Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Gosling Fun!

Sheep farms love goslings!  Geese provide much needed assistance to the sheep pastures.  Around the world, geese help keep pastures 'cleaned up' of things you don't want your sheep ingesting.  The sheep are put out to graze a planned area, then moved to the next planned area when they've eaten the grasses down to a measured point.  Right after the sheep are moved off, the geese are put in.  They love it!  Geese are farm employees, and are valuable to have around.

That said, geese are FUN!  They are cute, easy, pleasant, and a joy to have on the farm.  Our spring goslings are growing super fast now.  They were born...let's see...May 20th.  As you see them here below, they are about half as tall as they are today already!

Baby Geese!

They love water, and have to have it at all times.  We give them a deeper pail with rocks on the bottom for dipping, so they can eat their food.  They also get this bird bath top, with it's gentle sides, cause you know, they have very big shoes to walk in!  As babies, they are terribly clumsy, as you can imagine!  The grass is delicious, full of good things to eat, plus they get starter kibbles.  I think the sunshine says grow, grow, grow!

We love our goslings.  If you ever have a chance to raise goslings, don't hesitate!  They are one of life's simple pleasures not to be missed!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Skeins, skeins, skeins!






We have the skeins!  Click on our website link to the right to learn more!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Storm Blew in some FLUFF!

Surprise, surprise!!  There is never a dull moment on the farm!  Excitement is always just around the corner...always!  First, I'll tell you about our little chick you see here in the picture below.  Little chickie is a Wyandotte...either a boy or girl, as we ordered some of each...who was feeling a little under the weather.  So we set up a little Chickie Hospital in an ice cream pail and placed this little bird under a separate heat lamp from the others in hopes that, with extra care, it would recover.
 Little Chick doesn't want to stand up.
(By the way...check out our Dandelion Games Video...it's not a game!, on the bottom of the Farm Gallery page on our NEW website!  Click on the link to the right here on the blog to get to our website, then click on the chickens on the gallery page, all the way at the bottom.)

This little chick won't stand up.  It eats, has no other symptoms, drinks nicely, peeps happily, and all.  It just won't stand up.  That started a few days ago.  So every little while, I take it some water in it's doll tea set creamer.  You can't leave the water as the chick is too weak to drink on it's own from it.  See the little tea creamer in the picture below?  Cute.
 Well, then a big storm blew in.  After our flowering trees were dressed in all their finery in the warm, summer-like breezes of the last several days, the temperature dove down, the wind began to howl, and today, we had pelting rain.  The wind lashed at the windows and howled in the cracks!  Things thumped and banged.  No one wanted to go outside...not even the cats!!  So in came all the flowers...and yes, my peach tree!  I've dragged this peach tree in and out for nearly a month now!  On nice days, it's out.  On set-back days, it's in!  Today, it's in!

So everyone was content.  The cats were sleeping on the hay, the lambs were leaping, then napping in their pen.  The horses were dozing in their stalls. The peaches were growing unhindered on the tree.  The shepherds were hoping to be dozing, too!  But then, we realized that the mamma goose who had a gosling yesterday, now had 5!  She's a very good mother and hisses intensely at you if you get within 50 feet of her.  But we have a racoon lurking about lately, and the goslings were not safe, even with her!  So we made the hard decision to take the goslings up to the house to a brooder.  She let me take them because she likes me.  Afterall, I raised her from a baby gosling, too.  I took the little fluff balls, and I mean, they are FLUFFY up to the house in a huge pail with it's lid on.  I had some nice hay in the bottom that was familiar to them, then I put the lid on loosely so air could get in, but no rain, and quickly pressed thru the rain and wind up to the farmhouse.  Into the makeshift brooder they went!  The heat lamp was already warm for the chick, and the chick was elated to have new buddies voices nearby!

So here are the just dry, brand new, super cute and outstandingly fluffy little balls we brought in on the wind!  First, they had to learn how to drink.  :)  Then, they had to find the food.  :)  Then, they had to figure out how those awkwardly huge feet work!  Oh, they are so cute!  They make cute little happy noises, and they love their warm brooder.  They will be safe here for a day or so, until they are eating good and the bad weather passes.  Then, they can go into a larger brooder with a feeder all their own.

