Monday, August 17, 2009

Bolton fair report

Wow what a weekend!

The Bolton fair went from Thursday to Sunday this year, a new 4 day idea. I had to be there Saturday, and Sunday with my sheep staying overnight. Saturday I was by myself and that was the main Shetland show day and featured breed demonstration. Sunday was other breeds and the best in show classes.

On Saturday I loaded up Sunny, Cammie, Jacqui, and Daisy Mae (who was just going to watch), and drove the 20 minutes to the fairgrounds. I managed to get 2 pens that were in the shade, although the temperatures were in the high 80's and low 90's both days, and settled everyone in. I met fellow competitors and sheep fans, and found out the breed featured class was at 1pm with the show classes taking place after that. 

There were over 50 Shetlands at the show which was really great. The breed feature went really well, there were 6 or 7 breeders (myself included) and we all did a part of the talk. We covered breed history, conformation, colors and markings. I talked about conformation, and we had several sheep in the ring that people could come up and feel so they understood what to look for. We managed to represent 11 of the colors and quite a few markings. People really seemed to enjoy the chance to pet our sheep. I was so impressed with how the sheep behaved as they were in and out of the ring for much of the hour. Sunny still managed to wag his tail everytime he was petted. I think serious consideration should be given to a Shetland with the waggiest tail class lol!

After the demonstration/featured class, the actual show began. There was a large yearling ram class which I am proud to say Sunny won. We did not win champion ram, but I was happy to win the yearling ram class with him. 

Then Cammie was in a huge yearling ewe class of maybe 16 other sheep which she won, she then went on to win Champion ewe. 

Jacqui placed a very respectable 3rd in another large junior ewe lamb class, the judge said she liked her fleece a lot but also said that white does not do as well against the colors. I was still very happy with her and think she will do well next year. 

Outside of the ring I had managed to get Gypsy's  fleece skirted for the wool show. I entered natural color and won. The fleece also went on to win best in show. Wow. 

Sunday started hot. The sheep all got admired throughout the day. I encouraged young children to pet the sheep and feel Sunny's horns, and give out the occasional animal cracker. He was such a good boy and always had a little wag of his tail. Daisy Mae spent the weekend with her head in the hay bag lol, but did get admired a lot in the featured breed class where she showed off her flecket markings. 

Cammie competed in best in show but did not win. It is hard for shetlands to compete against meat breeds, but I think the judging over the 2 days I was there was very good, and the shetland judge on Saturday was excellent.

Overall it was an amazing weekend. I met some really nice people. Got helped a lot on Saturday by some great 4H er's and really couldn't be happier. Below is a picture of what I bought home from Bolton. It's actually missing the best in show fleece rosette (I couldn't find it Sunday). Still I think it's impressive. Nadine (at Painted Knoll) you can be proud too as you bred them :)

Now I need to unpack everything and relax. Thank goodness it is Monday lol.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My busy day

Yesterday I spent 12+ hours on the road with my friend Alex as she was kind enough to drive me to Pennsylvania and most of the way back. Our mission was to pick up the last ewe I am buying for a while hopefully.

This is Twin Springs Daisy Mae.

She is beautiful, but rather tiny at the moment (as you can see when she is next to Jacqi). It was lovely to meet Sandy and her husband who were kind enough to meet us halfway. On the 6 hour drive home she didn't make a sound. We are all hoping that in my small flock she'll face no real competition for food. She spent all of today with her head either in a hay bag, in a grain tub or in grass lol so it is going well. I will take weekly weights to assess her progress but she does have nice long cannon bones to grow into.

Who can resist such a sweet face?

Daisy Mae already comes over for pets a little, and Jacqi seems to have really taken to her. I think she is a wonderful addition to my flock and hopefully will make just as good an addition to my breeding program eventually.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sheep spa day

Today it was the turn of the sheep to be hosed off for the show. They still have a mild shampoo (for faces etc)  and hoof trimming on either Tuesday or Thursday but this was just to get off the dirt. Sunny stood like a pro and actually seemed to enjoy it. He's been butting heads with Dreamer though, and has managed to chip part of his horn. Hopefully that's ok.

Cammie was not happy about it, but I was so happy with her leading and standing that I didn't mind.

Jacqi looked like drowned rat until she had a good shake.

I also thought people might like chicken pictures. So here is Annabelle the rooster, he got out of the coop this morning all by himself. He was supposed to be a hen but has done a few funny crow things and has a very red wattles and comb. The name Annabelle has stuck though.

And Rosalie our alpha chicken.

And a few of the girls' enjoying some corn from the cob.

This is the spaghetti squash plant that is taking over everything.

All-in-all a beautiful day.

It finally feels like summer.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Horsey spa day

I have been very busy recently with the teaching the sheep to halter train, looking after the chickens (especially Annabelle the rooster with the gimpy leg), physical therapy for my shoulder etc. But today has been planned for weeks. My friend Alex and I arranged a spa day for our horses at the barn where we board. Bridle and ears paths were trimmed, muzzles, shaved, ears and legs were clipped. Horse boy parts were cleaned (sheath cleaning for the horsey amongst us) and then the boys were shampooed and conditioned. When they were dry they were groomed and polished, and finally pictures were taken.

Here's Alex's horse Mikey looking all shiny.

And handsome.

And Muppet my horse Muppet who really liked everything.

Except for losing grass eating time.

Hopefully the weather here stays nice because this weekend is spa day for the Bolton sheep!