We (my daughter and I) are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Coriander’s kids… any day now!! Last October, I arranged a rendezvous between ‘Corey’ and ‘David’, a handsome and very willing Oberhasli buck, who lives on a near-by friend’s farm. She will be our only doe ‘freshening’ this Spring. As an empty nester, one dairy goat fulfills all my needs for fresh milk, cheesemaking, soapmaking and the pure pleasure of hand-milking!
Corey’s ligaments are gone. Her actual due-date is Saturday, but that could go either way by a few days. I hope (pray) that we’ll experience an unassisted – normal – presentation during kidding – and not a repeat performance of last year’s triplets! The barnyard is flooded with recent snow melt, recent rainfall AND the hidden dangers of ice underlayment. It all makes for a treacherous walk back to the barn to check on Corey! Oh Spring, where are you???
My small flock of Shetlands have been sheared and I have yet to sort-out/skirt their wool fleece. I’m thinking I’d like to felt an entire fleece (like a sheepskin rug/pelt) this Spring/Summer. I also spent an hour or so yesterday afternoon hand-shearing Brutus, my Pygora, on the stanchion. He displayed great patience with me and my ‘primping’. Today, I have a bit of clean-up work to do on him as he was starting to get annoyed with me… snip snip snip.
Finally, the past few days I have been playing with the idea of an offering of classes/workshops. Wet felting is great therapy for me… requiring no special tools and perhaps a good place to begin a fiber ART experience?
And so, I’ve arranged layers of wool into ‘sheepy’ shapes, adding a variety of natural colored wool to the surface for texture/interest and felted away. What fiber artist doesn’t l-o-v-e one more sheep??
Then I begin to add a few details/shape personality. A needle felted ‘head/face’, attach wooly ears, seed beads for eyes, a nose, etc. This little ewe sports a string of beads for legs…. but, use your imagination for whatever is lying around the craft room!?
Another ‘idea’ was born with this wee little sheepie brooch/pin (for the sheep lover/fiber enthusiast).
She’s completely needle felted (onto a scrap of felted wool ‘base’) with a few curly/crimpy locks/wool staples. Similarly, I’ve needle felted a head, attached ears, legs, seed-bead eyes and nose. Class/workshop project???
There’s always room for one more sheep roaming the garden!
Love reading your blog, and it brings back many memories for me, for I also raised all our milk, veggies, meat, eggs etc for many years. Now, we just have an empty pasture and barn. I just wanted to mention that for 3 years I did not freshen my dairy goats. I had read an article about a lady in Switzerland that just kept milking her goat for over 5 years, and I thought I would try it. I had a French Alpine at the time – she was a wonderful milker, and was Oberhasli in coloring. I decided to only milk her once a day in the winter, and she gave me a quart of milk every evening. In the spring I began to milk her twice a day again, and her she gave us a quart in the morning, and a quart in the evening – which was perfect. I wondered if you had ever tried that. I used to be a 4-H Goat leader for Oakland County, and read everything I could, and had a wonderful mentor as well. I always gave them free choice minerals…my husband made them a wonderful feeder where they could pick and choose what they wanted, the best hay I could find, and organic grains from a wonderful farmer. We showed the goats, and also had their milk tested all the time as well, and my son won Reserve Grand Champion milker one year at the fair, and still proudly displays his miniature milking stand in his office:). When I think what I miss most in the barn, it would be the horses, and the goats:) they were my favorites for sure:) Keep writing your wonderful blogs – love them:).
Susan, Thank you for the sweet comment. I’m glad my little story evoked fond memories. We have freshened our girls every year, which requires thoughtful planning since The Hubs won’t ‘allow’ us to keep a buck. I have had as many as three girls freshen, but one suits me just fine. I do love the babies, but not the anxiety leading-up to kidding/lambing. I would like to try extending lactation and 1X per day milking would be adequate for me too! But, a Winter like this past year would be difficult. Perhaps I’ll give it a try especially since I no longer have my daughter home to help while she’s in college. I also LOVE the goats and likely will always have a few ‘as pets’ even if I stop milking! Perhaps I’ll need cashmere goats!?? Have a great weekend!
Yes, kidding time is very hectic, I always had a intercom in the barn, and in my bedroom, and ran out to the barn many times in the middle of the nightif I thought I heard one of my beloved does in labor. One night in April I ran out to the barn with all 3 of my Standard Poodles (I also bred them at the time) and a skunk was in the aisle-way of the barn, and he proceeded to spray all 3 dogs, me, and one of the horses at the same time. What a night:)! I did have 3 does kid at one time too, and it’s a lot of work, so really do consider trying going a year without having them bred. I always had to go to the Buck too, and would hook up the horse trailer and load them up, but one year I got lazy and drove all the way to Metamora with two does in the back of my station wagon LOL:)! Of course I didn’t tell my husband that they both decided to wait to go potty in the back of the station wagon – until the last lap on the way home:). Those were the days. Tell me more about Cashmere goats. I am a knitter, and would love to know more about them, and their temperment.
Thanks… I never get tired of making sheep. I should consider making something else (in addition to) besides sheep!
I would love to take a class from you!! I especially love the larger sheep with layers!!
Thanks Sue. Stand-by… if you’re local, I’ll be updating my blog with classes (:
I think I am about 2 hours, but could make a day of it if a weekend or after school is out. 🙂
Lovely workshop ideas! Very sweet
Hope the kidding goes well
Hi Deborah!Thanks…I finished the details on all my felted sheep. I even whittled wood popsicle sticks into legs! I’ll have to take pictures and share! Corey also kidded Thursday morning (2 a.m.): a buckling and a doeling! All are doing well. I’ll have to share a blog post. Now, five ewes to lamb! Have a great weekend!