vendredi 6 juin 2014
With huge thanks to John Ushant a photo from his private family collection of his great grand mother. This photo was thought to be taken circa 1900 on the island of Ouessant. A tantalising glimpse into the history of the island. As was the tradition the sheep would be moved onto fresh grazing tied in pairs.
Over a hundred years later and photos taken by the lady in the photos' great grandson on the island where he lives still today.
The size type and colour are interesting, still some black is present even after all this time. Is the black of ouessant sheep truly recessive or is there some dominant black in the population?
Gone is any resemblance to the primitive north european short tailed breeds replaced by a commercial faster maturing heavier sheep more appealing to todays meat market.
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.
dimanche 10 novembre 2013
Thanks to the internet and youtube to be precise I found an eloquent and easy to follow guide to how to do this knot and make a shawl. LINK Now let me tell you I had resolved not to make a shawl, however plan B and all that . That being said I am pleased it has turned out as well as it has and I have learnt from doing it.
Un châle au crochet de laine de mouton d'Ouessant! Enfin , ça me fais plaisir d'avoir réussi à filer la laine de mes moutons. Les moutons que j'ai élevé, tondu et maintenant peux dire qu'ils sont pas uniquement pour tondre l'herbe c'est vraiment un bête à laine, on retourne au débuts de la race. Même s'il y a du travail encore pour l'apprentissage du filage, je suis contente.
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.