The Home of Beautiful Bluefaced Leicesters and Shetland Sheep

Come visit us in southern Pennsylvania.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Escape Needed

Although I'm not a beach person, those travel vacations that I'm getting on line are beginning to look pretty good. Last week it was the 750 pound bale on the truck adventure. I had a bright idea of getting one big bale to feed the Shetlands eliminating the awful job of hauling small square bales down 2 hills to get to their pen. Got the bale home only to have the Bobcat refuse to start. The new baby tractor was too big for the small space so in desperation, I tried to jump start the Bobcat. Nope. Called a neighbor who couldn't start the bugger either. Of course by this time it had begun to rain so I parked the pickup with the bale in the carport and called another mechanic neighbor after hauling small bales down the hills to the Shetland barn. One week later with new battery cables on hand and my wonderful neighbor, the Bobcat was going again. Being two places at the same time has never been my strength so unloading the large bale by myself did not go well. Every time I got one piece of equipment I had to run over and move the other. By this time my cell phone was ringing..... Bill was frantic that he was going to be late to the doctor.. so I left everything and took him to the doctor in my greasy, smelly farm wear. No time to change. Returning to the task, it was again raining. BUT there's a happy ending. The bale finally was placed where it needed to be and the truck was unstuck without a scratch or dent. The Shetlands are enjoying their nice green hay and I have nightmares about buying another big bale. It has to go better the second time around. This week's fiasco was the wood boiler. I fired it up and had steam and hot water hissing all over the basement. After frantically throwing switches the thing didn't explode and began to cool. Relief! Another friend came yesterday to fix the problem. Going to bed I felt so good as I added the logs for the night. In the morning, there was a new problem and 3 inches of water in another location. Wet vacuum, boots and pipe wrenches before coffee. Not good. My resume of things I can now do is getting longer by the day. Plumbing is far from being my strong suit but I am blessed with handy friends who take pity on me. Will this madness end?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Table Full of Memories

When I saw this in Martha Stewart Living I thought it was a great way to use all those doilies I had in drawers. I never realized how many memories would come to me as I pulled them out. Mom had made some and sent them to me,fussing over how they didn't turn out just right. My friend Peggy's mother had brought many to me in bags with a history of who made them and how old they were. Even the notes Mrs. williams had placed inside the bags were still there for me to reread and smile. And the glass pieces were Bill's mother's. Finally retrieved from the attic to sparkle again.That's what I love about Christmas....the memories that make you smile. My table sure makes me smile as I remember 3 beutiful ladies in my life that I really wish could be here for another Christmas. .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fewer But Better

As I watched my sheep leave in trucks and trailers over the summer I was heartbroken.
It was all about reduced numbers to make less work though. Well, the state vet came last week to do his annual scrapie inspection and my flock went from 82 in 2010 to under 40 in 2011. It took us no time to inspect each animal and record tags. As I looked at the remaining ewes,it was apparent that fewer numbers had been a good thing. They are heavier with plenty of grass to eat. And it's still growing in these warm December temperatures. My hay supply has hardly been touched unlike last year when I began to worry about hay supplies in December. The smaller flock has made the BFL sheep more friendly too. Now the Shetlands...that's another story, but that's what makes having the two breeds so much fun. I got an amazing new BFL ram in October from Heather Landin and I am excited about starting to rebuild my genetics with him (Heddon Valley genetics) and my Scotty AI ram. He was born here and as yet is not impressive but I'm hoping he'll become the swan from the ugly duckling. I am excited about new lambs in 2012 and a lot less work while they are being born. Lambing is always exciting but exhausting. I'm looking forward to having fewer lambs to get to know and fewer bales to throw. AND I can't wait to see those lambs.They will be awesome.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snow in October

At least the Shetlands enjoyed the fallen branches.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Never Say Never...Again

This is getting to be an ongoing theme around here as I take over more of Bill's jobs. Last week, when the lightbulb in the refrig blew out I thought no one would notice that there was no food. Darkness and placing veggies on the front of the shelves worked for a while but I was busted when Molly came home. I had been feeding us on local veggies and natural purchases from the Amish market but it really was time for me to bite the bullet and go to the supermarket. Why did Bill like this job?

The large unidentified usurping plant that was growing (and growing) in my Hazelnut tree had to go. All summer I begged for someone to chain saw it since that is another tool I seldom have used. Well, we have this tool called an alligator. It's like a mini chain saw only easier to start. Timber. It worked well on the invading species. Why didn't I do this sooner?

