samedi 4 janvier 2014
jeudi 26 décembre 2013
There is a way to go until my spinning skills are refined enough to produce a yarn that looks anything less than rustic but its all practice. The stitch I have chosen is designed to complement the textured yarn. A tutorial on how to knit yourself a scarf in bramble or trinity stitch was all that was needed to get me started. This video makes it very easy to follow!Although mine doesn't have quite the same accomplished look to it :-)
I am hoping to add a little twist to my scarf to release it from the rather mundane but that all depends on whether I can produce something that is aesthetically pleasing and workable. It make take me a while but I'll post something when I get there!
mardi 24 décembre 2013
samedi 21 décembre 2013
vendredi 20 décembre 2013
I was going to do a post on the winter solstice which is tomorrow. Unfortunately my photos of the golden sunset, were rather more tarnished than golden! However as I was wandering around putting everyone to bed I couldn't help but notice that on this apple tree there are JUST two apples left! They are beautiful and ripe and yet incongruously were left still hanging on a bare tree. It was too good a photo opportunity to miss!
Wassailing LINK celebrates the apple and the drink and passing of the wassail is traditionally celebrated around Christmas. Providence! I will leave with a old chant recounted when wassailing, of course its sheep related :-)
Next crowne the bowle full
With gentle Lambs wooll,
Adde sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of all too,
And thus ye must doe
To make the Wassaile a swinger.
dimanche 15 décembre 2013
Recently I ventured deep in the heart of Brittany, it is a magical place, where myth and legend come to life. The area is rich with celtic symbolism and the geography and landscape does much to draw you close to its beating heart. Its dark corners hide goblins and faeries in equal measure.
Nestled into the landscape is Ménez Meur seat of the Parc Régional National d'Armorique. LINK here is a flock of Ouessant sheep whose origins can be established back to the earliest days of the breed. They are without doubt a flock whose heritage is a long one.
I was fortunate to visit the flock earlier this year, I was able to spend a quite a bit of time with the flocks (one white, one black) and came away with the lasting impression that the breed is in sound hands. I may have also come away with a sheep or two oops:-)
mardi 10 décembre 2013
dimanche 8 décembre 2013
I was asked the other day about feeding the sheep in the winter. Everyone has their own thoughts on this subject and opinions will vary.
The ewes are currently getting a bucket of windfall apples a day between them. I''ll know when they are fed up of them as they'll start to leave them. For now I view it was a welcome addition to the grass and hay provided over the winter. The rams have their own supply of windfalls and this years bumper crop of apples means that the ground under the tree is still a carpet of apples.
Feeding grains is personally not something that I like. I find that Ouessant sheep really don't need the high protein content. I will supplement and a base of luzerne granules can be used with the addition of ewe nuts and or afalfa and molasses as a coarse mix when needed. This mix can be varied according to the specific requirements of the group of sheep being fed and is more sensitive to individual needs than a highly concentrated commercial feed supplement.
vendredi 6 décembre 2013
mercredi 4 décembre 2013
dimanche 1 décembre 2013
I am grateful to both his owner J Schneider and also A Bergmann for accommodating my ewes in Germany to allow for this mating to be possible.
Ushants dam Spered Breizh Nimue, a home bred ewe was selected for her origins and type to go to Germany, she was narrowly placed ahead of a very nice ewe at the GEMO national show at Brécé this year to be given Prix d'honneur brebis blanches.
To be able to reach deeper into the breeding of Ouessant Sheep than purely the aesthetic and to be in the fortunate position to look towards conservation of the heritage of the breed and its Breton roots is a priviledge. I am grateful to everyone who has helped me along that road.
dimanche 24 novembre 2013
I have tried a number of time to get this rams horns from a head on view, without success. This is Minimax. I wanted to make a comparison not with another of this years rams but one of the earlier posts on development of rams horns. LINK This post from 2009 features Faolan as a youngster.
samedi 23 novembre 2013
The rich reds and golden sunshine of autumn in Brittany. Punctuated by fluorescent orange jackets of the huntsmen....... so hopefully they avoid shooting each other .............they are *mostly* successful. Two hundred metres from taking this photo a magnificent pheasant made his way across the road, we looked at each other, nodded and he went on his way. The joys and madness of living in Brittany...
mercredi 20 novembre 2013
dimanche 17 novembre 2013
If you were to fast forward your flock by five or ten years using the current goals how would the flock look?.................................
Within this grouping of five ewe lambs there are four different unrelated ram bloodlines in the first generation and five different unrelated ewe bloodlines in the first generation. The selection criteria that I have used over the last few years is designed to retain maximum variability with regards to alleles present within the flock and yet selection criteria has been towards set goals for producing animals of sound construction that represent the breed standard and reproduce those results consistantly. This has been hard at times and there have been moments when I have found the decision making process difficult. In those moments I return to the question what is my long term goal?
samedi 16 novembre 2013
Owning a ram comes with a set of responsibilities, no matter how calm and docile out of breeding season the hormonal influence cannnot be under estimated when an on heat ewe is around. They can become dangerous and even a Ouessant ram can cause injury. Think carefully what the reasons are behind a decision to own a ram, if you really want to breed then there is no reason not to look at the options for the loan of a ram for a breeding season. Problems associated with in-breeding can be avoided and you still have the option for lambs without the difficulties of a testosterone fuelled set of horns for more than a few weeks at most. The alternative is to own and all male flock, bachelor groups of rams work very well provided there are no ewes in the vicinity to upset the balance.
This years breeding groups will be together for a maximum period of six weeks, long enough for the ewes to cycle a second time if not bred the first time around. After that the rams will all rejoin the bachelor group and peace and tranquility will be restored for everyone.
