May 13, 2021

From the Pastures: My favorite season

Spring is my favorite season of the year. It brings the warmer weather and anticipation of new life. There are flowers already blooming in our yard and others pushing their way through the ground. The pasture is turning green and will be growing soon. I keep the sheep in until about May 1 to give the pasture time to recover from winter. Now that we do not have any horses, our pasture feeds the few sheep we have all summer and into the fall. We have several big bales of hay left from last year. Maybe this year we can sell our cutting of hay.

Last fall, we turned our Scottish Blackface ram in with the Scottish Blackface ewes around Halloween. After a long day of family and delicious food on Easter, I found a little Scottish Blackface lamb while doing chores. The ewe lamb was doing great and really cute. This is the first time there has been a lamb born on Easter at our farm. I asked my granddaughter to name her and she gave her the name Rose.

Scottish Blackface lambs are all white with a little black on their legs and face. As a lamb, their wool is a little curly. A couple days later another ewe started having signs of labor. After watching her for a little while, I realized something was wrong. She was obviously in distress, so I called in some expert veterinarian help from my brother. He had not worked with sheep before, but said, “Should be just like a cow.”

He found the first lamb was trying to be born backwards with the tail coming out first. He was able to turn it around and successfully help it out. The ram lamb was a little stressed, but started breathing right away. Then a twin ewe lamb was born. She was a little smaller, but doing well. I was really excited because this particular ewe had never bred before and now she had twins. It is a couple days later and all are doing well. With our first lambs on the ground, I am excited for the Shetland’s to start lambing around the first on May.

I participated in another live online sale with my roving and yarn. I am always amazed at the support people around the country give to my fiber and mill. There were several repeat customers. In addition to showing the yarn and dyed roving made from my sheep’s wool, I talk about the benefits of wool. These wool facts are always appreciated by the audience. They tell me that they enjoy learning more about wool.

Have a wonderful spring and safe planting season.

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.