Meanwhile, I ran out to check on Momma Goose.  She's grateful!  She was standing at the feeder, stuffing herself.  Hatching out all those goslings is hard work and stressful.  She was glad to do it, and did a great job!  Now, some Mom time.  Later still, she was sound asleep with her head under her wing.  Just what she needed!  I don't think she minded I took the goslings at all.

So with that, another exciting day on the farm is winding down, and the back porch of the farmhouse is stuffed to the gills with spring...flowers on the freezer, flowers all across the window sill, flower pots on the floor, geraniums on the freezers, and a beauty of a pepper on a tool box, plus, one happily peeping yellow chick, and five REALLY FLUFFY balls!  Oh, and one peach tree!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Knitted Wraps

Isn't this a gorgeous knitted wrap?  It's called the Daffodil Wrap as the main body is knitted in a soft daffodil yellow, with a pink-tangerine wide band and edged in a lovely creamy white, all to mimic those lovely heralds of spring we so look forward to seeing!

This would be so lovely to wear on a summer trip to the beach, or to snuggle up while sipping coffee outside while watching sunrises, or even for sunset walks!  So pretty with dresses or jeans, this anytime, anywhere wrap can go casual or fancy!  Fits perfectly into this year's fashion forecasts, although things like this never really go out of style, right?

 Made entirely of Wheely Wooly Farm's Wheelspun Yarns, you can find this wrap and others to purchase in our NEW secure online Farm Shop!  Head on over to our NEW website for more information and links to our shop.

Click here to go to the website https://www.wheelywoolyfarm.com


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

An Announcement!

New!

We here at Wheely Wooly Farm are pleased to announce the launch of our new website and secure online store!

We invite you to visit us at wheelywoolyfarm.com
where you'll find all the information you need on finding us at our summer farm market, with easy links to our new secure online store!

This is an exciting time as we are very pleased to bring you shipping anywhere in the continental U.S.A. OR pick up of your order at the farm market on Saturday mornings!  Yes, that's right.  You can now order your yarn, needles, and knitted items during the week, to ensure you can get what you like best, and we'll happily have it ready for you the next Saturday, available for you during the normal market hours of 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

And how exciting to announce that our website can be viewed on your mobile devices!  Now you can look us up and find us even if you are already out and about.  Show your friends pictures from the farm gallery, or get their advice on yarn gifts you are thinking of getting for someone you love.

Also new this year...we will be accepting Apple Pay and Android Pay!  What an easy way to make your purchases, especially on the go like at the farm market!  We also accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards as well.

With all these great changes, we hope to serve you better and make your shopping experiences more enriching, convenient, and simple!  As it is all so new, we may experience bumps along the way until we can get things fully up and running.  For example, the yarns are mostly available in the store, but the wraps, scarves, hats, gifts, patterns, and embroidery yarns will be available in the store sometime between now and the start of market, which is June 17, 2017.  Come back and visit the store often to see what's new, for we are sure you'll be delighted just to see!

So click on the link above, and welcome to the farm!


Get $5. OFF with online store purchases of $25. or more!
Offer valid one time only thru 7-1-17






Monday, May 8, 2017

On Pasture

Breathe deep!  Ahhh!  That spring pasture smells so fresh and nice!  Did you hear the meadowlark?  Oh...a wild turkey!  Hey!  The owl is hooting...now?

Hello again.  Welcome to the farm blog that takes you into modern sheep farming.  Sheep have been kept for more millennia than is hardly imaginable.  They used to roam in very large flocks over vast areas of land, while being watched over by boys and men.  Of course we cannot let them roam so much like that anymore (the sheep, silly).  Good thing they are content with just a little good grazing, a good afternoon napping spot, and good friends to hang out with (the sheep, the sheep silly!)

Well, boys and men are not much wanting to watch over vast flocks of sheep anymore.  So us shepherds must do something!  Surely there are great candidates for the job of staring down sweet sheep and getting them to go where they need to go, and quickly?  Every sheep farm seeks talent in the sheep department...someone who is smart, quick, has their ears on, and super responsive to orders...you know...a natural!  Someone who lives for the work day and night, who is always ready to get the job done!  Someone like...

You!

Swifty here....uh hum!  Please, please, please can I go put the sheep in now!  I can do it!  I'll do it for you!  Just say go!  Can I?  Now?  Yes?  Please?  Right now?  Go?  Now?  Please?

