Open the gate, step inside the pasture and you can meet our flock of sheep…
Posey is my sidekick, if a girl can have a sheep for a sidekick. When I open the gate, she is the first to greet me. When I walk by the fence, she trots over to baaa hello. When the ram gets annoyed with my presence, she quietly comes and stands between us, preventing any aggressive, “rammy” behaviour. Posey is our alpha ewe, and it seems the other sheep follow her lead. If she trusts you, the rest of the flock will…well, flock around you. She has always enjoyed a good massage on her shoulders or hind legs. The kids and I discovered that if we are extra quiet when we pet her, she seems to fall asleep standing up! Posey, a triplet, was born in April 2014 to a Delaine Merino dam and sired by a Rambouillet Merino, and the result is a Debouillet Merino. Debouillets originate in 1920s New Mexico and are very similar to Spanish Merinos, but with a slightly longer staple length. Posey’s bountiful fleece is a beautiful white superfine to medium fine wool with plenty of crimp, takes dyes wonderfully, and is a dream to spin and knit. Her yarn is ideal for lightweight and delicate garments, though the inherent strength of her fibres means what you make with her yarn is sure to be an heirloom item. In 2016 Posey easily lambed our first newborn on the farm, a chocolatey ram lamb we named Yarrow (sire was Romeo, a purebred Romney) and in 2019 she lambed twins. Posey has always been a wonderful mama and has taken to her duties with admirable devotion. Today, Posey is set to lamb again in April 2020 and we can hardly wait!
Flora is Posey’s sister and the beauty queen of the flock with her movie star mole over her lip. Flora was born in April 2014, one of a set of triplets to a Delaine merino dam and a Rambouillet merino sire, and the result is a Debouillet Merino. Debouillets originate in 1920s New Mexico and are very similar to Spanish Merinos, but with a slightly longer staple length. Flora has wonderful mothering instincts and sometimes “adopts” our younger lambs and yearlings. Like a true diva, Flora chooses when she’d like to walk up to you for a little petting. But mostly she is a lovely ewe, and along with Posey, Flora makes up the original flock. Like her sister, Flora has a characteristic Debouillet Merino fleece… stunning white superfine to medium fine wool with plenty of crimp, that makes the softest of wool with great elasticity. Flora has lambed three times on our farm, and we have kept all but one ram lamb who has gone on to sire another nearby flock. She is now bred and ready to lamb in April 2020…and by the looks of it, there seems to be at least a set of twins on board.
Aspen, son of Flora and Romeo, is one of our current gentleman rams. While he was born here at Gladsheim Farm in 2016, he lived a few years nearby until I noticed his incredible fleece when visiting his new home. As luck would have it, he was ready to move on from there and I brought him back to our farm to sire more lambs. Aspen is a giant teddy bear of a sheep, a characteristic of his father’s Romney genes. He certainly looks more Romney than Merino, however once sheared, the very fine and soft wool of his mother’s Debouillet heritage is evident. Aspen is 50% Debouillet Merino and 50% Romney, and the very best of each breed is evident in his gorgeous fleece. The soft fineness of Merino combines beautifully with the bouncy length of Romney in his honey-caramel coat. Romneys hail from the boggy areas of England, allowing them to easily adapt to our damp winter climate in the interior of British Columbia. Both Merino and Romney fleeces create a good all-round, versatile wool, and Aspen’s is no exception. His particular yarn is great for finer garments, but also terrific as hats, mittens, or sweaters. Aspen enjoys greeting us every morning with his gravelly, old man’s voice and it is easy to fall in love with his sweet nature and dashing good looks.
Huckleberry is a lot like Aspen, in looks and in temperament as the charismatic Romney gene loaded up in this fellow. However, while his father’s fleece is more Romney in structure, Huckleberry’s leans towards Merino. He is our Peace, Love and Granola guy ~ you couldn’t imagine a nicer personality. Huckleberry is truly adorable, he is everyone’s friend and not at all shy of humans. Often, he will come up behind one of us, as we are crouched down petting another sheep, and he will quietly come and lay his chin over our shoulder. He was so endearing as a wee little lamb in 2018, I didn’t want to part with him so we wethered him and his only job in life, aside from being loved, is to grow his gorgeous fibre. He has an amazingly soft, fine light greyish brown coat that will soon be spun up into his yarn. Because the Debouillet traits are so strong in Huckleberry, his wool is perfect for fine, lightweight projects.
Lilac is our goofball girl, more like a muppet than sheep. She has the shaggy, long locks of a Romney and when she bounds about the pasture, her fleece bounces all over the place. Born in 2019, Flora is her mother and as she nears her first shearing, we are expecting the softness of a Merino combined with the elasticity and durability from her small amount of Romney genes. Lilac has been halter trained by my 11 year old daughter and she seems to enjoy the training sessions so much, whenever Sunshine is visible, Lilac bounces over towards her with enthusiasm. She doesn’t have a speck of inhibition towards humans and we have considered taking her with us to workshops. Her lamb’s clip will be used to make Wool Maiden’s new Lambie-Pie yarn, a combination of lambswool and mohair.
Stella Blue is one of the most endearing sheep we have. She arrived in 2015 to Gladsheim Farm as a young ewe lamb and little did we know how much of a personality she has in such a small frame (in comparison to the large Merinos). She is predominantly Gotland as her sire was pure Gotland while her dam was 1/2 Shetland and 1/2 Blue Faced Leicester. Stella is very approachable and I swear she is more like a puppy than a sheep! (And she gets into mishaps like a puppy…her poor ear is split as her former owner had put the mandatory ear tag into her ear and she accidentally managed to get it torn out while sticking her head through the fence to say hello to our farm dogs ~ poor thing!) She enjoys massages and scratches under her chin, and though she is the smallest ewe at the farm, she is not to be pushed around. Stella has lambed twice, once in 2016 to a ram lamb and then again in the summer of 2018 to a beautiful pure white ewe lamb, Little Luna. Stella is a loving mother who continues to watch over her grown up daughter…they seem the best of friends. Stella’s fleece is gorgeous with wavy ringlets that are silvery, charcoal grey and creamy white. Stella’s beautiful yarn lends itself well to draping, and its fineness works well in lightweight garments. She truly is stunning!
