Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Shandrew Rouen

Rouen (pronounced ROW-un) is one of my original Shetland ewes that I purchased. She was actually the third out of four that I bought. Firstly I bought her daughter Rain, and also Willow who was unrelated. Evidently Rouen and Willow didn't like each other much, as they carried on a feud for several years before they decided to call a truce. I can imagine their horror when Rouen wound up here. Not HER! NO!

Rouen came from Malinda's Locksfield flock. I believe that she bought Rouen and her mother when Rouen was just a tiny lamb.

For several years after she came here, I thought her fleece was pretty crummy. But in hindsight, what seemed a rough fleece was in reality just a fleece that consistently matted because of the rise. After the first year or so, this passed and her fleece has been mat free since. Also in the meantime a spinner pointed out to me that Rouen's fleece was in fact a 'primitive' fleece---a true doubled coated Shetland. So although the outer fibers are long and coarse, the inner coat is soft and downy and a rich black. Rouen is also heavily iset but remains very black at the skin level. The colors are so rich and lovely. Her fleece is always the first to sell... always. Spinners are intrigued with its possibilities.

Rouen has added much character to the flock. She is sly and crafty and always on the alert to what I'm up to. She has knocked me flat before, with a skillfully executed full running swipe to the leg. When this worked so marvelously she tried it again the next day on the shearer, (after carefully sizing up the situation) however she didn't take into account that he was over six foot, very solid and she didn't have a running start. So, whump, she hit him. He looked amazed, she looked amazed as she fell back. Hmmmm.... In the end she did escape, by dashing under the gate. It took me a long time to corral her. Now she gets haltered and stays tied during shearing!
In this second photo you can see her playing her wild mustang mare impersonation. She does it well. Lest you think though that this is some wild flighty Shetland, I can assure you she isn't. She is always first in line to get scratches and attention. In fact she will try and bully everyone else away so she gets all of the attention. This never works, but she always tries. I call her little monkey because of her silly ways. She tilts her head like a dog to try and charm me for more scratches, or if I won't pay attention, she'll paw at me. She gets especially sentimental during late pregnancy.

Despite only having half a working udder (I have no idea what happened--she never exhibited any signs of problems)she has successfully raised twins for several years. I have four of her daughters. Two are black iset like her. One, Duckie looks and acts so much like her its spooky. Rain her oldest daughter is a lovely dark blueish grey with an impossibly quirky personality. The flock would not be the same without her. She has a lovely intermediate fleece. Two of Rouen's daughters have her primitive coat --Duckie and Birdie while the other two don't.

This 'plain black' Shetland is a definite keeper, and an example of what makes the Shetland Sheep unique and fun to be around.

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