January 18, 2022

From the Pastures: As busy as a bee

Sure has been a busy month for us. My husband and son removed all the old fence around the paddock area of the barn with only one incident. Hiding in the ground near one section of the fence was a large bee colony. Unfortunately, my husband did not see it until the bees were mad and swarming around him. The fence removal operation changed to bee removal.

We took advantage of the opportunity to change the layout of the paddocks with the new fence. The area in the back of the barn has always been the ram’s pen. This was enlarged to give them more grazing area. The area leading out to the big pasture was also arranged better with the new fence. The high tensile woven wire has smaller openings on the bottom, which will keep our smaller Shetland sheep from going through the fence. It is also very strong and will last many, many years.

The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival was well attended. We saw a lot of old friends, which was very nice. It was great to talk about fiber and sheep. I enjoy seeing all the different colors people have dyed their roving and yarn. There are so many talented folks at this show. I am already looking forward to trying some of the color combinations.

In the next couple weeks it will be time to finalize a breeding program for next year. I have several nice yearling Shetland ewes, which should pair well with the black ram. The Scottish Blackface will be moved in with the ram around Halloween so they lamb a little earlier. The Shetlands’ time frame is Thanksgiving to produce lambs around the first of May. With a fiber flock, we do not have to lamb in the winter, which is nice for this old shepherd.

Hope all the farmers have a safe harvest.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.