It should not surprise you that I have added some new lambs to the farm this year... My little fiber flock isn't so little any more. There are now 17 sheep in that "little" flock. The newest lambs have added some great breed combinations and beautiful natural colors and textures that will be fun to watch evolve over the next year.
Six lambs have joined us this summer. The naming theme for this year is Colorado Native Wildflowers, so they all have long, silly, botanical names and nicknames that I'm going to call them by.
Five of the six new arrivals come from the same farm. The shepherdess of the farm is a dear friend and one of the best fiber producers around; she always wins at all the fiber festivals she enters. She moved out of Colorado this summer and couldn't take all of her nearly 300 sheep with her, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some of her gorgeous stock before they were gone from this area. The first two girls to join the flock were Rosebay Willow Herb ("Rosebay") and Mountain Blue Violet ("Violet"). They are twin CVM/ Merino cross sisters that needed to be bottle-raised and I can never say no to a bottle lamb! They are an interesting pair because Rosebay is pure white and Violet, except for the white on her head, is pure black. Their wool will be super fine and I'm excited to add some Merino to the flock.
Next, three more ewe lambs came from that farm after they were weaned. Field Pennycress ("Penny") is another CVM/ Merino cross, but she is a beautiful moorit color. Mountain Bluebell ("Blue") is a white Blue Faced Leicester/ Teeswater/ Wensleydale cross and Mountain Laurel is a grey BFL/ Wensleydale. I know... the crosses sound crazy, but I have never seen fleeces like theirs before. My friend had been working on these combinations specifically for handspinners and their fleeces are amazing! Don't you love Laurel's characterstic BFL bunny ears?
Last, little Prairie Phlox ("Phlox") joined us. He is another Leicester Longwool from the same farm that my other two came from. He is white, so now I have both white and colored Leicesters here. Phlox has a little grey spot behind one ear that popped out in his white fleece, so he wasn't going to be breed-able. He got wethered and I was happy to have him come stay with us!
When I brought sheep to the farm, I started with just five. I wanted to start small, be able to learn about raising sheep and producing fiber on a small scale. That first year was a crash course in sheep husbandry... a bottle lamb, a wether that was actually only half-wether (and had to be made full-wether right in my corral), and my first shearing. I learned so much about these special animals and their fiber. This is now my third summer with sheep and I have been adding color and texture variation, different breeds, and products since. I am so glad that I started small, gave myself room to grow and learn, and meet incredible mentors.