Monday, November 19, 2012

What's Next?

 This is Darla, our newest acquisition. Darla is a black mouflon with spots. She is an Icelandic. For several years, Hidaway Farms talked about having an Icelandic or two. With many families in our area into Shetlands we thought it might be time to try something new. We aren't planning on getting rid of our Shetlands but wanted to branch out. Darla was born on July 2nd. She is precious!  We love her markings and her wonderful stocky confirmation and tiny, tiny fluked tail. We were excited to see a pen of 4 Icelandic ewes at SAFF. They are relatively unusual around our area. We were fortunate to purchase her!
 "What is out there? It sure is big..." Huck and Darla check out what is beyond the gate.
 "Oh, it's just our neighbors...the cows!"
 Icelandics have double-coated very long staple length fleeces. Because of the growth of these fleeces they must be shorn twice a year.
 Katie decided to hand shear this year for Darla's fall clip (her first time). Anthony will shear her in the spring and next fall we will probably have her shorn at SAFF. Katie will wash the fleece and tail spin the locks into a fancy yarn.
"Oh dear, oh dear...I must hide!"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair--October 2012

 What a wonderful way to promote Shetland sheep! The Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) in Asheville is probably our favorite event of the year. We take our sheep up Thursday evening so that we can enjoy ourselves on Friday rather than worry with loading sheep in the morning and then getting everything settled. This year we were very blessed to have sold the sheep we needed to sell before coming to SAFF. Because of this we weren't tied to the barn and were free to shop and roam around all day Friday.

Katie and I enjoyed looking around trying to decide what to purchase. We went in together and bought a WILD drum carder. This is a small carder to make "fancy" batts to spin. We then searched for glitz to add to our own roving. We bought Angelina sparkly stuff, Merino nepps, silk, Chinese grass, and even recycled soda bottles (a shiny white, soft fiber). Katie was in search of exotic fibers to purchase and try her hand at spinning. She bought yak, camel, Navaho-churro, Finn, Jacob, and some other rare breed wool. This will be fun to play with this winter!!

Saturday was the junior sheep show...Katie and Lauren aged out several years ago. We watched part of that and then went to the fleece show where we had several fleeces from our spring clip. They were in the primitive class with other Shetlands and some Jacobs. There were 1st and 2nd placings in both white and natural colored. We didn't win anything...the reason...because we had skirted our fleeces so well which the judge said was wonderful and perfect for handspinners wanting a fleece but---they didn't have enough bulk compared to the fleeces that hadn't been skirted as well. Oh well! The fiber mill will be happy!!

Sunday was a very, very, very cold and windy day. SAFF ended at 4 and the show went on until about 6. Above is Katie showing Hidaway Farms Cedar in the ram lamb class. We sold his father that we had for about 6 years and decided to use this little guy as his replacement. He will receive 3 ewes in his breeding group this year.
 Lauren is showing Hidaway Farms Hickory. He went to a new farm farther west in North Carolina.
 Cedar was placed 2nd in his class.
 Katie showing our bottle lamb, Rosie. She is a spotted/kat. Lily (not pictured) placed 2nd in a very large natural colored ewe lamb class.
 This is our yearling ewe, Cinderella. She will be in Cedar's group.
 Katie is showing our aged ewe, Amelia. She had a year off from lambing so we look forward to what she will produce in the spring. She was 2nd in her class.
 This picture is amazing to us. These four katmogets were born on our farm in 2 years. We only own the one in 2nd place. Solitaire in 1st and Vesper in 4th were purchased by the Woods. Scarlett in 3rd is owned by the Orrs. These were the first four placings in a good sized aged ewe class.

Lauren and Katie with Amelia and Nala in the pairs class. Guess what they placed out of about 12 Shetland pairs? 2nd!

It was wonderful to see and connect with old friends and new ones. We saw many that we have sold sheep to and many more that would like to purchase their very own in the future. About 7 families show Shetlands these days. We are excited to say that around 5 of them started out their flocks with Hidaway Farms Shetlands!!

Next post.. a new breed beginning at Hidaway Farms, a new Shetland flock sire, and a new craft that uses up some roving which we have in abundance.