Il est parfois difficile quand vous avez le ou les béliers au même endroit que les femelles surtout s'il y en a que vous voudriez pas reproduire pour un raison où l'autre. Malheureusement souvent ceux qui débutent avec un couple ( mâle et femelle ) tombent sur ce problème assez vite à cause du consanguinité et le fait qu'il est souvent plus difficile à placer les mâles. Un bélier même si c'est un mouton d'Ouessant peut être agressif s'il est frustré et qu'il sent une brebis en chaleur. A devenir propriétaire d'un bélier n'est pas sans responsabilité. Un troupeau des moutons constitué des femelles et les mâles castré peut être un solution. Si vous voudriez des naissances, à trouver quelqu'un à vous prêter un mâle peut être un option à fin de limiter les difficultés .
L'option d'avoir un troupeau constitué seulement des mâles est impressionnant à voir et moins turbulent qu'un mâle séparé des femelles. Il n'est pas obligatoire à prendre un mâle avec une femelle surtout si vous n'avez pas l'expérience, soyez prudent, mais n'oubliez pas un mouton seul est un mouton malheureux il faut au mois deux.
mercredi 18 avril 2007
Flock / Holding Registration Number / Numéro du cheptel FR 22 237 218
GEMO – Our breeding stock hold certificates of conformity to the breed standard / Nos réproducteurs ont Certificats de Conformité au Standard
DDPP - Official Brucellosis Free Status / Officiellement indèmne de la Brucellose
dimanche 15 avril 2007
poor pasterns, bad hooves, legs overdeveloped
Rams, horns asymmetrical, too delicate, too tight or too open, abscence of horns.
Tail too long
Ears too large
Prominant bridge in the ewe or over developed in the ram
Prescence of toggles at the throat
Admissable in young subjects, blacks lightly marked with white on the forehead, whites with rust on the neck tail or feet, these marks diminish with age.REMARKSThere appears (rarely) in some ewes, tiny horns, without any bony plate, if they are observed they cannot be considered a fault.
Outside the breed standard, it needs to be noted single births are a characteristic of the breed, twin births are rare and not sought after.
Fleece- furnishing the forehead, and the cheeks partly. Covering all the body, descending at least to the knees and just to the hocks.
COLOURBlack, brown, chestnut, white, the pigmentation must be even throughout all the fleece.
Fleece semi closed, and quite compact, locks (staple) of 8 - 10 cms for 12 months growth.
Prescence of hairs and medullated fibres at the throat - cravat (accentuated in rams) nape and britches. The hairs are similar to the rest of the fleece although, they may be a little darker.
AVERAGE THICKNESS medium 27 to 28 microns
QUALITY very soft wool to the touch, very springy
AVERAGE WEIGHT OF THE FLEECE Rams 4.5% of live weight Ewes 4%of live weight.
CAUSES OF DISQUALIFICATION Fleece outside the standard, colour uneven, marks in the fleece, fleece thin, matted , lacking texture, density, staple length.
With thanks to GEMO a copy of the breed standard in English (my translation, so it may not reflect the exact content of the french text)
Link to original french text Breed Standard FR
"Standard proposed by the General Assembly of the group of breeders of Ouessants ( GEMO) 5th December 1981, modified by the General Assembly 16th November 1991 and 29th october 2005.
Fine and regular, the rams are horned, the bridge of the nose and forehead should form a continuous line. A very slight bridge to the nose in the ram
Eyes Bright and lively look, prominant orbit to the eye.
Ears fine, small, short, mobile and have a tendancy to be carried pricked.
Horns dark for the blacks and browns, light for the whites, triangular in section, strong, curled in a single spiral, of large amplitude, a good distance from the head.
rounded , without any dewlap, cravat (collar) in the rams.
withers not prominant , deep chest.
Straight ( level ) topline from the withers to the base of the tail.
slender, of medium length, well proportioned, good pasterns. Hooves, dark for the black and browns, light for the whites.
Maximum height for an adult Ram 49 cms
Maximum height for an adult Ewe 46cms
Addenum 29th October 2005. An optimum range has been determined particularly for competition, that corresponds to the ideal size looked for in selection. This range represents a division for obtaining a prize at the time of judging. The jury can decide to award a placement even if the subject is outside of the optimum range if, in their estimation, the qualities of the subject shown merits it and as long as they are within the norms for the standard.
Table for the optimum ranges.
Adult Ram 42 cm 48 cm
Yearling 40 cm 46 cm
Adult Ewe 40 cm 45 cm
Yearling 38 cm 44 cm
All uniform colours are accepted, black, noire brunissante, brown, white, a base of rust where there is a light touch of rust appearing on the fleece, appearing mostly on the head, feet or base of the tail is acceptable in whites.
The Ouessant Sheep originates from the island of Ouessant, part of a tiny archipelago just off the north coast of Finistere, Brittany. The island of terror as it was known to some, was swept by the full force of the atlantic’s weather, the hardy sheep adapted to survive on poor grazing from salty clifftop meadows. It was the women of the island that raised the sheep, renowned for their black wool to weave into cloth known locally as berlinge and their meat with its sweet and delicate taste.
La race "Mouton d'Ouessant" est originaire de l’île d’’Ouessant qui fait parti d’un petit archipel au large du Finistère, Bretagne. L’île de l'épouvante comme c'était connu par certains était balayé par les intempéries de l’atlantique, ces moutons rustiques s'adaptaient à survivre sur les pâturages pauvres des falaises salées. C’était les femmes de l’île qui élevaient les moutons réputés pour leur laine noire à tisser « la berlinge » une étoffe régionale et leur viande avec un goût doux et délicat.