Shepherdess here...for those of you new to Wheely Wooly Farm, meet our sheep dog, Swifty.  He's one of those super lucky Border Collies to actually live on a real, live, active, working sheep farm!  His eyes tell you how much he loves his work, and what a natural he is!  

 His ears are always tuned in...always on the sheep.
One ear up!  That's my boy!

The grass here on the farm is getting long and ready for grazing.  The problem is, the sheep have been off grass since last October.  They've been eating dried grass, or hay, for seven months.  If you put sheep straight out on grass right out of winter quarters, they will die.  They need time to adjust their body chemistry to the changes in feed.  Ever go to a restaurant to eat a totally new kind of food and get a super bad stomach ache?  Well, it's sort of like that for sheep, but worse, as it can be deadly.  That's why sheep farms, and all owners of livestock know to get their animals on grass slowly, in very short periods.  We have been getting the sheep on our pastures for over a week now.  Each day, they go out a little longer.  I move them fast from section to section to "vacuum" up the dandelions before they go to seed.  Excellent nutrition after a long winter, and don't they know it!!  So while they graze, Swifty here has to wait patiently.  He sits with me and we listen to the songbirds, watch the grasses blow in the wind, and giggle at the sheep leaping and running sideways in delight at the fresh spring air.  Well, I giggle, Swifty gets squirmy to get workin!
What a good boy!  What a good day!  What a good life!

On pasture.  It's the place to be!  If you don't have a pasture to set your lawn chair up in, or a sheep dog to keep your work going, how about setting up in your back yard and imagining?  Or, how about a nice walk in a green space...while imaging what sheep might have roamed there before people came?  Listen for songbirds.  Can you identify them by name?  

Back in the farmhouse, Posie's yarn is coming off the wheel and Peppermint's is started!  Peppermint is Minty's little lamb from last year, one of twins and so far, her fleece is just as I'd hoped!  Stay tuned for updates and announcements to come.  We've made some changes this year to better serve you!  Can you believe summer farm market season is just weeks away?!?  We can't!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mud!


Gloppy, sloppy mud!

The farm is unusually soggy right now.  The sheep have been out to graze just a little so far this spring because everything is soggy, squishy wet.  So this year, we are doing things a little different.  Our lambs are growing really fast, taking a lot out of their mothers, so we are doing an early wean this year.  The timing is perfect!  The lambs are huge, eating ample feed, and in a place they love and is familiar.  The moms were taken out of the lamb pen and given a resting space right next to their lambs.  They are so relieved to get some rest!  You know the timing is good when the lambs delight in the extra room to run!  Cabot expressed his feelings by leaping higher than ever and tearing around...obviously feeling fantastical at the idea of the unobstructed space opened up.

So at this time, we are doing frequent barn checks on the lambs, making sure everyone stays where we last put them (with hammer and nails handy for putting fence boards back on!), and getting lots of other work done in between.  Summer farm market season is coming super fast!!!

Misty's lovely Country Apple Green Wrap being knitted on our Natural Needles
Watch for these exciting needles at the market this summer!

With all the wind, driving rain, and cold temps we've had, our wraps are the perfect thing to warm you up when you need a little something around your shoulders.  These versatile wraps can be easily put on or taken off throughout the day as you move through all the things you need to do in a day.  Less active but cool?  Wrap one of these around your shoulders and feel real comfort.  Feeling warmer when more active?  Lay across a chair for a very pretty and cheerful sight...ready for use at a moment's notice!   

Watch for more details on these Wheely Wooly Farm wraps coming real soon!  And we will have exciting announcements coming equally soon so stay tuned!

PS...Lil' Rainbow's yarn is finished and ready for sale, and now Posie's fleece is being spun.  I think this is the nicest fleece she's ever provided us!  It's positively dreamy to spin!  Next after Posie is Peppermint...one of Minty's lambs.  She just gave us her first clip and I can't WAIT to spin it next!

If you are new to the farm's blog, welcome!  We are a small sheep farm in the USA just west of the Great Lakes.  The flock of sheep maintained here consists in part of genuine Shetland sheep, as well as other breeds for a variety of fibers that keeps the shepherdess and Lead Spinner quite busy.  Our yarns and knitted garments have traveled to countries around the globe with customers who find us.  From multiple US states to Canada, England, Scotland, Japan, Israel, India, and others, our products have been carried on the global winds indeed!  We hope you enjoy learning about the workings of daily life here on the farm, and come back to visit us again soon!