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National Novel Writing Month

Recently, I spent a few days with my daughter Amanda, and her wonderful husband, Kisu.  They bought their first house in the Washington, DC area this past summer.  We spent time trimming trees, eating at great restaurants, and getting ready for Hurricane Sandy.  Daughter and son-in-law had no problems with the storm other than wind and rain.

While I was there, Amanda shared her enthusiasm about her participation in the upcoming National Novel Writing Month.  She and a few of her friends would be taking the novel writing challenge in November.  Additionally, Amanda’s class of gifted and talented fifth graders were given the option to write … and most of them decided to accept the NaNoWriMo challenge!  Then Amanda’s long-time friend Mark (who we consider our second son) also convinced me to jump in.

So, I signed up for NaNoWriMo and started writing!  The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Amanda and Mark assured me that nobody expects the novel to be good.  Participants are supposed to put their internal editor away and just write.  Once the initial draft is written, the internal editor is released from lock-up and put to work.  The NaNoWriMo website is set up to be very positive and encouraging with goals, support groups, ideas and suggestions.  It also has a way to upload the progress of words written so one can keep track.  “Winners” are the participants who complete the 50,000 word challenge by the end of November.

I got a good start on my novel, but have screeched to a halt the last few days due to a busy work schedule and a job change.  I have placed the NaNo badge on the blog to encourage you to cheer me on!

I’m Posting Every Week in 2011!


Frosty fleece wreckers - Aargh!



I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a week, perhaps more often, for all of 2011.

The posts really dropped off the last few months of 2010.  I found it was just consuming too much time to think of new ways to write about my flock and farming.  As my blogging slowed, I was able to accomplish more knitting.  But I missed blogging.  How to find the balance?  When I began the blog, I wanted it to be a chronicle of our farm life.  I also wished it to be (somewhat) a diary of our personal life.  So that is it – in 2011, I will focus on shorter but more varied posts.  No worries – our lovely Finn flock, sweet Shetlands and entertaining llamas will still be featured; as will family, knitting, spinning, dyeing, gardening, traveling, random thoughts, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.  And I look forward to reading your blogs in 2011!

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments, likes, and good will along the way.  Thank you so very much for your support!


Terri, The Shepherdess

Friday Farm Photo #6

I posted this photo last year after an eagle flew LOW over the barnyard (and my head.)  He rested in a tree in our backyard for about 10 minutes.  I was able to get some great photos of this awesome raptor and his prey.

It’s a Green May Day in Minnesota!

Finnsheep Elina walks with her triplets

Green Grass

The pastures are greening up yet not quite ready for the flock/herd.  This is the time of year when the animals get antsy.  The llamas, in particular, become annoyed when they can see the grass growing and are not let out onto it.  To prevent the llamas from jumping the fence, I let them out onto some grass growing right outside the barnyard.

The ewes got the choice grass in our back yard.  Unfortunately, that meant Gus had to stay on the porch while they grazed.  His herding genes were screaming as he sat and watched!

Gus loves to watch the lambs in the nursery. I made him stay on the porch when we let the moms and lambs into the back yard. Gus was very, very sad while he waited on the porch.

Moms and lambs enjoyed a few hours on the green grass and went back into the nursery.  The older lambs enjoyed their lamb races but the Finn lambs stuck closer to mama.  It won’t be long and they will be joining in the races.  This photo shows how fast the lambs grow.  The Shetlands were our first-born on April 1st.  They look huge compared to the Finn lambs born three weeks later.

Finnsheep ewe lamb Eeva and one of her brothers - growing but the still small! Shetlands Phyllis and Curly were born 21 days before the Finn lambs.

Finns For Sale

Below is a photo of Finnsheep Emmi’s single ram lamb.  He has excellent confirmation and his fiber is coming in nicely.  I still haven’t named him.  He is FOR SALE.  His sire is Little Red Oak Eino, a single brown Finn.  His dam is Gale Woods Emmi, a black spotted ewe.  I will post more detailed pedigree info. on the Sale Page.

Finnsheep ram lamb enjoying the grass (For Sale)

Finnsheep triplet ram lamb Esko is also FOR SALE.  I will update the Sale Page soon with information on him.

Finnsheep triplets Eeva (in red) and Esko (in blue.) Esko is FOR SALE.

Pretty Girls

And finally, I just have to post a few more pics of the 3/4 Bluefaced Leicester girls.  They are all so pretty!  I love their faces, ears, curly wool, long legs and loooong torso.

3/4 Bluefaced Leicester ewe lambs

A sweet 3/4 Bluefaced Leicester ewe lamb.

Out of the Jug

Finnsheep triplet ewe lamb Eeva (NFS)

Hi, this is Eeva.  My brothers and I are doing great at six days old!  Here is the latest news from the barnyard…

A few days ago, The Shepherdess removed a panel from our jug and made it double sized.  That was nice because then we could explore and play more.  And we have great news!  Erno has opened his eyes completely!  Yay!  Now he can see me!  I like to snuggle up with him when we nap.  Esko kind of likes to lay off the the side by himself.  We have a very good mama, she is calm and has alot of milk for the three of us.

Finnsheep triplet Erno has eyes wide open!

The Shepherdess still brings me out a bottle twice a day.  I run over to her and drink it down but sometimes I only drink some of it because I have enough from my mom.  Last night after I had some milk from the bottle, I decided to take a nap on The Shepherdess’ foot.  She thought that was really special!

Finn ewe Eeva takes the bottle while Esko looks on. Esko is For Sale.

This morning, we got weighed again.  The Shepherdess was very happy that we have all gained almost two pounds in 6 days!  She put clean new jackets on us and then we got our ears pierced!  We didn’t need our tails banded though because we have short, skinny little Finnsheep tails.

