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The Games Continue with No Winner Yet!

The girls are getting bigger and bigger and have all been going to the beauty shop for their annual haircut, but no babies yet!

In the past, the rams have lived with the girls and I didn't know exactly when things happened, so due dates were hard to estimate. I thought I'd be smart this year and separate the ram out in August and put him back in at the end of November. Lambs are due April 21. That was easy enough. 

Apparently, our ram took his sweet time getting to everyone though. Peridot looks to go any moment now; seriously, I don't think she'll make it to tomorrow without babies. June seems to be about a week or so out. EmmyLou, Rose and Buttercup all seem to be even with smaller bags starting to develop--two weeks? Sparkles, though huge, doesn't have a bag at all! All that said, bagging up isn't an exact science, so they could be fooling me. But Sparkles is usually engorged just before she delivers. 

I'm throwing my hands up in the air in defeat . . . . it seems I have no idea when they're coming, and we'll be in lamb-watch mode for the next two weeks at least.

Here's an update of the "business" end of things:

The rump in the middle is Sparkles, with no udder at all, but she may be the widest ewe at the moment.

Here's June getting started. This is about where Peridot was 7 days ago.

EmmyLou is starting to "show." Side note: she was the easiest to shear; can you tell?!

Rose is hard to see because of her coloring, but by feel, she and EmmyLou are close. The part hanging down that you want to think is an udder is really just her belly.

And I've saved the best for last:

THAT's what a ready-to-deliver ewe should look like! Full bag, swollen girly bits and indentations on either side of her tail as the babies move into position. Any moment now, Peridot!

Buttercup is also due around the same time, but without a haircut yet, you really can't see anything. She's about equal to EmmyLou right now.

Violet and Lily were held back for another month before breeding, so they really don't have anything to show. They're due around May 18.


The Third Annual Lambing Games 

It's that time of year, and I'm just about to kick off our third annual lambing games on Ravelry! If you're a member, make sure you check out my group and get in on the fun (there are prizes!!).

Take a look at who's pregnant this year! We're going to be blessed with a lot of lambs soon!


50 degrees!!

I've never been so excited about a forecast! It's been such a long and hard winter that a 50-degree day calls for opening the windows! At least for a few minutes.

We have a way to go before this weather really sticks, but I'm ready. I'm ready for capri's, chicks, rainboots, umbrellas, grass, flowers, and especially . . . lambs!

This is why I can't stand winter (and taking photos of my sheep during it!):

Everyone and everything is such a mess. It just looks so dingy and shabby.

But Rose seems happy none-the-less!!


Happy Spring everyone!


So Many Things Happening

I'm not even sure where to begin. But since this will be a information-heavy post, I think I'll start with an awesome picture!

That's right . . .  it's a 1967 Volkswagen, Karmann Ghia! My husband is awesome. He and the kids completely surprised me this past weekend with it after going to "get lumber" and was gone for something like 6 hours. I got regular updates about broken windshield wipers, a flat tire and grocery shopping to explain the delay. I was a bit miffed when they finally showed up, but then when they opened the back of the trailer, I was speachless.

This is a car I've wanted since I was in high school, and one of the first Mike and I daydreamed about owning when we were dating. 

It has no engine, and there's a two-year ETA on driving it, but that's OK. It's mine!!!

In other news . . . 

I've decided that it's time to say good-bye to my Breed Study Group. This is a really bitter-sweet decision, and one that I put off announcing for a very long time because I wasn't quite sure I could let it go. But I did, and now it's time to look forward to new adventures.

The decision really hinged on the farm. Willow Glen farm now has 10 sheep and we have 8 pregnant ewes this spring! That's going to be a lot of animals and a lot of wool. I'm finally at a point where the farm is more than a hobby to write about. We'll actually have quantifiable products! So here's how the shop will look within a year (or two!):

-Shetland roving. Lots of it! Natural and dyed wool will fill up the shop all from my animals!

-Debouillet roving. Lots of it! Dyed debouillet will round out the shop's spinning offerings as a fine, delicate wool. This all comes from a flock in the midwest that I work with on an annual basis.

-Alpaca/Merino yarn--Sport and DK-weight will be available soon. Some of the sport-weight is in the shop now, and I'm test driving the DK yarn in a cardigan for myself. It's pretty scrumptous! This wool comes from Hope Farm, and is processed into yarn at Autumn Mist Fiber Mill, both NY small businesses.

-Romeldale yarn--probably a light worsted weight. This is a long-range plan for the shop/farm. I'd like to purchase some Romeldale sheep this fall and use their wool to start a yarn line. Just like the Shetland, it'll take a while to build up, so the yarn may not be available for a few years, but I think we have enough fluff to keep us knitting in the mean time!

-Handspun yarn--whatever I feel like working on at the time!

My goal is to further develop an identity for the shop and farm. As much fun as the breed study has been, it's been a challenge to keep the shop consistant for returning customers. 

And my time has been morphing quite a bit, too. I love teaching, and will definitely be available for private lessons or to teach groups, but I've decided that regular class offerings just don't work while I still have young kiddos. On top of that, I've taken on the added responsibility of being our guild's president for the next two year. Teaching will come back when the time is right.

In the mean time, I'm still writing for PLY magazine, and that is a much more flexible schedule for me to stick to. So far, I've had an article appear in the Winter 2013 issue and a pattern in the Spring 2014 issue. I have three more articles slated for Summer, Fall and Winter 2014. Pretty cool, huh? But to keep the article ideas flowing, I need time to actually spin and knit so I know what I'm talking about!

Though saying "so long" to the breed study and teaching has been hard, I think all of us here at Willow Glen are excited about the new opportunities (and lambs!) that are on the horizon!


Blizzard Spinning

I spun this up during the Polar Vortex Blizzard of 2014! I spun some BFL and BL locks loosely at a pretty slow speed, then plied them with two strands of silk thread to act as a binder.