Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rite of Passage

The recent weeks have been ones in which I look at my sons and wonder at the passing of time. When did they grow up? How did they get this big? When did Isaac decide he really wants to take up bow hunting?
They don't look back for reassurance anymore; they look over their shoulders to see if I'm watching them be so successful without me. How is it that Asa can fully concentrate on relating the more exciting portions of "Spaceballs" to his new friend while he's nonchalantly acing his field tests in gun safety training? The boy could care less if he never shoots anything more than a dragonfly with a slingshot!
All in one breath they say things like, "Let me clear your plate for you, Mom," with a shy boyish grin, and "Way to go, Idiot," to a brother over their shoulder. When did my youngest, Leif, decide that he can climb into a 10-foot tall deer stand and paddle a kayak all by himself even though he's been afraid of heights and water since babyhood?
I don't know when all this started. But it's happening whether I'm ready for it or not. My kids are growing up. They all completed their gun safety training with very high scores. Leif even won a prize for "Best Homemade Survival Kit." Asa got the second highest score in the class. And Isaac taught me that you can hold a gun against the "other" shoulder if that's what it takes to see out of your "good eye."
They zip through the water in their kayaks and they have found swimming spots and adventure far from our spot of shore.
They go fishing and bring home dinner. They mow the lawn and do the laundry. They help usher, take offering, and light candles at church. They are young men. Goofy, mischievous, misbehaving young men. But young men just the same.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Bam's soon to be new owners tell me they are "most excited" about him joining their flock. I am so happy Bam is going to live with folks that truly admire him. He's such a gorgeous boy!
I know when I am purchasing a new sheep, I try to collect as many photos as possible. So I thought I would post a few pictures of Bam again, incase the new owners are as obsessive as I am. LOL. All of these photos have been taken within the last few days.
Bam has awesome hindquarters. Clancy and I checked his "equipment" the other day and all is in good order there.
We also got a chance to feel his fleece and it was softer than I had remembered. He is becoming more and more impressive as he gets older. And I just love his black freckled nose and eyeliner.
Lastly, a recent photo of Bam's sire, Windswept Unicorn.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Flock Goals in Tiny Packages

I want to produce polled stock with luscious soft fleece and excellent conformation. I want my sheep to thrive in this harsh environment. I want the prefix, Boston Lake, to stand for the high quality Shetland type I most admire.
With that in mind, I intend to keep all of the ewe lambs that were born here this spring. They are the first round of replacements in my polled breeding plan. Two of them have polled potential. The other two will be bred to polled rams to produce their replacements. All of them have incredible conformation and fleece characteristics that I hope to lock into the flock heritage.
Boston Lake Duvie has a stout frame, excellent hind quarters and tail, and the super dense, uniform fleece all of my Allister/Kavan daughters have had. The Dolce line is not polled, but I'm hoping Duvie will give me a ewe lamb someday that is at least half-poll. I feel confident she can give me good sized butcher lambs from Unicorn. Her line is so good at raising chunky lambs!
Boston Lake Nadin is special because she is my Rachel's last daughter. Again, I don't feel Nadin has polled potential, so she will hopefully give me a half-poll daughter someday with her silky crimpy fleece and perfect conformation. Both Nadin and her older sister, Sian, have incredible, soft, non-iset black fleece.
Boston Lake Nhu and Lyneth are extraordinary in every way. Their conformation and tails are flawless. Their fleece is heavenly. And they have polled potential from both parents. I am hoping one or both of them give me a slight jump-start to my polled program. So much so, that I am tempted to breed them as ewe lambs. But I still believe it is best to give lambs a year before the stress of pregnancy.
Every time I look at these two, though, I want to speed up time. I never expected shepherding to be such an experiment in patience, faith, and compassion. But it is. I've had sheep for four years now, and I feel rather fortunate to be in a position to keep all the girls from this year's lambing. I know as I work toward polled stock, I will have to part with some of my pretty lambs. But thankfully, not quite yet. Someday, Nadin may give me a eweling as fine as herself with the poll gene. Then I might have to let her go to make room for the pollies. But thankfully, not yet. Considering the future in these terms, I am content to let time be what it is.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Happy Day

After days of rain, which we desperately needed, the SUN greeted us this morning.
We should be able to wrap up the garden planting today. I want to groom the dogs and apply their herbal tick treatment too.
One of the boys took this photo of Meg the last time the sun peeked out. She was taking a break from the fetch and tackle game the boys play with all three dogs at once. I don't know what the rules are or what the objective is...but it seems to wear everyone out, so it must be a really good game. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ris-For Sale

I moved the sheep onto new grass the day I snapped all of these photos. So inevitably, most of the sheep had their heads down eating.