Little Luna, or Lilu as she is affectionately called, is the storybook lamb, born in 2018. A beautiful yearling ewe, she has snowy white with pink ears and large hazel eyes. Like her mother, Stella Blue, Lilu happily greets any human that walks through the gate with a friendly baaa hello. She is inquisitive and gentle and seems to always wears a smile on her face. In fact, Lilu seems to be one of those blessed creatures to always be happy! Little Luna’s sire is Aspen who is a Merino x Romney cross. As her mother is Stella Blue, Lilu is therefore an interesting mix of 25% Gotland, 25% Romney, 25% Merino and 12.5% each of both Blue Faced Leicester and Shetland. Lilu’s snowy white fleece is curly and crimpy like her mother’s, so squishy and bouncy it would make the perfect garment requiring memory and elasticity. When you see Lilu’s gorgeously abundant long locks of snowy goodness, her fine fibre background is obvious. Little Luna’s fleece is a prize and her first clip will join Wool Maiden’s new lambswool and mohair Lambie-Pie Yarn.
Delilah is quiet and shy around humans, but she likes to frolic and play with the other ewes in the flock. She was born in the spring of 2016 along with a twin brother, Samson, to Sugaree. Delilah has an absolutely gorgeous fleece that grows in a characteristic Romney fashion ~ long locks that can obscure her vision unless we trim around her face. Her sire was Romeo, a purebred Romney ram, and together with her mother who was also 1/4 Romney, Delilah boasts an impressive range of fibre breeds with 5/8 (62.5%) Romney, 1/4 (25%) Rambouillet and 1/8 (12.5%) Cotswold. Her incredible fleece ends up being creamy in colour with a little silvery mocha mixed in, creating a soft oatmeal grey colour. Delilah’s wool would be excellent in both fine garments and in sturdier items like hats, mittens, and sweaters. Delilah is set to have her first lambs in April 2020 and I’m hoping we will see her exquisite fleece show up in her babies.
Sugar Magnolia is the spitting image of her mama, Sugaree, our very first sheep fro 2014. Born in 2019, Sugar Magnolia has a twin, Cosmic Charlie, who went on to sire his own flock down the road from us. An interesting fibre cross of 37.5% Rambouillet Merino, and 37.5% Romney, Sugar Magnolia also has 12.5% each of Delaine Merino and Cotswold. Needless to say, her fleece has a slight lustre to it and is springy soft with lovely waves of crimp, just right for a beautiful sweater. We will be rehoming Sugar Magnolia to the perfect farm this summer, as we need to make way for the Shetland lambs due in April. It will be sad to see her move on from us, but we know that she will go on to have a productive life as a mama to her own little ones, and growing copious amounts of her lovely white wool. (Pm me if you are interested in bringing Sugar Magnolia home to your farm!)
Argyle is our registered Shetland ram, born in 2019. His diminutive size is characteristic of the breed, and so is his incredible creamy fleece. He has a recessive brown gene so we are hoping for any lambs born with this elusive trait. Argyle arrived to our farm with a little bit of attitude…but once he found his place amongst the boys, he became a very affectionate, gentle fellow. He eagerly approaches for chin scratches, and he pushes forward to the fenceline for any signs of adoration from anyone willing to indulge him. A very old breed, Shetland sheep’s abundant fleece indicate how they have adapted to rugged, harsh winters. Argyle is a gorgeous example of fine Shetland wool, with creamy coloured fleece and katmoget patterned markings, as determined by traditional Shetland categories. His creamy fleece is wonderfully soft though durable, and would ideally be used to make an exceptional sweater, though it is next to the skin soft.
Agatha is one of our two registered Shetland ewes, born in 2019. She is a brazen little sheep, standing her ground to decide if she trusts you or not. However, in the short time she has been with us at Gladsheim Farm, she is coming around to taking hay and grain from our hands. I have high hopes that given some more time, she will be as docile as my other ewes. Shetland sheep have a 1000 plus year history from the northern Scottish isles, and they are well suited to our winters here. Agatha has a very pale silvery fleece and yuglet, mullit, gulmoget patterned markings, in the language of Shetland traditional names. Her wool is super soft, though strong, and would make lovely next to the skin items, or a fantastic heirloom quality sweater. We are hoping that Agatha and Argyle hit it off splendidly during breeding season and we will be seeing purebred Shetland lambs in April 2020.
Bonnie the Beautiful rounds out our third sheep of our Shetland trio. She is our most reserved sheep, preferring to stand back a bit and assess the surroundings for imminent threats. Once she has deemed herself safe, she may carefully approach others, but with extreme caution. Born in 2019, Bonnie squeezes often squeezes herself between the large, towering merino flock mates for security, almost as if she thinks we can’t see her anymore…but it is hard not to spot this stunning, dainty girl. Bonnie is a gorgeous black Shetland with sun bleached brown tips, Bonnie is a beauty. Her fleece looks just right for a soft and strong sweater. Bonnie was bred to Argyle last fall and we are expecting her to lamb in April 2020.
With lambing set to begin in early April 2020, we are expecting to add 8 to 10 more lambs to our flock. Stay tuned! We will have all the lambs available for our SponsorSheep program!