Mice. Never would bait a trap or empty one. Gross. Bill's job. Well with the Fall invasion of the wee beasties it was trap time. The second one popped the trap and landed on the stovetop. I told Bill I was going to turn the burner on and serve mouse on a plank for breakfast. He never has enjoyed my humor but now he can't run away before the punch line. Love a captive audience!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Replaced by a Baby

The big tractor has been replaced. Bill is not too happy to see the big blue monster gone but 40 horses was a bit too much for me now that we don't pull a baler or haybine. I can mow just fine with the new 30 horsepower model.I still have a bucket for manure moving. And I can get the jumper cables on without climbing in .It's the little things in life. Snow removal will be a bit chillier without the cab but it's NOT going to snow this year.....right???

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rhinebeck Next Weekend

It's my favorite festival. Potosi Sheep Farm will set up with Feederbrook Farm in our usual place in the horse barn at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. Please stop by and say hello. BFL and Shetland products for everyone.

My beautiful new ram arrived today thanks to the largesse of my friend Dave who drove to WI to collect him for me. It is a new blood line here and hopefully will be instrumental in creating the perfect Bluefaced Leicester Flock. My flock is drastically reduced and many of my beautiful ewes have moved to new homes but I am determined to start over with the ewes I have left and create a smaller but more beautiful Bluefaced Leicester flock. Might be like making a silk purse out of a sow's ear but I can try. Who knows, with good rams and a good breeding plan it could happen.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Since the fleeces were rain washed and really clean, Nathan came to shear. I am so lucky to have such an amazing shearer and friend. The fleeces are super clean but wet so they will set in the sun today to dry before being bagged for sale at Rhinebeck. veg... they should sell.

On Sunday six these sheared ewes moved to lush pastures in Ohio. They have a great home with Lisa and Chuck Rodenfels but I really miss them. 17 adult BFL sheep left to breed this season. That's half of last year's number.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plans A, B and C

Since I have become a one woman operation here at Potosi Farm, I am learning that shepherding is a constant mental and physical exercise. Plan A never seems to work. Last week, plan A for getting my sheep cage on the truck failed. So did plan B. Success came with plan C. Smugly,I returned to the house only to get a call that my son needed my truck to haul his mowers to a job. Yup, the cage was unloaded.

Last night Molly and I got the family room ready for the return of Dad,aka Mr. Bill.
Plan A got a sofa stuck in the front door. Plan B resulted in a bigger sofa stuck in the family room door. By this time it appeared that losing it was surely Plan C. When faced with stress and anxiety, psychologists tell you to remove yourself from the situation. Impossible with sofas stuck in the doorways. If I could have gotten to the workroom for a chain saw, sofa B would now be a sectional but luckily it's still in one piece. Molly came up with Plan D. This meant putting back both sofas and removing all my spinning stuff from the other side of the room to make space for the bed on the other wall. We pitched all my unfinished knitting projects still on the needles to the porch and piled multiple skeins and balls of roving on top of them. Five hours after starting the bed was brought down from the third floor and set up. Molly went to get the newly purchased pillows only to find that Tim's terror terrier had peed on them sometime during the chaos.

Elenor Roosevelt once said,"Like tea, a woman never knows how strong she is til she's in hot water". Well I am about to find out how strong I am when Mr. Bill comes home on Thursday. He is still unable to walk and is over 75% dependent on help. Looks like we are facing a lot of plans A,B and C. Til then I will be finding another place for the hugh pile of wool and knitting on the porch. Finishing some of those projects might be a good idea.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

