And that means lambing – my favourite time of the year! So far we haven’t had too many lambs, but the ones we have had are darned cute. Out of the five so far, four are ewe lambs.
Our flock is heavily based on Shetland genetics (a.k.a. small sheep) we tend to have small lambs. But, we have some other breeds in our flock too. A little Romney, a little Finn/Gotland, and a lot of Blue Faced Leicester. These additions means that we should have tiny lambs, with fast growth rats, all on mama’s milk and grass. We will be watching their progress closely this year!
Enough with the boring farmer stuff, let’s get to the cute!
It seems hard to believe, but All Sorts Acre has moved. We have gone from Acre, to Acres. We are now located in the heart of the Headwaters in Dufferin County, north of Orangeville. To find out exactly where we are go to the Contact Us page.
We feel so privileged to be the new stewards of this incredibly beautiful rolling land. Moving to a larger farm means cool new products, including:
- Lamb Prime Cuts – All the taste with none of the hassle or waste. The best cuts of our pastured lamb ready to cook.
- Certified Upper Canada Fibreshed wool – Our gorgeous and colourful wool in the yarn, roving, felting bats, or as a finished felted product. It is truly locally grown, processed, and coloured.
- Locally Grown Natural Dyes – This year marks the first year of our commercial dye garden (perhaps Ontario’s first). Yes, a garden grown specifically for colour. We will have locally grown natural dyes available to do your own dyeing, or you can buy wool already dyed. Stay Tuned for updates!
- Felt - Felt hats, rugs, mats, wall hangings, purses, and the continued development of an Upper Canada Fibreshed shroud for natural burials.
- Sheep milk soap – Along with our dye garden, we are starting our naturally coloured and fragranced homemade sheep milk’s soap. This will be ready for mid-season.
Now for the the best bit – the photos!
Not quite 50, but a we have at least 5!
This past week we picked up many pounds of wool from Freelton Fibre Mill. We now have 5 kinds of roving available, with more becoming available soon.
This wool is ideal for wet felting, and canals be used for needle fleeting, and spinning. I can;t comment on how it spins as I am not a spinner, but I can say, it all felts well!
Rural White – Finn: This wool if from Homer’s Mum. She was a messy finn sheep with a lovely fleece. It is soft, and felts brilliantly. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.3. More info about this wool.
Light Grey – Shetland/Romney: This is a great wool. Strong and felts easily. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.1. More info about this wool.
Soft Brown – Shetland/ Blue Faced Leicester: This is a lovely wool that is soft and incredibly versatile. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.3. More info about this wool.
Chestnut Brown – Shetland/ Blue Faced Leicester: This is a lovely wool that is soft and incredibly versatile. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.3. More info about this wool.
Natural Black- Shetland/Romney: This is a great wool. Strong and felts easily. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.17. More info about this wool.
This year, 2015, is going to be pretty exciting for us for a number of reasons. I’ll say more about that soon, but right now, I want to focus on our new co-farmers, Delilah and Bob.
Bob, is a beautiful, 6 month old Maremma pup. We felt we would need a livestock dog this year so just before Christmas 2014 we acquired Bob. Bob had been living with some students in a residence. Why they bought him I have no idea, but we bought him off of them. We chose the Maremma as they were the friendliest livestock dog according to what I read, like small animals, and stayed close to the flock, they didn’t wander as much as the Great Pyrenees.
A puppy challenging, but leaving him out side in the barn, in winter, with the sheep is heartbreaking despite having 12″ of straw and an insulated, heated cubby to sleep in. I spent many hours outside making sure he had a warm cozy place to hide in -20 weather. He did, I tested it:)
Getting through puppy stage and not having him maul the sheep is also trying. Livestock dogs don’t reach maturity until around 2, and then only just. They are large dogs, 100 or so pounds, hence they mature slowly.
Maremmas and other livestock dogs are SMART! Almost too smart sometimes. They are always watching and taking notice of what is going on. You can see their brains processing information.
A had read and been told a few times that having two livestock dogs is much better than one. After a couple of months of Bob living outside on his own, with sheep, and generally turning poor 8 year old Beauty into his playground (poor Beauty was very patient with him, but little sharp teeth were wearing on her) a decision was made. If a mature dog came up that was trained, friendly, and liked other animals we would see if we could buy it. If it was a Maremma/ G.Pyrenees X even better.
Well, not 12 hours after saying that to my neighbour, I found an dog needing a home – Delilah. Delilah’s people sold their sheep and tried to keep her as a house dog because she was just so sweet. But, Delilah wasn’t adjusting well to indoor life and really missed being outdoors and having a job. They were looking for a working farm to rehome her. So I went to see her ASAP. We seemed to bond at first sight. She was playful, friendly, and super excited to see me, not sure why. The previous owner and I loader her into the truck and home she came.
It was amazing watching all three dogs meet and begin to play. Luckily both Bob and Beauty love other dogs. At first Delilah was hesitant, but within the hour she was running, playing, and smiling. She seemed so happy! She has found her last home:)
She and Bob now live in the barn and have boned rather well. Delilah tires Bob out and vice versa. They can both settle down, watch sheep, and chew on chew toys.
Bob was neutered yesterday and Delilah will be going in next. This was a decision we made form the get go. We raise sheep, not dogs. There are enough livestock dogs out there that we don’t need to add to the mix.
Next year we get my lifelong dream dog – a border collie!