Saturday, April 28, 2012

Data on sheep in Costa Rica . . . so, I may have some possible sightings afterall!

The total population of sheep in Costa Rica is approximately 7000 head and is distributed mainly throughout Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Alajuela provinces [2]. The majority of flocks are sheep-cattle mixed (71.4%) and rotational grazing (52.4%) in pastures consisting of Hyparrhenia rufa and Brachiaria brizantha; also, minerals are part of feeding. The most common breeds are Pelibuey (52.4%) and Barbados (33.3%) [2]. The average flock size is 100 sheep. From

This is what a Barbados looks like: 

Both photos and definition courtesy of 

The Barbados Blackbelly is an indigenous breed to the Caribbean island of Barbados. It descends from sheep brought to the islands from West Africa during the slave era. Blackbellies are "antelope like" in appearance, brown tan or yellow in color, with black points and under-parts. Both ewes and rams are polled or have only small scurs or diminutive horns.

They may have some visible fuzzy wool undercoat within their hair coat, but it should shed along with the hair each year. Barbados Blackbelies are noted for their extreme hardiness and reproductive efficiency. They are one of the most prolific sheep breeds in the world.

Breed category: hair (meat); Breed distribution: Caribbean, Mexico, South America
Read History and Preservation of Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

And, this is what a Pelibuey looks like: 
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of 

The Pelibüey (also known as Cubano Rojo)[1] is a breed of domestic sheep native to the CaribbeanMexicoSouth America. The Pelibüey is a breed of hair sheep, meaning they do not generally grow wool. This adaptation makes them especially useful for tropicalenvironments where heavily-wooled sheep do not thrive. The breed is thought to originate in Africa, specifically from the West African Dwarf sheep.[2] This breed is primarily raised for meat.[1]From

Sheep Frog

Introducing the absolutely amazing Sheep Frog . . .

No, it is not a version of "Leap Frog" but an actual amphibian . . . my worlds are colliding! Wonder if I will see one in Costa Rica? What am I saying? I MUST see one. I WILL see one. (Are they poisonous?!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spinning Up Dreamy Southdown

Timing myself with this project to discover how much time it takes to spin up roving. I will make two ply, and will not set it. Yards per hour? Ounces per hour? I just don't know yet. I am using a kitchen timer which rings on the hour, so I can get lost in my zone and enjoy the fiber moving through my  hands. The colors are lovely, both the natural and the hand dyed (Madder, Golden Rod). It's a lovely learning experience.

New Prototypes from the Walking Wool studio

Input and feedback welcome!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Overlook Farm

Heifer Project's Overlook Farm in Rutland MA is just a few minutes away. April 19, 2012 was a lovely spring day, and it seemed that all of the new arrivals had landed. My focus was on the sheep; there were also new kids in the goat barn. They have a beautiful guard dog (female) who stays inside the sheep pen. The bovine herd was smaller than I remember, and the gentle water buffaloes were gone; just a bleached skull remained as a reminder of their time at the farm. The black pigs were gigantic. I'll be going back again, and think I should do a Overlook-through-the-Seasons portfolio. Meanwhile, I have a lot of editing and selecting to do from this new batch. These are just a taste:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Exhibit of Photos in Concord

Thank you very much to Peter Lovis at The Concord Cheese Shop for inviting me to show some of my farm animal photos in the store. The connection is obvious (cheese from goats, sheep; meat delicacies from, well, pigs . . . ), so I am pleased to let the work grace their walls. They needed some air, and the Concord community is a great place for them to rest for a time.

Selling Handspun Yarns

Oh, such a sobering experience. Etsy has over 14,000 listings for hand spun yarn. Hmmm, how is one to stand out with such monumental competition? I love my yarn, am proud of the washing, picking, carding, combing, dyeing and spinning that I do. But, me thinks I'll be putting it to use for my own knitting projects rather than become a yarn seller. What do you think?

This week at the Salty Ewe Farm . . .

New lamb! Mama Rita gave birth last week, and  on April 9th I got to visit with darling, curious, and daring little no-name-as-of-yet ewe lamb. Nothing like having ones fingers nibbled by such an innocent little sweetie.

The following morning (7AM-ish), other members of the flock were looking as if their turn at lambing was just around the corner. The sounds of birds chirping and sheep baaing was a pretty near-perfect soundtrack for my viewing pleasure.

It couldn't have been a more memorable spring visit to the Salty Ewe.

Gift of a special book

Thank you, Sara, for the gift extraordinaire. The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook will forever be a treasured addition to my fiber-y library. The authors and publisher have done such a gorgeous job of documenting and describing animals and breeds that are our fiber fanatic's raison d'etre. My virtual flock has just grown by tremendous leaps and bounds (!).

New England Felting Supply

Home - New England Felting Supply

Another great local resource.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Rhody Yarn Crawl: Our Crawl 2012 Guest is...

The Great Rhody Yarn Crawl: Our Crawl 2012 Guest is...: Alasdair Post-Quinn , author of Extreme Double-Knitting , will be at the Crawl Culmination Ceremony on Sunday, April 15th! Come visit Slater...

I can't wait to go to this. A new fiber event in Rhode Island.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring brings with it many surprises and delights. But, never would I have imagined that I would enjoy such an unexpected sighting out through my office window; a chicken egg in an apple tree. Now, I know they don't grow on trees, and neither do chickens fly (or, leave the ground much more than a few feet). So, how did it get there. On closer inspection, I realized it was an empty shell, already cracked open some time ago. Aha! No chicken was involved in this careful placement of shell in tree. Apparently, a squirrel raided my compost pile and carried the prized possession far and high, leaving it where no one would have expected. Thank you, squirrel, for my spring surprise.

Spring Egg

Positively Pinterest-ed

I have discovered Pinterest late in the game, and it is a delight. Are you having fun with it?