After weeks (it seems like more) of rain, my clean BFL sheep are pushing the gate to get in the barn. Usually I have my rams in by now but everything is a bit later this year.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Last week my husband went to rehab after being unable to walk for 3 weeks. Three days after getting him settled, I had to put our 13 year old farm dog down. Since Tim and Molly have both moved, Thursday night I came home to an empty house for the first time.It felt so strange.
Today, Lillian, my child care companion went to school full time. Miss Kathy's Fine Academy is officially closed. When I retired from teaching I said I would never do child care but along came Lillian making me realize that you never say never. Lillian added an element of excitement to my life. Every day was a new adventure. We went to see Thomas the Tank Engine, frequented every zoo within driving distance, went to the theater and the central market and the "wavy ocean" in NJ. Lillian would ask, "Where we going today?" each morning when she arrived. We made friends together at the library and enjoyed play dates with so many friends. Five fun years flew by with only a handful of bad days included. She is part of the family for sure. Upon graduation, Lillian, I hope I taught you to be spontaneous,sing in the car, feed sheep,laugh,be kind to others,admit mistakes without blaming others and say "I'm sorry", slide down slides,fish,read books and plant flowers (not petunias). Sometimes decorated cakes slide off plates, the dog eats your lunch, and going fishing doesn't always mean there will be a fish dinner. (That's what the fish market is for.) But rocking the dock when the fish don't bite makes up for being fishless. Every day is an adventure waiting to be enjoyed. Be creative and enjoy it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shetland Rams for Sale

Six ram lambs left. Great horns. Solid black and Moorit.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Homes

Members of my flock are gradually finding great new homes. No trips to the stockyard recently. For that I'm grateful.It's hard to let some of my ewes go but fewer sheep will be better for me when I'm hauling hay this winter. There are still many left but I'm hoping they will move to new homes soon.

My children have moved to new homes as well. Molly settled in her new home in June and Tim is in the process of moving now. It amazes me that both have furnished their places with stuff from home. Can I possibly have had 3 houses worth of stuff in one house? Astounding but true. Their homes are ecletic and funky with a mish mash of furnishings but so homey and comfortable. Antiques that were stored in the barn after I left the antique business have been washed and polished or painted finding new homes and new lives. Grandma's 1960's maple diningroom set lives again with updated funky chairs. She would be so happy. There will actually be an empty corner or two once all the moving is done! MMMMM room for more wool and with less sheep more time to spin it.


Grandma's dining room set gone funky..

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Time is Flying

Haven't posted in soo long. Bill continues chemo and gets weaker by the day. Thankfully we have AC this year so at least the first floor is cool for him.

Molly and Tim both have new homes. I am loving helping them get settled but in the meantime my house is chaos with boxes and furniture waiting to be moved piled everywhere.

I have decided to give up my fiber business and reduce my flock. I will still be at Rhinebeck in October but 2011 was my last year at MD. I've lived with that decision since May and it feels right. 25 years of teaching and 25 years of wool festivals. Looks like a pattern. Maybe now I will have time to spin and knit again.

Anyone interested in Shetland or Bluefaced Leicester stock please contact me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another One of Those Days

The day began by pulling my ewes into the barn for a general check up. They have been in the upper pasture since their lambs were weaned. everyone was gaining weight and looking good. Eye color was ++++ in all. No worming needed. After a visit with all of them, they went back to their upper pasture.
My hay farmer called telling me to ready myself for some really nice bales of grass hay. I cleared the loft and opened the doors. Having hay in my barn this early in the season is exhilarating! I'm ready for winter feeding. Hopefully I won't have to feed these bales in July as I did last year, leaving me to hunt for additional bales last spring when there weren't any. 2011 was the first year I had to buy hay in the spring and it was frustrating.
Things were going great. Now to take the new GM car to the dealer for a recall. Why should a new car need bolts in the linkage? I'm hostile as I enter the service area. I left my cell phone # and left with Molly being told the car would be ready in 45 minutes. Returning an hour later, Molly left and I sat and watched my car on the lift still being serviced. The service manager asked me to move to the customer area to wait. There was awful coffee probably made this morning, car magazines and a copy of the York paper. I chose the paper. Typically York, there was no world news so I read the obituaries and did the crossword puzzle. Still no car so I moved to the kiddie area hoping for something to entertain myself. YES.... a home decorating magazine from 2009. Finally after 2 hours, I went to the desk to ask about my car. The manager told me he had called me.... AT HOME and left a message an hour ago. What about the cell # you asked for? Hello, didn't you see me sitting here? I'm convinced they would have closed the service department and left me sitting there. What ever happened to customer service? My time is valuable too so I asked that they credit me with 1 hour of mechanic's time on my next visit. Wanting to get rid of me, the manager agreed. Why is everyone else's time valuable but mine?????

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Craziness Continues

May was hectic with so much going on and June is repeating the pattern. All Molly's Utah stuff has been relocated to VA in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. . She begins grad school in August. We have been painting her new home vibrant colors. I wake up at night with my hand curled as though there is a brush in it and the yellow in my hair is better than gray. Thanks to all the blogs with cheap decorating ideas and thrift stores we are creating a really cool place. In fact I like it so much that she may find me on her doorstep more than she wants me!!!! Payback for my painting expertise.

