June 20, 2024

From the Pastures: Spring is on its way

Surprise, winter is not over. Tonight as I write, the snow is coming down hard and blowing a lot. Looks like we have 3 inches already and it is supposed to snow all night. I may be working from home tomorrow. The grandkids are hoping for no school. On the positive side, the moisture will be good for the pasture.

The pregnant ewes are doing well. I checked them more closely this past weekend. Their body condition was good. The lambs are due the first of May. We have a professional shearer to the farm mid to the end of April and I need to set up a specific date as April is getting closer. Soon I will start giving this group of ewes a little grain to supplement their nutrition. Shetland sheep typically do not need grain except during pregnancy and after weaning. Our Scottish Blackface sheep also do well on hay and pasture. It is important to keep mineral available.

Recently, I washed some of the Scottish Blackface wool. It had a long staple length and bright white color. Scottish Blackface wool has a soft part and a coarser part. When spun it is a very strong yarn and great for weaving. I make a lot of batts from the Scottish Blackface wool. The batts are about 24 inches wide and 36 inches long. They can be used for quilts or other projects. Many of our customers hand spin the batts.

Scottish Blackface wool takes dye colors very well. The colors come out nicely clear and bright. It is fun to mix colors and create some interesting batts. I am thinking of spring colors to dye this wool. Especially when it is snowing, I need something to remind me that spring is on its way.

Stay warm. Wear wool. Hopefully next month I can report that the pasture is starting to turn green.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.