July 23, 2024

From the Pastures: Case of spring fever

Nice to see the pasture turning green. We recently returned from northern Georgia, where they have already planted sweet corn. They were also ready to cut the first crop of hay. Strawberries were ready for picking, which my granddaughter really enjoyed. Really gave us spring fever. Luckily, the week after Easter the temperatures warmed up very nicely in northern Illinois and I did see a few tractors in the fields.

The sheep are ready to be sheared in a couple weeks. Recently, I participated in another online sale and had a wonderful response to my off-white and brown Shetland wool roving. Shetlands are a breed of sheep on The Livestock Conservancy priority list as recovering. The Livestock Conservancy has a program called “shave ‘em to save ‘em.” This program encourages fiber artists to use fiber from sheep on the priority list.

The program offers a passport with information about each type of sheep. When the fiber artist purchases fiber from a shepherd raising one of the endangered breeds, they are provided a sticker from the shepherd with the type of sheep and the shepherd’s name. This stamp is placed in the passport. It is a great way to connect fiber artists and those raising heritage breeds of sheep. For more information on the heritage breeds of sheep, visit www.livestockconservancy.org. They also work with other types of livestock.

Lambs are due around the first of May. Hope to have a lot to report next month regarding interesting color patterns. Only Shetland lambs this year. No Scottish Blackface lambs. I am supposed to be downsizing the flock, but I say that every year. I do have a nice Scottish Blackface yearling ewe I would like to take to the fair if she can be halter trained. Nice to introduce people to this breed.

Have a safe planting season.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.