Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sweet Sheeply Ladies Seeking New Opportunities!

This year we have added several new bloodlines to our Ewe flock  in order to continue moving forward genetically.  This of course means that some of our mature girls must go out into the world to seek new employment.  It is never an easy decision to decide who stays and who goes.  Sometimes a ewe's offspring will replace her in the ewe line up or perhaps there are too many girls of a particular bloodline to keep the Shady Oaks gentlemen gainfully employed.   In any case these girls have made a significant genetic contribution to our flock and they can do the same for you. 

Shady Oaks Giselle is a moorit sired by Fletcher Kurt and out of Shady Oaks Allegra.  Allegra was Champion and Reserve Champion at State Fair in consecutive years.  She is from our 'musical' line which has produced numerous Champions over the years.
Giselle is 5 years old, in her prime and has her bags packed for a new adventure.  The photo on the left was taken in January 2009 prior to shearing. The photo to the right was taken in August 2009.  Her fleece is honey colored on the outside and dark on the inside.  Fleece samples are available from this shearing.

Sizemore Gale is a friendly 7 year old and has produced numerous Champion offspring for her breeder, Susie Sizemore.  We acquired her last year and she produced two very correct twin ewe lambs for us out of Shady Oaks Spats.  She is sired by Cochran Rolex who was also an influential sire in our flock, again, we  have to move on genetically and so we are offering her for sale.   She puts terrific structure on her lambs!  She has an intermediate fleece with good length and density.

Shady Oaks Aileen is reluctantly offered for sale-she has had a brilliant show career and is a favorite of the DH.  Aileen was almost Best in Show Ewe at Oregon Flock and Fiber as a ewe lamb and again as a yearling.   (Darn that Border Leiscester ewe anyway!)  She is a prodigous wool producer, she is spotted and carries A.I. through her dad Liam and old Dailley through her mom, Crystal Dawn Pepsi.  Her fleece is very primitive, intermediate and a lonnnnnnggggg staple length.  This is rather a mystery since Liam is a superfine highly crimped boy and Pepsi has a silky smooth very fine lusterous fleece of moderate length.   Aileen's daughter Tivoli is has her grandmother's soft fine fleece and her mothers incredible fleece length.  She will be staying in the flock for the time being.  Aileen is a very special girl, incredible structure, milkiness and loads of personality.   She will only go to a very special home.
Aileen as a lamb winning Division III Championship at OFFF and as part of the winning team of the Black Sheep Cup.
Shady Oaks Trifle is a yearling out of Chocolate Chip and Liam.   Her fleece is fine, She is very correct and will be an excellent addition to anyone's flock.   She is excited about meeting a nice fellow for fun and a possible long term relationship.   A very sweet country girl from a good family.
Shady Oaks Cookie is Trifle's twin sister.  Her fleece is equally lustrous and fine but she is a pale grey.    We will likely retain one of these girls and also Chip's daughter from this year, Tiramisu who is chocolate brown (same mom and dad-three different colors of offspring!)
Little girls from this year are Elise, Elena, Gillian, Clover and Anya!    All are very dark, some with white sprizzles that may indicate Shaela.  Clover especially since her mother Willow is a gorgeous shaela.
A couple have soft but intermediate fleeces, the others are more to the fine end of the scale.  All have good length, rich color and correct conformation.   They will also be at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. 
This is Elena      
And her twin sister Elise! Both of these girls have incredible toplines!

Gillian has white inside her ears and a few white sprizzles-she may be shaela at her second shear.  The same is true of Clover.  Anya has an intermediate long fleece with super color saturation.   They are all sweet and curious.  They said to tell all of you that they are particularly fond of the "sea creatures' animal cracker and in the shell peanuts.  "Come and visit and bring treats"

Rams seeking new employment!