Our last trip to VA we hauled my mother's dining room set in our pickup truck. It's 1960's classic maple and it weighs a ton. My mother would be so proud to see it live again in retro style with colorful new chairs. The trip down was eventful. The happy teddy bear sheet that was wrapped around the top of the hutch fell down between the cab and the truck bed wrapping around the drive shaft. It made a noise that caused me pull over in record time. I couldn't believe I was sliding under the truck on the roadside untangling a sheet of teddy bear faces as traffic whizzed by. Two muffler burns on my arms later the drive shaft was free, only to find that the sheet had taken out the catalytic converter too. At least the truck still drives with the emissions light on the dash lit. It could have been worse.

We are going back on Wednesday to install a glass tile backsplash in the kitchen and paint some more. In the meantime we are still searching through the barn for amazing items with possibilities. No more sheets wrapped around things though.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Again

Molly graduated from Utah State! Not one to miss a cross country road trip I flew out to help her drive her car and "stuff" home. The car was so tightly packed that I was instructed that all I could bring was a change of underwear and a bottle of Febreze. Fortunately with some shipping and donated items Molly created enough room for me and a small squishy bag. After spending night one in Salt Lake with some great transplanted East Coast friends we were headed southeast to Colorado. Our planned route included a few sights and friends we wanted to see and over 2000 miles. We got a sheep fix with the Lloyds in Colorado and headed southwest( yes, southwest) to Mesa Verde, a place I've always yearned to see. Refusing to obey the Garmin, we took the Colorado Mountain route instead of the Utah route. Big mistake... 12 inches of snow got us stranded in Telluride,Co. Never dreamed we'd spend a day there but it turned out to be a beautiful stop. When the Lizard Pass finally opened, we were off to Mesa Verde. There was no snow on that side of the Rockies. Had we listened to Garmin we would have been to Mesa Verde already but what a ride we would have missed. Touring the cliff dwellings of the early Southwest tribes was as great as I had hoped. History comes alive in our National Parks for sure. From there we listened to the garmin and took this amazing mountaintop road to Taos, NM. to see Bill's granddaughter and her husband. Sarah and John were surprised that the road was open due to recent snowfall. Garmin would have been thrown out the window if we had gotten all the way to the top of that mountain only to find the gates closed and the road snowcovered! Our stay in John and Sarah's adobe desert home off the grid was cut short due to time lost in the snow but every minute with them was perfect. I am determined to go back to Taos again soon. We hiked up into the Carson National Forest and walked the Rio Grande Bridge. Beautiful. We're home. Back to sheep duties and life in general, but it was a perfect escape week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Maryland Sheep And Wool This Weekend.

My booth will be in the Vendors North area. I am no longer near the info tent. I missed so many people last year. Hope you find me this year in cooler temperatures. I will have both Shetland and BFL products as well as 4 Leicester lambs for sale. Here they are.

Shetland Lambs

The Shetland lambs do their crazy morning run while the Blues look on. do you think they laugh like I do?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Beautiful sunny day. Looking out the open kitchen window I can see flowering trees and my lambs. Hearing the lambs call to their mothers makes me smile as I get dinner ready. My favorite season for sure.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Almost Done

I was so worried when I realized Lilly Loo, just a yearling was bred. Well, my worry was for naught. This is what I found last night. Momma and baby girl are doing fine. Only one more Shetland to lamb and lambing season will be over. PHEW.

The Day Keeps Getting Better!

The day began with more rain. Out to the barn by 6:45 to sort lambs for my ethnic lamb customers. They never arrived after I spent an hour getting ready for them. GRRR. That pushed my too far button for sure. The customers called at 8:15 to arrange another time but once my too far button is pushed I'm unforgiving. To paraphrase the soup nazi..." no lambs for you."

At 10 the 4H group to whom I had donated a BFL/Shetland fleece for the PA Sheep to Shawl competition arrived to give me a beautiful shawl that they had made from the last locks of the fleece. It is spectacular and I am overwhelmed with their thoughtful gift. Can't wait to wear it. The attached photo does not show the true beauty of the weave and the colors.

