Getting sheep ready to head out on grass for the summer is not as easy as it may seem. When you have four stomachs, getting a tummy ache can be deadly. When eating new foods, such as most of us don’t know how we will react. Will we get indigestion. Will we have an allergic reaction? Will we get bloated?
Sheep, all ruminants really, can get bloat when introduced to new foods, particularly legume (alfalfa and clover) pasture to quickly. This can be very painful and sometimes lethal for the poor sheep. Most lawns are a mixture of many things, so we really like to be careful, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Today was a “training” day. This is where we are slowly introducing our sheep to fresh greens again after a long winter on hay. All morning they have been eating mixed hay. By around noon they tend to be fairly full and are all ready to lie down and chew their cud or ruminate. When they are taken out onto the pasture when full they tend to eat less (a.k.a. not pig out) slowly getting used to the new green stuff.
Harry and Blackie didn’t do a lot of eating today, but the whole experience of getting out, being lead, and seeing new environments in small increments of time helps to acclimatize the sheep to the whole process. Our sheep are pretty used to loud noises, dogs, machinery, cars, and kids screaming, but after a winter off, they need their spring training camp again. This means less stress – fewer health issues – happier sheep!
Blackie acknowledging the camera.
What’s down there? Harry is curious about his surroundings.
Nice and cool in the shade.
Looking at themselves in the basement window – more sheep!
With great joy I would like to announce the creation of the Upper Canada Fibreshed! This is a new initiative to raise awareness and make connections between fibre growers, dye farmers, processors, and artisans.
“A Fibershed is a geographical landscape that defines and gives boundaries to a natural textile resource base. Awareness of this bioregional designation engenders appreciation, connectivity, and sensitivity for the life-giving resources within our homelands.”
Why A Fibreshed? from Fibershed:
“Even with years of corporate social responsibility programs operated by the world’s largest clothing and textile manufacturers, the recent stats show that toxic fresh water effluent rose from 1.9 billion tons to 2.5 billion tons between 2006 and 2012 in Chinese fresh water tributaries, rivers, and streams. China manufactures 52% of the worlds textiles. Even with a new onslaught of ‘green’ and ‘eco’ friendly design being offered via large brands, the necessary improvements that would truly alleviate the massive scale of the problem remain to be seen within the supply chains of these companies.” MORE…
Where is the Upper Canada Fibreshed?
The Upper Canada Fibreshed (UCFS) encompasses a region within 250 miles of Toronto (or so). Knowing that the support systems in Northern Ontario are slim, any northern farmers, processors, and growers are also welcom to get in touch. We would love to help with developing your local fibreshed!
The Upper Canada Fibreshed is an official affiliate of Fibershed US out of California. This is the book that started it all:
The book that began the Fibershed Movement by Rebecca Burgess.
Are you a fibre farmer? Do you grow dye plants? Are you a fibre processor? We want to speak to you! For more information please contact jennifer at jjo [at] allsortsacre.ca!
Jennifer is also holding a wool painting course that takes felting to another level. Explore colour theory, composition, framing of the wool piece, and so much more. Use both wet and needle felting to create your piece.
More courses will be added soon!
Here are some of the amazing felted creations done during courses!
Wet items the students make and take home in the first wet felting class.
Cute little critters that were created by students.
Some more amazing critters by needle felting students in Guelph.
Family Day was definitely a fun day for us. We were demonstrating at The 3rd Annual Family Fun Day will be held at the Royal Distributing Athletic Performance Cente, in Guelph. We had such a blast! So many kids and their parents came to see what we were doing. They all had a chance to try their hand at needle felting, and wet felting. They even got to bring a felted something home with them!
We are always amazed when felting wins out over bouncy castles! We even had one young lady stay around long enough to make a hedgehog that she could take home!
This cute little hedgehog was needle felted with patience and love at the family day felt-in by a creative young lady.
Her arrival was uncerimonial to say the least, but we are very happy that she is here. Introducing Blackie, our new ewe.
Blackie arrived from Quebec on the evening of Friday February 1. She, and her people had had a long drive and were glad to finally stop. It was dark, cold, and she was quite content in her truck, but our place was her final destination. I picked her tiny frame (very tiny, she is just knee high) up off the truck, and placed her on the snow. She didn’t mind her halter, but wasn’t too sure about this cold white stuff under her feet again. Blackie felt VERY pregnant.
She hesitantly at first, but after the sheep treat was introduced, joyfully walked to her new stall. She will be in there until she lambs, which shouldn’t be too long now. Everyone was surprised to find her user so full, and imagine my surpass, when on Monday I felt her user again and she presented it to me. Lamb following soon!