Sunday, October 07, 2007

NESSA '07

The Northeast Shetland Sheepbreeders met at Maple Ridge Farm in Vermont a week or so ago, and I've been holding off reporting so as not to "leak" news of our project, but I think it's safe now...

We are a small group, but this year we hailed from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York.

We discussed all kinds of sheepy stuff like marketing our fleeces, composting animals, testing hay, but the discussion that was most lively was around breed standards and especially colors. Shetlands come in a rainbow of colors, 11 recognized for showing and registering purposes. But there is much debate about what's what, and people are constantly trying to make up new names to describe the subtleties they see in their flocks, and it makes it challenging for breeders and anyone trying to promote the breed yet stay true to our Shetland roots...Just look at some of the variety in Linda's flock (her rams):
Her ewes:
It was after the potluck that we got to go "play" with some of Linda's sheep. Here is one particularly friendly ewe (the Walmart greeter of the flock):

Fleece inspection:
And it was during all this activity that we formulated the "project"
We're going to collect fleece samples and try to get the definitive, "scientific" scale of Shetland colors...or something like that. I'll post a link to the group discussion when it's posted.

3 comments:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

"Wal-Mart greeter" -- I like that! That is what my Valentine is. If I had an easier way to haul her around I'd take her on field trips, spreading Shetland love around.

You guys certainly have tackled an ambitious project! I will be interested to see the results....

Kathy L. said...

Neat! You may want to check out Tina @ Marietta Shetlands blog as she had a post about a friends trip to Scotland and I seem to remember her posting a picture of a "Color Wheel" the Scots had done of all the colors of their Shetlands.

Too bad we can't seem to get a group going here!

melanie said...

Kathy-

Thanks for the suggestion; I read Tina's blog, but somewhat infrequently, and I obviously missed that post! I sent the link along to the other members of our group.

We're a small group, so don't let size stop you. At least you and Lauren could start a group, no? We in fact, only meet once a year, and although we discuss things sheepy, the potluck is as big of a draw...perhaps that will have to change with the launching of the project...