Christine and I drove to the mill to get my yarn and roving for MD Sheep and Wool. I'll be in a frenzy dying skeins for the next two weeks but the yarn is beautiful and the roving is awesome. Christine treated me to lunch for my birthday. This day just keeps getting better as the sun comes out and the pastures look lush and green.

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's Great to Be a Shepherd..Rain and All

It's raining, cold and miserable. 2 Shetlands lambed simultaneously in the exact same spot in the barn. Of course,it's impossible to sort out who belongs to whom. All lambs are nursing from both moms and both moms are licking all lambs. I put them all in a pen to let them sort things out. I know from experience that human logic never allows you to match the correct lambs and ewes so I don't try anymore. Shetland babies always make me watch in wonderment at how quickly they get up after birth and head right to the bag for milk. No bumping around in the wrong plces... straight to the teat. Pictured are one of the moms with what I think is one of hers and one from the other set.

Shetlands settled I went to the BFL barn to find Clueless baby missing. Mom was bawling but there was no sign of her ewe lamb. In the pouring rain, I searched the fields finding her under the rolling water tank in the very upper pasture. She does have enough sense to come in out of the rain but not enough to follow mom back to the barn. Again I carried her to a reunion with her mom and brother. How long is this going to take? She is so cute but still clueless. Molly and I have named her Mitzi....aka Ditzi Mitzi.

Back to the Shetlands. The sorting out isn't going so well. We still have any lamb nursing on any teat available. Still don't know who the correct momma is. Maybe by tomorrow?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clueless in Potosi

I checked my BFL ewe Cassie at 5PM and she was just lying there! By 8 PM, she and her 2 babies were walking around with the rest of the flock. It always strikes me funny when you look down at the lambs and there's one you haven't seen before with a wet navel cord hanging down and slightly wet. I popped Cassie and company in a lambing pen, checked for milk, dipped navels and went in saying to Bill, "Cassie had those babies early so I can sleep all night". When I checked the little family at 11 it was apparent that the lambs had not nursed. They were crying and wandering around clueless about nursing. Oh no... the curse of the stupid baby! I have not had one of those in 15 years. There goes sleep.

These babies had no idea where milk came from or what to suck on. The little ewe had her little jaw so tightly clamped shut that I couldn't even get my finger in to squirt some of mom's milk. I don't usually work with lambs to get them to nurse figuring if mom has milk that will come naturally but these 2 were in need of nursing 101 badly. I got lamb A attached and he sucked but couldn't find the teat again on his own. He was full so I tried working with the ewe. She wouldn't open her mouth. I milked mom and gave the ewe 3 ounces. She knew how to suck so I went to bed figuring they were full and by morning they'd both be nursing. Nope, by morning they were crying and empty. Nursing 102 went better with the wee man. He got the idea and reattached on his own. YES! But little girl was still clueless, wandering aimlessly under mom. I filled her up again with mom's milk and went in for coffee. Now 12 hours old, little girl has finally figured out that there is a wonderful creamy reward for sucking on a teat. And she can find it on her own now. But in the meantime crawling around trying to get them to nurse has cost me my favorite pen knife and I will be out there with a magnet looking for it this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who Needs the Gym When You Have Sheep?

I am so tired of waiting for Shetlands to lamb. I've worn a path to their barn with only 4 lambs to show for all my walks.This morning I walked out to find a ewe presenting 2 heads and 2 legs! Never had this one before. It was Selah, one of my less friendly sheep too. Of couse after catching Selah, I discovered that 1 leg went with each lamb! Double great! It was one big log jam. I could just hear the lambs bickering about who would go first while pushing the other out of the way. Both lambs were breathing and looking at me so pushing one back in was not an option. I tipped Selah up and poured in a bottle of OB lube and tried pulling one lamb.... nothing. Panic was close. Trying the other leg and head got the results I wanted. Out pulled one lamb. The second shot out right behind landing about 3 feet across the pen. As I tried to get Selah on her feet she took off like a shot right through the gate I had left open (@#$&*@) accross the yard and down the road in traffic! She ran and I ran faster, trying to get ahead of her to open a pasture gate to at least get her off the road. Success! Selah munched grass with no intentions of going back to her lambs. I put the lambs in the sun and took Lillian to school hoping Selah would reconsider and go back to motherhood. Wrong. The lambs were alone and crying when I got home. Selah was 2 pastures away with the flock, so I hearded the whole flock back to the barn. When Selah heard the lambs something clicked. It wasn't immediate recognition but for some reason she began to answer the lambs. First quiet bleats then loud baahs. Suddenly she bolted back into the barn and began licking her lambs as though the last 90 minutes had just been a small temporary insanity that a few blades of grass remedied. Both lambs are nursing and Selah is a wonderful first time mother and I need a cup of coffee and a nap!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Daughter of Scotty