Then the Shepherd walked my mama out to the nursery while the Shepherdess carried us.  It was really scary at first with all those new sheep and big lambs.  We cried and yelled for mama while the other sheep and lambs greeted us.  They were all nice to us though.  There is this one lamb named “Tank” – he is really big!  After awhile, we settled down and The Shepherdess took pictures of some of the other lambs.

Greeting party

Finnsheep ram lamb (For Sale) with 3/4 BFL ewe lamb 2010

Finnsheep ram lamb 2010 (For Sale)

Aren't I pretty? 3/4 Bluefaced Leicester 1/4 Shetland ewe lamb

The Shepherds are relieved that lambing is over and everyone is healthy.  They promised us that they will work on getting us onto some nice green grass now.  Our mamas are eating alfalfa hay but they are anxious to get on the grass because they see it growing in the pasture.

Our First Triplets! Finnsheep!

I had been watching Finnsheep ewe Elyna closely for the last week.  She has been walking around the barnyard with her tail sticking out and her udder has been filling.  Her udder grew quite a bit the last two days and I noted that her hipbones had become more prominent – the lambs were positioning themselves for an exit.

Mid-afternoon today, she was pawing at the ground and looking toward her rear end.  Shortly after, I checked on her just as she was starting to push.  Within about 20 minutes she delivered three lambs.  The first was a brown ewe lamb with a white pattern on her face.  Then, in quick succession, two white ram lambs were born.

2010 Finnsheep Elyna's triplets - two ram lambs and a ewe lamb

Compared to Shetlands and Mulesheep, the Finnsheep lambs are leggy, skinny, and scrawny.  I had grabbed my lambing bucket so I had supplies.  I snipped, dipped, stripped and then I waited.  Sip, lambs, sip…  Both of the ram lambs found the teats fairly quickly, but the ewe lamb just cried – and cried.  She was the first born but the smallest.  So tiny and frail.  I gave the lambs each a squirt of Nutri Drench for good measure.  I put my pinky finger in the ewe lamb’s mouth to see how her suck reflex was working.  She didn’t have much desire to suck but she did so – weakly.  I milked some of the colostrum from mama, poured it in a bottle and coaxed the ewe lamb to take some.  She only got about 1/4 ounce but after 15 minutes she perked up a bit.  I helped her to stand and placed her within striking distance of mama’s teat but she didn’t look for the teat.  She walked around a bit and settled down for a nap under the heat lamps.

By this time, her brothers had their first meal and one of them was napping.  The other ram lamb kept crying even though he had eaten quite a bit.  But his eyes are shut.  I checked the eyelids and they look okay – he just can’t open his eyes yet.  Hmm.  This is my first experience with that.  We will see how he is tomorrow.  He certainly is able to find the teat so that is good.

2010 Finnsheep Elyna with her lambs

To my relief, Elyna was paying attention to all three lambs, so I felt comfortable leaving them.  I am going to go check on the new family before I go to sleep and will set my alarm to wake up in the middle of the night.  I may need to give the ewe a bottle.  I will post an update tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

2010 Three Finnsheep lambs totalling 11 pounds. The white lambs are rams and the ewe lamb is brown.

For Sale Page Updated

I have updated the For Sale Page.  We have two pregnant Shetland ewes for sale for as low as $125!  Once the lambs are on the ground, I will re-evaluate if the lambs will be available.  I need to sell the ewes to make space so please inquire if you are at all interested.  All offers will be considered!

I am going to sell a few of my Shetlands and focus on breeding Shetland Mulesheep and Finn X Shetlands.  I plan on keeping 3-4 Shetland ewes.  I will expand the Finnsheep flock and perhaps add a few more NC Cheviot ewes for BFL X NC Cheviot Mulesheep.  I enjoy working with the different Mulesheep fibers and find the size of the ewes very easy to handle.  In addition, we are finding a great demand for grass fed lamb.  Trophy Husband and I have a goal of at least 10 market lambs in the fall so I want to breed slightly larger sheep than the purebred Shetland.

2010 lambs will be here soon!!

Lambs are due the first week in April through the end of April so stay tuned!  Check back for photos and stories as I stretch my blogging fingers  for regular posts!

Minnesota Grown Fiber Friends

Minnesota Grown Friends

I have decided to join Minnesota Grown, which is an organization that helps to promote locally grown Minnesota produce and products.  As I was looking at the site, I was delighted to stumble across this video clip of a shepherd friend.

Sherry Stirling, of Grazeland Farm in Lindstrom, MN, has been involved in Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers (MLWP) for a number of years.   Sherry was one of the first “sheep” people I met when I took a Beginning Shepherd class given by MLWP at Shepherd’s Harvest a few years ago.   She and her husband live on a farm that is just a few miles away, as the crow flies.   They have been helpful and kind to the newbie Shepherds at Roundabout Acres, offering advice and even help, if needed, during lambing.  Sherry and her flock were recently featured on a local television program.

If you’d like to watch the clip – complete with woolly sheep – click here.

Newbie Spinner

A few months ago, I answered an email from a local gal who was looking for fiber.  She had bought her first – yes, I said first – wheel and was anxious to get started with spinning.  I brought over some lovely, soft, white Shetland and my wheel.  After a Fiber 101 lesson, we chatted and spun yarn for several hours.  She had received a beginner lesson from another local spinner; I gave Patty her second spinning lesson and the rest is history…  I knew another spinner had joined the flock.  A few weeks after that, she bought another wheel and fiber from Craigslist and has been spinning like crazy ever since.  It’s nice to have a new fiber friend who lives nearby and is so passionate about the sheep! Welcome to the world of fiber, Patty!

Patty proudly shows off her first handspun fiber.

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