May 22, 2024

From the Pastures: Finding inspiration

Interesting how short spring can be in northern Illinois. This week the weather has jumped right into summer. I do not mind. Nice to see the grass and pasture turn green.

Last weekend, I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for the first time. Amazing how many people were in attendance even though it rained for two days. There are a lot of people interested in sheep and sheep products. There were at least four barns with sheep on display. Most of the sheep breeds represented were wool type. Attendees really like seeing the different breeds up close.

The festival has a large sheep show and sale. The festival also conducts a fleece sale and show. The barn where the fleeces are on display was so full of people it was difficult to walk through. Many people buy whole fleeces at the show and bidding wars occur for many of the nice fleeces. If you raise wool sheep and have fleeces to sell, it may be worth the trip to Maryland. I was really inspired by all the different colors of yarn available. Walking through the various booths gave me good ideas to dye my fleeces to make yarn. I can’t wait to get started.

Lambs have arrived with all but one ewe lambing now. The Shetland lambs all have nice color patterns. A couple are black with white patches. One of the ewe lambs has three colors with patches of gray, white and brown all over her body. The Shetland Island name for this type of markings is “Bersugget.” It is a rare color pattern. Her fleece will make nice yarn.

A set of twin Scottish Blackface lambs were born, one ewe and one ram. They have black faces and black legs. They are really cute. We also have a couple baby bunnies that we found in the hay. Glad the rabbits can use the barn, also.

Now that the weather has improved, there are a lot of projects to complete. Looking forward to getting outside more. Hope everyone planting has good weather.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.