She's a big girl. A bit pinker than I expected from Scotty but a beauty none the less. Here she is at 2 days old with a 3 week old lamb.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Enjoying the Sun

An unusually warm day for March got us all out enjoying the sun. Wonderful first day of Spring! While the lambs slept I got the barnyard cleaned out with the Bobcat, which started right up for me. Be still my heart. It must have wanted to be out of the barn too after a long inactive winter.Operating that little bobcat makes me feel happy because I get so much accomplished. Today, I not only got the manure out but I also got a post on the forebay lifted into place. WhooHoo. I'll apply to MIT for fall semester. I totally understand why men love their tractors.

In spite of the full moon last night I came out to find NO NEW Lambs in the Shetland pen. Come on girls, this is getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shetland Babies Arriving!

Lillian and I discovered these ram twins in one of the craters in the Shetland pen this morning. After picking up heavy BFL babies all week these little guys are like poofs. We sang "picking up paw paws put 'em in you pocket" as we carried them to the lambing pens. Actually I sang while Lillian rolled her eyes. Another Shetland mom to be stood in the pen and protested our taking the lambs as if we were taking HER lambs. Guess she will have hers pretty soon since her maternal instinct has kicked in.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Wait is Over!

In October I had 6 ewes artificially inseminated with new genetics from the UK. Unfortunately due to the Murphy's Law that haunts my life, most of the ewes rejected the procedure.Waiting for everything to go right over the winter was stressful but today I got twin rams from the Mossvale Masterplan aka Scotty semen. Right now they are wet and very newborn looking but in the next few days I hope they start looking like their "dear old dad." BELIEVE as my sister-in-law always tells me, and it will happen. The other ewe that also conceived with the Scotty semen is due any time now too. Maybe a girl or two this time? BELIEVE

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Bluefaced Leicester Lambs

2011 lambs for sale

I'm really happy with this year's lambs. My goal of straighter legs and wider chests is achieved in a lot of these little guys.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time Away

Poor Tim is shepherd in charge while I travel to North Carolina with Molly for Grad school interviews. All the BFL ewes were supposed to be lambed by now (except the AI girls)... they're NOT. Tim not only has to feed but is on lamb patrol.

Since the Shetlands are sheared they are digging their individual craters in the bedding at night to keep warm. I warned Tim about walking through these holes (some quite deep) while feeding since I have taken a few falls only to be trampled by the starving masses, too impatient to wait for me to get up! Tim fed this AM very early and in the dark. He couldn't find the light switch in the second pen so he thought he'd just carefully walk through the sleeping flock. Wellll...these are Shetlands remember so with each step another panicked ewe shot into the air until he felt like he was in the midst of whack a mole with ewes popping up all around him. He likened it to walking through exploding land mines. He called to say thanks for the warning while laughing. Tim likes my Shetlands so they can do no wrong.

Down here in North Carolina it's so much warmer than home and I have seen some flowering shrubs. Spring really is coming and it feels oh so good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

29 Lambs

The lambs are coming slowly but I couldn't be happier with how they look. 7 natural colored ewe lambs. I really looks funny to see so many dark sheep running in the lamb races at night. They charge in a line through the barnyard, out around the tree in the pasture then run back to check in with mom. Watching them never gets old. Molly and I watched for a long time the other night just laughing. It's good to have her home to help me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thanks For Waiting For Daylight

A new set of Bluefaced Leicester ewe lambs born at noon today in the sunshine! Thank you momma! She'll get extra grain for that daylight delivery.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Non Stop For 24 Hours