Boston Lake Ris is getting to be quite a handsome boy. (ShelteringPines Bombarde x Boston Lake Rai Min (Northwind x Kavan daughter)) He's so correct. And I LOVE his fleece-it's super soft and sooo crimpy! The slight halo of black hair that covered him at birth is shedding out. He has just a smidgen of it left on his hindquarters and tail. This photo doesn't show his tail too clearly, but it is very short and correct. So far he doesn't have any lightening anywhere either. If indeed he is carrying an extension gene for color, he is really a katmoget or musket under that solid fleece. The parentage test will hopefully determine what is really going on with his color. Thankfully, I like the deep chocolate color he is, regardless.

A friend has expressed interest in borrowing Ris to do some test breeding this fall. If that does not come to fruition, however, I have realized I should put Ris up for sale. I intend to keep his sire, and Ris is related to several of my ewes so I don't need him. Ris is F3 Roban Dillan. I will continue to evaluate his horns. So far they look very good. But his sire is a half-poll with tightly curled horns so I am not certain how Ris's own rack will develop. He was born with enormous horn buds, though, so I don't think he carries a polled gene.
Ris is a very gentle boy. I haven't given him much attention. He comes up once in a while when I'm petting the ewelings. He doesn't press in, though. Usually he just stands back or looses interest.
Please e-mail me at or call me at the phone number provided in the footer for more information about Boston Lake Ris.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Duvie's Color

Here's my little Boston Lake Duvie. She is Bramble Allister X ShelteringPines Dolce and probably the plainest of all the 2008 lambs. Of course, she has proven to be the funniest of all the lambs. I can't really explain why, but she makes me laugh out loud every time I'm in the pasture. I think it has something to do with her short and chunky stature compared to the other lambs, and her insistence on pestering. She's just a character! And by no means, aloof.
A few weeks ago I noticed her face turning brown. Compared to her black half sister, Nadin, Duvie has really an odd color to her face. Since I was trying for a modified lamb with her breeding, I know Duvie has the potential to be shaela, emsket, or maybe dark brown. But is that what I'm seeing now?
Duvie only has about an inch of fleece so far. I keep parting it trying to see a line of color change. But I can't see a distinct difference yet. I was just wondering if some unmodified black sheep have this brown face, or if it was the signal that a modified color was going to come through. Any thoughts you modified experts out there?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


The morning after I got all of my beautiful transplants put into pots, I found this tidy destruction of my beloved Black Hungarian Peppers. Mercifully, the tiny crowns remain, so perhaps the peppers will regenerate. I sure hope so.
This little Buff Brahma Banty hen is one of the innocent-looking culprits. Calmly and sweetly the hens peck about the yard. And of course I never catch them at any mischief. I am considering buying some poultry net from Premier. I don't want to spend that much money...but I'm tired of finding my garden and harvest ruined. Maybe I could just put the fence around the garden? Now there's an idea. The chickens could remain free range then. They really do eat so many insects. We hardly have any wood ticks in the yard. And that's saying something for where we live. They used to be thick before we got chickens. Well, I will have to think this through...preferably before the tomatoes ripen!
Speaking of naughtiness, take a look at Lyneth and Nhu. They have it figured out that when I am moving the electronet, it is not energized. None of the other sheep do this. But these two have it down pat. I chalk it up to them being twins. Having raised my own identical twin boys, I know that more often than not, a youngster will look to his/her twin for guidance, validation, and approval. Parents are waaaayyyy down on the list of persons to consult on matters of interest. Consult the twin. If the twin thinks it's a good idea, then it's a good idea. All the single lambs follow their dams' lead and stay ever so slightly away from the fence. Nhu and Lynny must have consulted each other and determined that it's much more fun eating the grass on the other side of the fence. I know Anna Belle has too much respect for the fence to have shown them that trick.