, WillowGarden Mandella white, with a lot of moorit-like 'spots' all over her face and head. I just realized that she could well be Awt/Ab, and I won't know for sure because I put her in with Kilimanjaro!
*** Click on the histogram to enlarge it.

I like this gir, a lot. Not sure just what it is about her ... :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

WillowGarden Kilimanjaro

This little dude is one of my F1 Todhill Glayva ram lambs. I'd have liked him to be a little softer and more even as this is his lambs fleece ... but ... I couldn't see a reason to wait until next year to use him.
He has a pink nose. I am a TOTAL sucker for a pink nose ... :-)
He is a pretty cool dude ... great conformation, just smaller than I'd like ... but, I am sure he will grow ... pretty acceptable fleece ;-) ... spotted ... and ... F1.

Kiliman makes me smile too ... ;-)

Remember to click on the histogram to see it bigger.

Pictures ... And The Histograms That Go With Them

Well ... I have decided that it is time to start to share ewes ... and histograms with anyone who is interested.

I am starting with my favourite ewe, Dailley Iris. I'm not sure why she is my favourite ... she only ever singles ... her teeth are moving forward as she
ages and her 'bite' is not as pretty as it once was ... her tail is the right length, but not a shape that I'd post as a prime example of the breed.

She IS mioget, and has a pretty OK histogram. My cut-offs are AFD under 31 ... SD under 8 ... CV under 28.

Iris meets all of these number with her 3 1/2 year old fleece. She is also VERY square ... and even though she is not a lap sheep ... I know that she loves me ... ;-) She is currently 4 1/2 years old, in this picture.

If you click on the histogram it will come up in a size that you can read ... I hope ... :-)I'll add lots more pictures ... and histograms over the next few days. As always ... your input is welcome. But yah can't 'diss' Iris. Not sure why ... but she takes my breath away.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coal's Group

Coaldale ... checking me out. He hasn't yet decided who is more important to him ... me ... or his girls. For now, I hope he chooses his girls.
And here they are ... Coal's girls.
Great Plains Wren, a heavenly dark fawn/moorit katmoget ... and Beechtree Brae.
In the back you can see Beechtree MacLaine, although the picture below shows her off better.
And I only managed to catch a small part of WillowGarden Zambia.

I am so looking forward to lambs from this group!

Beechtree Coaldale

The more I watch and feel this guy ... the more I like him. He is a gentle soul, with a winning personality.
He has a nice looking and feeling fleece.
He is 'coloured' ... which is where I hope my focus with BFLs will be ... with conformation and type always coming first.
I am wondering if he is also Ag grey. Here is a shot of mid side ...
... rump/britch ...
... along his spine ...
... front shoulder.
Will that not be a cool fleece!

Coal has two BFL ewes with him ... and two shetlands ... a dark moorit katmoget ... and a moorit ewe lamb with extension (she is actually Ab, but due to extention (ED), appears moorit).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Breeding Groups

Well ... it is done. Breeding Groups for 2008 lambs are set up! Of course, I needed help since my leg, although healing, is still an open wound. 'The Kid Across The Road Who Makes It Possible For Me To Do All This' ... also known as Matt ... came through in flying colours. It was a long day ... but rewarding in the end. This is a picture of Matt taken on AI day a year ago.We used the sheep handling equipment that I got from a friend (THANK YOU CAROL) to sort the sheep. The head gate section allowed us to sort sheep in five different directions. With a few hog panels for additional sorting ... we had sheep sorted into nine breeding groups and a non-breeding group. It took us close to an hour to set up the gates and panels the way we wanted them ... but ... in the end ... only two ewes had to be moved by hand!
I took this picture last night before bed. WillowGarden Kilimanjaro, an F1 Todhill Glayva spotted katmoget, guards his harem ... in front of the chute and gates.

It was pretty noisy last night. It seems some of the older girls are not thrilled with my selection of rams. Some of them are NEVER satisfied ... but ... heck ... it is only for 5 weeks ... hehehe. It also seems that some of the ewe lambs in the no-breed group were still VERY attached to their moms. I was glad that it was cold enough to sleep with the window shut ... hehehe.

Now ... I spend the next 5 weeks tending 9 breeding groups, 1 no-breed group, and 1 ram lamb group ... in the dark since the time changed last night. Matt will help on the days that I work because it will be dark by the time I get home from work.

And then ... the wait ... for LAMBS ... starting after March 28th ... :-)))