Yesterday was sheraing day for the Shetlands... 24 of the fiestiest little sheep ever. Not the "eat out of your hand" pet flock. My wonderful shearer,Nathan, sings the alleluia chorus when the job is done and yesterday was no exception. Cold and damp, sticky fleeces that clogged the shearing teeth but Nathan his usual exceptional job and I have a pile of beautiful fleeces that I can't wait to sort through. On the plus side, no one lambed mid shearing like last year but we did notice that many of the Shetland ewes are not bred. That's fine with me since last year we had too many of the little imps cavorting around stopping traffic on the road with their antics. A few less would be a good thing. For those of you that wonder why shear now, the Shetlands were happy to be rid if the year's growth and when the snow started last night I found many of the flock lying out catching flakes.
Exhausted and hungry, I got into the house long enough to warm and eat when the monitor to the barn announced that BFL lambs had arrived. Back out to the barn with snowflakes swirling, I found twins out of my BFL/Shetland ewe Jamie wandering around. The boy was all BFL while the little black ewe was all Shetland wandering all over the barn in true shetland fashion, full of milk. All I had to do was gather them up ,dip navels and put them in a pen with hay for momma.I laughed as I left hearing the little ewe smack her lips sucking more milk. Back in the house for two hours when the barn monitor announced more lambs. Now the snow was to my ankles. This time I found 2 of the most beautiful BFL babies ever!Perfect pigmentation, lively and healthy. They were set up in the pen next to Jamie, whose little ewe was still smacking her lips. Such a good sound to a shepherd. Maybe I can sleep now?????
NOT..... back to the barn for Wensleydale/BFL twins boys. Now my 3 pens were full with little lip smackers and cooing moms. BUT we weren't finished. A first time BFL momma was pushing in a corner. I just had time to divide one of the already occupied pens and set up for a new family. 8 lambs in 7 hours after a day of shearing was more than I expected but I'm so glad the have healthy babies on the ground with little more than a few walks to the barn for me and a few hours of sleep lost. 20 lambs total now..... finally. Here's a bad picture of my beautiful ram lamb.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Seven Lambs and Holding

Warm days... perfect for lambs and no one has lambed! Lambing here is usually slow but this year is outrageous. Everytime I check the barn, the lounging ewes just look at me and continue chewing their cud like I'm disturbing them. The seven beautiful lambs are growing quickly and jumping around the barnyard. I laugh when the close to birth moms hear those lambs BAAA, they act like their lambs have arrived and they must begin mothering. "If only having a baby was that easy Mama," I tell them. Hopefully this weekend will have some new lambs on the ground and new pictures for my blog. They are just waiting for the cold weather to return so they can torture me in the cold.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lambing is progressing slowly as it usually does. This week we added 3 new lambs to the flock. A big single and black twins that really surprised me! Both ewes lambed during the day, quickly and took right to mothering. I am so grateful for their consideration since nighttime temps here have been bone chilling cold.

We have been promised warmer weather so hopefully the mound of icy snow in front of the barn door will melt and I won't have to carry bags of grain from the truck into the barn through the people door. UGH! The barnyard is so slick that with a few passes of a Zamboni I could open it up us an ice rink.

Friday, February 4, 2011

First BFL Baby

It's a girl....and a big one too. First baby BFL of the season. 24 hours old in this picture.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Madeline (yes, all my sheep have names) my oldest ewe began our 2011 lambing season with her first set of triplets out of a BFL ram. It's so great to go out and find a ewe with lambs all cleaned off, nursing and content in spite of a temperature of 3 degrees. I love not being needed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Another foot of snow . No lambs but I trudged to the barn to find my llama dead in the large feeding area. Herc was old and getting frail and thin so the bitter cold winter we have had was bound to take him. Of course the ewes stood right on top of him while I fed and tried to figure out a way to remove his body. Getting an old plastic sled and Tim, we rolled Herc onto the sled and slid him into the barnyard to the awaiting tractor. It seemed like a less than dignified end for a guy that took his guard job seriously and never asked for special attention.

Everyone that drove past the farm looked for him and visitors always wanted to walk Herc on a lead until he got close and his imposing size changed their minds. He walked elegantly for those brave enough to try and spitting was something he seldom did. I loved the way he checked each newborn lamb in at birth until he determined it was part of his flock and could stay. If I forgot to close the storage hole in the barn wall Herc would get his nose in there and pull everything out.. .records, pens, medications etc. I never figured out wether he was bored or just trying to be funny. And he was great at finding "not quite" hooked gates, opening them and taking the whole flock for walks on Potosi Road. Roundup time was done easily with a bucket of grain but I swear I caught Herc smiling.

Last night as I left the hole in the wall open , a tear dripped down my face and quickly froze. Herc's spirit will be in the barn with me as the lambs come, but I'll miss him looking over my shoulder wanting to be first to smell the newborn.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Ready For Lambs!

