Since May is still holding out, I don't have any new lamb pics. Today its flowers. As I walked out to do chores, I was greeted by the first rose of summer. The picture of my purple cream ruffled iris also caught the first rose. The rose is a hardy shrub rose with double magenta blossoms.I have 2 and both are loaded with buds.
Last night my Miss Kim lilacs hadn't opened. This morning they are in full blaze. With the old fashioned lilacs, the fragrances are wonderful. Throw in the spice scent of the blooming creeping dianthus, there is no better place to be. The year I really slow down, ha, when is that? I am putting a bench on the edge of the garden,s o I can sit and take it all in.
My struggling Carnival Weigala.......our winters are so cold. has made a valiant return. It did well for two years, then I moved it, so its my own fault, now in its second year in the new spot it is loaded with blossoms. It appears that its choked by daisies and lilies but it is clear all the way around. Trying to give the survivor--there were 2-- a fighting chance.
Bella's lambs continue to grow at a remarkable rate. Just look at Tulla's stance, bone, wide frame and well crimped fleece, I know I am biased but I think she is gorgeous! I have creep where Tulla and Tundra can eat a bit of grain in peace. If Tulla continues to grow well, she may be bred this fall to a purchased promising ram lamb- yet to be determined. (you know who you are) Till later Jerry
May is the ewe that started me in Shetlands. She impressed me, I like her size, pluck and body frame. She came January 7, 2010. She is 5 years old and had been left open. She struck up a friendship with my ram Elvis. She is due any day and I have been hovering over her. Every barn check, where's May? She comes up for her chin scratch and animal cracker. She is a great ewe..........and so I wait, wait. She has looked ready to go for a week or more. I can't stand the suspense. You see the ram Elvis was white with clean head and legs, but sired black lambs from a white ewe>>>>>>>>. His sire was a Lincoln/Icelandic and his dam is a HST marked Black Icelandic/Romanov. I am hoping for ewe lambs of course a bit of color would be a bonus. She is healthy and robust, the recent heat concerns me. She goes out to pasture, the others run back to the barn, she does a slow waddle. May's udder is full and her ligaments are dropping. So I watch-----wringing my hands. Till later Jerry
At morning feeding, the ewes and lambs came up to eat. Where is Ivy, the fawm spotted ewe lamb? Her dam Lily's udder did look really full. Oh no! I carefully and slowly walked the whole pasture. The 5 acres has Small hills, valleys, many rock, brush and hidden spots. As I am walking I am thinking, please let her be "parked" somewhere. Lily was parking her twins early on- like fawns. However, Ivan the twin ram lamb was up with the flock. Coyotes are about, but knock on wood, they have never come this far. I walk on, surprising how many rocks look like a lost lamb. I end up back at the barn. No lamb. Hawk or eagle? I stood there mourning a bit, then thought I'll look in that stack of 2 ft x 8 ft plywood pieces leaning up against the fence, There laying comfortably was Ivy! Her look was 'Hey what's the big deal?' Ah Angels were about--- this morning's gift Till later Jerry Here is this morning's precious pictures, Tulla Ag moorit Found! Fawn spotted Ivy Tundra(ram)Brown w/big white spot
With all the rain, my native pasture is lush and green. It lay untouched till I fenced, centuries of growing hardy native grasses. With careful grazing it stays green and growing all summer. Great combo nice native grass and my hardy 'native' Shetlands. The few I have do not leave a mark where they have grazed. So there will be plenty of grass when the rest of ewes arrive. A point of interest, our house is built on an old rock pile on an engineered slab so we do not have a basement. We have a bird's eye view, to the north our pasture and 2 miles of native woods, not a house in sight. Across the highway is still farm field and a large pond. The farmland has been platted into three 6 acre house lots-----for 10 years, but the owners are just biding their time. So our only neighbor, is throw the woods, good friends---they raise Icelandic sheep. I wish I could send fragrance along with pictures. My flowering crab is in full bloom and smells wonderful. Sorry for the dark picture, by this time of day the oak trees cast long shadows. The crab is 6 years old and doing well. (there were three....) I have a trunk strapped to a steel fence post. Our strong west winds had the tree leaning back. Our lilacs are starting to open, hydrangeas are in bud. I am waiting for the day lily/iris and Asiatic lily explosion... Till later Jerry
The picture is not the best quality-taken through the window panes. Its my view from my chair. I can watch my sheep graze and the lambs play. You see I can handle my gardening, sheep and chicken chores, but my doctors say I must often take rest breaks. So my recliner is positioned so I can watch tv, see across the house and to the front door and look out the picture window. We positioned our home so we have great views, we figure as we age we will spend more time inside....so its go to look out and see.