Shady Oaks has several exceptional rams for sale this year.  The ram flock started out with a lot more members-these boys have made the cut and are ready to go to work. There are several different fleece types and colors to choose from.  All are structurally sound and they are gentlemen.  Several diverse bloodlines are available in these boys-we have Fletcher, Stonehaven, AI and our own premium genetics available.   Take a look at these photos and if you would like additional information please drop me an email.  These lads are scheduled to take a business trip to Oregon Flock and Fiber.  If you want first pick or to place a reserve an any of them let me know.
 Hmmm maybe we should do this in a calendar format?    

Ok...Mr January would have to be Shady Oaks Gabriel.  He is out of our lovely white spotted ewe Glynnis and the chocolate Toblerone.  Toby had a purled fleece, unusual in the Shetland, Glynnis is consistantly crimpy, lustrous and very fine.  Gabriel's fleece is primitive but silky soft and lustrous and it's a scrumptious color!

Next would have to be Mr. February;  Shady Oaks Atlas.   Atlas is Sired by Shady Oaks Liam a spotted ram who carries Greyling, Holly and Minder A.I. along with old Dailley lines.   His mom, Crystal Dawn Azure is old Dailley with a lustruous blue grey fleece.  Atlas is a fawn with luster, softness and length in his fleece.  He very correct in every way

Now on to Mr. March!  Shady Oaks Tristan will be our selection for Mr. March.   He is out of Fletcher Calla who has a super soft crimpy fleece and carries spotting genetics.  He also carries spotting genetics and fine crimpy fleece from is sire Liam.   Tristan is a small stature ram with beautiful big eyes and a yummy soft fleece.   He has a clean belly so hand shearing him is a breeze!   This clean belly trait is one that Fletcher's have a particular fondness for as they hand shear a lot of their flock.  

Mr.April will be Sweet Annie's Rain, a rich moorit A.I. ram with excellent conformation, a crimpy dark moorit fleece and beautiful horns. 

He is sired by Whistlestop Son of Brent and is out of our lovely Gypsy Rose a white and carmel flecket ewe.  Rose carries Aberdeen our foundation sire and Shady Oaks Greta (she has produced numerous fleckets, HST's and spots.)

Sacred Lily Ford will be Mr. May and he is a striking fellow!    His sire was Stonehaven Robin Goodfellow and he is out of Maple Ridge Jalil.   This boy carries a LOT of Maple Ridge genetics which we don't see very often out west.  He is correct, handsome and sweet.  He would make a substantial genetic contribution to any flock!

These boys will be at Flock and Fiber unless otherwise occupied.    Our next blog entry will be the ladies of Shady Oaks who have expressed an interest in traveling and meeting new friends.
Call or email me for additional information on any stock that strikes your fancy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

County Fair was FUN!

We just finished up a week at showing the Shetlands in their first ever class at Lane County Fair. McMeadow Shetlands and McTavish joined Shady Oaks in the festive occasion and we had a great time!

The Fair was excited to have a group of sheep people who would interact with the public. They provided four pens for us to set up displays, have all our 'stuff' and room to spin too. Hopefully somebody managed to get a picture as it was a really nice display. ( I HAVE to learn to get the camera out of the bag-it doesn't take pictures by itself!)
The Judge was excellent although she didn't have a great awareness of the breed description to work from. I will be getting her name from the sheep superintendent so I can find out if she would like to become a certified Shetland judge.
Lots of 'closet' Shetland breeders came by to chat so we will probably have a lot more in the ring next year. It would be great to have more participation now that we have 'tested the waters'.
In the past I have participated in State Fair rather than the County level. When State raised their entry fees to $10.00 a head and camping to 17 a night I had to rethink the arrangement.

Normally I took 20 to 24 head to State-that is a chunk of money at the new rates and the premiums sure didn't go up. The week long venue required the use of vacation time from work and paying for camping (actually it is dirt rental to put your truck on!) I hope that there will be enough breeders that live close enough to State Fair to continue the Shetland Show there. Many people worked very hard to get the Shetland classes established years ago. For the past few years only two breeders have shown up-that is not enough to maintain the premiums or the separate class for Shetlands.
OK I'm off the soapbox on that one!