It's sunny but oh so cold and windy today. Working outside the barn is rough on the skin so Tim helped me get lambing pens ready in the barn for expected Bluefaced Leicester babies next weekend. Hopefully they will wait until the arctic blast has past but lambs seem to like to arrive when it's super cold. I'm usually more miserable than they are. My former farm helper, Sam, got me a new hypothermic lamb blanket that has a microwaveable lining that heats to 110 then tucks into the blanket wrapping around the cold lamb. Hopefully I won't have to use it, but it sure will be good to have it since every lambing season brings at least one or two cold lambcicles.

The Shetlands love this weather. This morning they were all lounging in the newly fallen snow very content to just be. There are only 20 Shetlands in the pen now so feeding is so much easier than it was last winter with a larger number to battle through with grain and hay. Shetland babies are expected later in February and March.

Thanks Tim for helping me get the barn ready. Having help sure makes the job go faster.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Yarn

Here's the BFL natural colored yarn I finally got from the mill. Lustrous and sooo soft.It's not gray but more of a brown tone, which is very interesting. I want to put it in my private stash instead of putting it out for sale but my stash is getting beyond the time I have to get into it so it will be for sale at Maryland.

Rooting through my last few 2010 fleeces I found a Shetland moorit lamb's fleece that I had set aside and forgot about. My goal for 2011 was to spend more time preparing fleeces before spinning so this fleece has been washed, picked annnnd I even cut all the tips off each lock.That was a labor of love but I think it will make a big difference in the finished product. It is unbelievably soft. Maybe I can get to carding it tomorrow!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

PA Farm Show Sheep to Shawl

Yes, Pennsylvania has a huge indoor farm show in January. Rational for the timing is that it is the season when farmers are less busy and can take time to attend.

For 32 years, one of the most eagerly anticipated events is the Sheep To Shawl. It is highly competitive and the auction afterwards always leaves local folks stunned at the prices paid. Last night was no exception. Shawls ranged from $600 to $2200. for some of the most beautiful works of fiber art I've seen. This year I was not judging, just watching . My biggest problem was not being able to FEEL the fibers and the shawls. The fiber world is the only place I know where everyone needs to touch and no one is offended when a total stranger "feels" what you are wearing.

Six youth teams participated in a fleece to shawl in the morning. I was really impressed with the 6 shawls produced. Pictured are the six shawls on the finished table. The pink one was the winner. It was beatifully done made with Bluefaced Leicester fiber in the warp and sold for $650. All proceeds donated to Breast Cancer Awareness. Second place was a surfing themed shawl with a gorgeous hand paintd warp. Third place took the spinners award.(pictured) They were spinning a Potosi BFL/Shetland fleece, making me really proud. The 6th place team had an Autism theme and donated their $800 to autism awareness. We will be having teams for farm shows for many years to come from the enthusiasm and talent of these young teams.

Eight adult teams spun and wove shawls that were works of art. Potosi fiber was in two of them. BFL in one and Shetland in the other.The BFL getting the spinners award. The winning shawl(pictured) was a Bluebird inspired shawl getting a winning bid of $950.Soo pretty! Second place (Pictured) was shades of Blue using Bluefaced Leicester fiber. It got the spinning and shearing award. Fouth place commanded the $2200. figure bid. It received team choice and fleece (corriedale) award. Their theme was Native American and their costumes and choice of pattern were so suited to the theme.

The eight adult team shawls were all incrdible works of art! Wish I could have taken one home.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Whose Flowers?

Elisabeth left her beautiful bouquet of roses on my kitchen table. Was it because she forgot them OR was it because when she came in with them I pulled them from her hands, arranged them in my favorite vase and set them on my table that she was afraid to claim them? Guess I got carried away with their beauty. Well anyway. this morning those gorgeous roses inspired a tea party. Lillian was delighted to wear her purple formal and heels but complained that my flannel shirt wasn't appropriate. My favorite formal is either at the cleaners or 2 sizes too small. (all right so it's the latter of those two options.) Tea time melded into lunch.... ramen noodles. We decided since we were being festive, we'd use chop sticks.This was new too Lillian but after lots of laughter she caught right on. Judy lurked under the table catching noodles as they fell then cleaned the table with several swipes of her tongue when we weren't looking. Thanks for leaving the bouquet,Elisabeth. They made a dreay day mirthful.
Posted by Potosi Sheep Farm at 10:14 AM