May 21, 2024

From the Pastures: Shop small this fall

Snow on Halloween? Yes, in northern Illinois it snowed on Halloween. I was near Milwaukee that day and it was a blizzard for about 20 miles on the way home. As I came closer to Clinton, Wisconsin, the sky cleared and there was a beautiful sunset. The sunset reminded me to be thankful for all the good in the world.

I have closed the pasture off for the winter and moved some sheep around to get ready for breeding season. The Shetland ram will be moved in with a few ewes right after Thanksgiving. We like to lamb about the first of May when the weather has started to warm up. We are going to use the black ram one more year to try to get more color into the flock.

Several years ago, the ram we had must have been a carrier of the fading gene in Shetlands. A lot of my ewes lost their color as they aged. Shetland sheep are known for their diverse colors and patterns. The gray and brown colors make especially nice yarn. Unfortunately, the color fading does not show up for a year or two.

The mill and store are very busy getting ready for Small Business Saturday. This special shopping day is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is a chance to support local businesses. We will have specials all throughout the store and customer appreciation extras. As if the week was not busy enough, I also signed up for another live fiber sale. Working on getting some unique color combinations carded for this event.

Last weekend, a large bus with 55 FFA students and advisers stopped at the mill for a tour. They were on their way home to Wisconsin from the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. The kids were great and really interested in wool and how yarn is made. Only one student had raised sheep before. We were honored that they chose us to visit and happy to promote wool. Maybe if we did a good job, a couple kids will investigate raising sheep.

Happy Thanksgiving — hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.