jeudi 23 août 2007

A Bit of Culture

A couple of weeks ago when the weather was hot and not incessant rain and grey skies. I went to one of the local agricultural craft fayres where they celebrate the old ways and all manner of things created and done by hand. It is a time for people to get together and bring alive the local crafts and traditions, for farmers to dust off all manner of old farm machinery and proudly demonstrate what must have been laborious and back breaking work, threshing wheat and the like. There is also music from the Breton pipes and ladies sit and spin and chat. Of course some of the traditions remain strong and there are a number of local dance groups participating in Breton Dancing. So for your enjoyment and interest a few snaps.

Breton Ladies in traditional dress carding and spinning whilst no doubt catching up on all the latest gossip.

Breton Dancers in traditional dress, the lace caps are very much a feature and the shape and design was used to indicate the region or village you belonged to.

Clog making traditional clogs are still worn on a daily basis by some in some parts of Brittany.

mercredi 22 août 2007

Rosie's Colour

As promised a few photos of Rosie after shearing and in full fleece. I have always presumed her grey appearance was due to her aging she is an older ewe and I would think at least six. Shes also a fantastic mum

So here she is in here first year here in full fleece with Twiglet she was by this time already an experienced mum.

As time has gone on it has been possible to pick her out from the rest of the flock by the colour of her fleece as its been getting lighter and lighter.

This is her in 2007 having been recently sheared. her head legs and belly stay black whilst her body is clearly grey. She has a small white star on her forehead but she has always had that.


She has only ever had black lambs who have shown no signs of doing anything other than remaining black. This year she has coped amazingly well with the twins bringing them up to be sturdy well fed lambs. Rosie is also the most wiley of the flock and takes every opportunity to avoid handlng or being caught if at all possible! This year I will mate her to Doddy also spotted I hope for some interesting results.

mardi 14 août 2007

Isn't she lovely, isn't she wonderful

Yes I know its corny but at this point I feel I should be singing that song by Lionel Ritchie. terrible photo early days I'll get a better one to put up as she grows. Initial thoughts, well grown sturdy but feminine and not too big for her age! Time will tell how she grows but at the moment I am thrilled with her.
Welcome Gwenn!
For the moment shes in the nursery with Uncle Gary to keep an eye on her later I'll introduce her to the main flock and then I'll really be able to compare how shes growing

samedi 11 août 2007

Sheep and Fleece Day

Last weekend we held a Sheep and Fleece day hosted by Val Grainger. In the end there were ten of us I think with a couple who were unable to make it at the last minute. Following tea and biscuits and introductions, Val started with a powerpoint presentation on her laptop.

Running through a variety of topics, lots of information and discussion. The weather was fortunately good ( the only decent day that week!) and we were able to have lunch in the sunshine a chat about all manner of sheepy things. People had come in some cases from quite some distance. Following lunch a practical session with Esmi, Lillie and Gary as slightly uwilling practice subjects well except Gary who as usuall wanted to be the centre of attention!

Lillie getting a trim

Gary and Gabrielle ( I think Gary had passed out by this stage;-))
Gary was practice sheep as he really doens't mind being handled ( despite the photo!) so we all got a chance to work out which bit goes where.
Finally Val brought along a numbe rof samples of different fleeces so we could take look at texture and quality and also a demonstration of peg loom weaving. A good day with great company. A huge thankyou to Stuart for the photos I was too busy to take any.

samedi 4 août 2007

Addition to Breed Standard

I have added to the breed standard a small section that I didn't translate from the original text at the same time. Again, its my translation so it may not reflect the true meaning of the original text. The text in italics is the latest addition. I have updated the post in the breed standard section to read as per the full french text.
There has already been some discussion as to the exact interpretation of this text. IE whether adults over the height standard may still be judged if their qualties merit it. I can only say that at the GEMO competition earlier this year prior to competition each entrant was passed under the official measure ( wicket) any sheep not meeting the standard was not eligible to be considered for judging............
HEIGHTMaximum 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
Original french Text FR

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.

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