June 12, 2024

From the Pastures: Happy Mother’s Day

April was an extremely busy time, mostly because we welcomed a new granddaughter. Her name is Brynlee and she is doing well. We were lucky to spend more time in Georgia in April than Illinois. Thanks so much to my sister, Lynn, for taking care of the sheep. She even had to check on two ewes that lambed during her watch. Luckily, Shetlands are really good mothers and do not need much intervention.

This year we did not plan on having very many lambs. Surprises do happen on the farm, though. We had three extra lambs born. Guess the little ram did not stay in his pen as we thought. One surprise is a Scottish Blackface/Shetland cross ram lamb. He is really cute and looks just like a Scottish Blackface. It will be interesting to see if the Shetland genes have any influence on his fleece. Only two ewes this year. One is all white and the other is a beautiful Moorit brown color. Also, a Moorit brown ram lamb was born to another ewe. This brown color makes very pretty yarn. I always hope for the lambs to have this dark-brown color.

Opened the pasture early so the older ewes could graze when we were gone. The rain this spring has made the grass grow well. Fingers crossed, the pasture should still be green and growing in late summer. We only take one cutting of hay because we have a lot fewer animals now. The sheep were all shorn in mid-April. Now I have a lot of wool to work with. Every year, I say I need to make more yarn of my own. My goal is to have some Shetland yarn available for the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in September, which gives me all summer.

Have a nice May. Watch for farmers moving equipment. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.