samedi 29 juin 2013

High Humidity

Time for a few sheep shots.....These two are always close together, the weather isn't really getting much better and I have still to shear quite a number of the sheep but they are getting done slowly.

Soelie was completely rooed two days ago, she has an entire fleece underneath her old one not just a bit of fine hair! There are a few more to be rooed before I finish with the shears.

And the lambs are maturing nicely.

Il est encore trop humide à tondre les moutons, mais l'herbe et les agneaux poussent bien.  

dimanche 23 juin 2013

Work In Progress

Still too wet to shear - just as well I've still got some fleeces to play with.

Laine  d'une de mes brebis Mouton d'Ouessant- Lavée et prête à peigner

mercredi 19 juin 2013

You're 'avin a Larf!

Gary is rather a cool dude, he takes life in his stride and strives at all times to remain composed. The onslaught of lambs using him as a climbing frame doesn't phase him, neither do his security duties, day and night keeping a watchful eye on the girls but there are times...... when his good nature is tested.  I mean what does he look like!!

Having fought with Gary over the years to detach his seriously felted fleece by any means necessary last year there was a bit of a break through and I left him longer than usual. To my surprise he rooed almost all of his fleece with just a little around the neck needing scissoring. So this year the fibre fairies have been back at work. ( snigger) Its true, its not an enviable hairstyle but its not for long the rest is lifting off nicely and soon Gary can go back to being a cool dude.

I expect virtually all of my sheep to moult or shed some part of their fleece.

As with the majority of my sheep this ewe has shed the wool on her tail and back legs and around the udder. This has not been trimmed or removed in any way. This kind of trait along with the primitive short tail is a reminder that this breed like many other primitives retains a close association with sheep who were not intensively managed and who by natural selection were reared to be closely in tune with their environment.

For the fibre enthusiast  a sheep who sheds its fleece can be a bonus but in terms of management its benefits are huge. Any sheep who may have soiled their fleece on fresh spring grass readily lose the soiled fleece without human intervention, at worst a swift tug to remove any daggy bits to speed things along is all that is needed.

The longer I keep my sheep the more I learn about the processes that led to this breed and how its adaptations fit into the landscape. I am sure that there is plenty more that they have to teach me.

And plenty more for me to play with.

dimanche 16 juin 2013

Fibre Fun

Its too wet to garden and too wet to shear so time for some indoor fun - who fancies hoovering anyway!

I finally finished my first bobbin of home spun Ouessant fleece!Yay!! I'm happy with it but its a practice piece definately not useable other than as a learning experience. I'm happy that my fingers are becoming more nimble and that although its full of mistakes I have made enough progress to start to produce the kind of fibre I want even if its still in fits and starts. The combed fibre is Ouessant with the darker ball at the top some natural coloured shetland. I have a selection of shetland top and the intention is to move on to this to continue my spinning practice. I'm curious to know if the commercially prepared shetland fleece will make things easier, certainly I hope it will show me my mistakes with my Ouessant fleece fibre prep. I have a rooed fleece steeping in the sink and several that need sorting but I feel so much progress has been made in getting to grips with the next step in processing my own fleeces. I'll allow myself a small sense of satisfaction.

lundi 10 juin 2013

L'il Devils

My, what big horns you have.... Already some of the rams are showing significant horn development. Once again I scratch my head at the variation and the number of variables. Once again my trusty camera will record the changes .

However I know what doesn't appeal
It will take time to tease out the variables and factors that will contribute to a horn set that attains a natural sweep. Patience......

jeudi 6 juin 2013

Good Humoured Gary

No rest for the wicked!

dimanche 2 juin 2013

Woolly Jumpers!

Last years lambs are looking kinda woolly!
It won't be too long before  all the sheep will have to be shorn, not before time as they are dropping bits of fleece all over the place. Now that lambing is officially over for this year I can turn my attention to the myriad of other jobs that have been put to one side. Not least the subject of shearing and some fibre fun. I have a few projects in mind...... will i ever find the time to put them into practice. I feel daunted already!

samedi 1 juin 2013


There are times when your senses are so tuned in to another that you are as aware of their body as you are of your own. The other evening I was priviledged to share one of those moments. As Lodicia listened intently  to her body in the throws of labour, the calm still evening and the dimly lit surroundings only served to intensify that focus. We shared that moment before her lamb was born, afterwards, exhaustion, elation, all those emotions that new life brings with them but the joy of Lodicias lambing was in touching the intangible and knowing that she felt it too.

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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