The second picture is fall color out the same window. My three ewes will all take an animal cracker out of my hand. Yes, I am making pets or pests out of them, but that's why I have them. I am counting the weeks until the rest of my purchased/reserved ewes wean their lambs and come home. Till later, Jerry
Maybeline is a very easy keeper. So she tends to be rounder than most. But she is the ewe that took me into Shetlands. She is 5/6 years old. When she came she was leery of this friendly shepherd, I was assured by the previous owner that she would come around. I started giving her bits of sugar cones........and I won she over. Now I will turn around and there is May waiting to have her chin scratched, she stands there and wags her tail. Yes when I heard 'and they will wag their tails', I thought ya sure. But they do! In today's picture she is very pregnant and the udder is filling ever so slightly. Matriarch that she is, she is quiet and none assuming. At this point no bullies. When the rest of the Shetland ewes arrive, I am going to sit on a pail, have a pocketful of animal crackers and use May as the friendly defector. By her example others will tame down. Good to see the sun again. The dreary and cool temps made it all gloomy. Hey I am a sun lover. Till later, Jerry
Its been raining for two days, we needed the rain. Today its super green outside. I have watered everything 4 times this year, our gravely soil has little water retention. And I like all our planting to be lush. The tree leaves have really popped. This year the flowers and shrubs are very large. We lost three 6 year old Tamarisk bushes, beautiful but not hardy in our growing zone 4, ah sometimes our weather acts like zone 3. Tamarisks are gorgeous. The new growth is pink and looks like its "blooming" I banked them each fall. Near the barn so water was close by. Here is one of them in its better years.
The sheep grazed for part of the day. My pasture is native grass. They have access to hay in the barn. I am giving grain to my nursing ewes. Each is nursing twins and that is a drain on their systems. I know on the Shetland Islands its grass based, but their lambing percentage is not 200%. I believe in giving my stock the best chance to be successful and strong. Most of my ewes are "oversized" for the breed standard but I like them bigger. The lambs are really growing Tulla and Tundra are chunks. Bella feeds them well. Both Tulla and Tundra have ultra fine fleece with lots of crimp and it appears will have a heavy fleece.
Ivy and her brother Ivan are following close behind. At 9 days old, they are 11 days younger and at this stage that's a big difference. Ivy remains fawn with dabs and drizzles of white all over. Ivan is pure black, time will tell if he is non fading black or starts to change--several modifiers afoot in all four lambs. The barn is clean, nothing worse than taking inside pictures- which are never as good as outside on green grass and sunshine. The backgrounds show every bit of dirty straw and rub marks on the white walls. The flock is doing well, they continue to impress. The next 'big event' is Maybeline lambing. Her udder has a long way to go, her belly moves so there is lambs in there. Looks like one on each side. She should lamb by the end of May? Sire is a Icelandic/Romanov cross. White lambs or colored surprises? At this very moment- I looked out the back picture window- the flock is out grazing- and we are getting small SNOW flakes Oy! what next? Till later Jerry
Jerry Fletcher, Fergus Falls, MN
November 2011 I retired, sold my Shetland flock and moved to town.I live on the edge of Fergus Falls, pop 13,000. Its has been a great choice. My mother, sister, her family and my granddaughter live here. I have a garden shed that I converted into a chicken coop. Its also houses my granddaughter's pet Rabbit. My backyard will be flowers and shrubs.