For the first time ever Elfin Acres Nigerian Dwarf Goats made an appearance in the show ring with great success. (OK-so we showed in All other Purebreds and there were only 5 other goaties in the ring with us....) Regardless of the numbers the judge had many good things to say about our girlies so we feel really good about continuing with this venture. George was a masterful showman in his black and whites leading his little goats to various winning venues.

He made a wonderful sign for the goat venture which got rave revues from the local goatmasters. We were both quite surprised at the numbers of ribbons from the Goat Show!   Who would have ever guessed that our Maggie would acquire a "Best Udder" award!  Maggie took it all in stride however, she was happy as long as there were a few extra snacks involved. 

The weather was a little warm the first two days of the fair and after that it was delightful. we have fans for the sheep and goats and just keeping the air moving kept them all comfortable. its a great opportunity to socialize not only the stock but also to get to know fellow breeders in your community and network with the public. If you haven't tried showing your critters give it a try! It's fun and you will learn a LOT.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Short Goats Too!

Meet Lilac and Daphne, the first babies of the Elfin Acres Nigerian Dwarf Goat Herd. This is a 'subsidiary' of the Shady Oaks venture.
George is the 'goat guy' and he LOVES his little goats. The little herd started with one and now there are four adults: Fabio, Maggie, Lilac and Daphne. And the new arrivals, Poppy, Ritamae, Violet and Enzo.
Yes, we will have to sell a few at some point but right now we are enjoying the antics of the babies as they play on George's "Goat enrichment center". (Not to worry, the sheep have one too-can't show favoritism right?).
The Nigerian Dwarf is a South African Dwarf Goat like the Pygmy but is quite different in many ways. They are fine boned, excellent milkers and have the appearance of a small dairy goat. Their milk is very rich and makes excellent cheese.
We will be showing goats for the first time ever at Lane County Fair next week. Yes, George will be in the show ring with his little darlings. He is convinced they are champion material....he may be right! His youth was spent taking care of a fine herd of Jersey cows and he knows all the 'dairy speak'! Escutcheons and all!
Come visit us at Lane County Fair!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Short Sheep and short chickens too!

Shady Oaks has a committment to preserving heritage breeds of farm animals whenever possible.

The first thing that caught my eye on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy list was the name. How could anyone resist having a Dorkie? The more I read about them the more intrigued I became. Dorkies are an ancient Roman breed of 'farm' chickens. They are excellent layers of lightly tinted pink eggs and can be harvested for the table as well. They are primarily egg layers, bug eaters and landscape assistants on our farm. The have an extra toe which perhaps makes up for their short legs. They are lovely chickens to have around, calm dispositions and beautiful plumage too boot.

We also have Japanese Black Tail Buff Bantams to entertain us and provide another decorative addition to the farm. The little JBT's are a hoot. The resident roosters, Bert and Harry are pals who share the harem of hens with good humor. They are good tempered little fellows only becoming militant when their buddy or one of the girls is in distress. Then they are fearless but they don't hold a grudge. Most of the time the troop motors around the property maintaining a continuous gurgle of conversation with occasional celebrations that involve cackles, crows and other chicken laughter.

One of the girls is quite matronly and will hatch a clutch in the spring and mother them until they no longer fit under her widespread wings. Then she starts over. Her offspring have migrated to eastern Oregon, Newberg, Cottage Grove and Estacada. We are always happy to share these little characters. The roosters are magnificent if small (they of course think they are not only quite handsome but also substantial). The little hens are demure and adoring. When new chicks are introduced to the flock the roosters show them the best places to find good bugs and will come to their aid if they are in trouble.

So now you have met the avian contingent of Shady Oaks Shetlands. What's next you ask? How about short goats? The Nigies require a post of their own for equal time. Come back and meet Lilac, Daphne, Poppy, Violet and the rest of the gang.