Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fabulous Fiber!

Teeswater Fiber Available!

We have rinsed rinsed the sheep and shorn the sheep and now are sorting the wool.

Fiber has been weighed and packed and posted to ETSY

Please visit our ETSY shop LAWRENCECOTTAGE

Lawrence Cottage Teeswater Long Locks 8-11 inch staple length.

Locks are posted on ETSY by 4 ounce increments, but we are happy to sell more or less than that quantity!

Thank you for looking!
--The Ladies of Lawrence Cottage

The Guard at Lawrence Cottage!

How do you keep sheep from coyote, bear, cougar?  Here at Lawrence Cottage we have had excellent success with our livestock guard dogs.
This is Cooper.  Cooper came to us from a working farm in The Dalles, Oregon.  Cooper is primarily Great Pyrenees, with a very small percent Koomador.

Cooper first lived with our ewe Lola and her two lambs in the barn.
Puppy Cooper, fast asleep w/ the sheep
Cooper does well with the goats and chickens, but he loves the sheep.  So, it only made sense that when we purchased a second puppy some four years later that we would repeat our training him up with a ewe and her lambs.  It seems to be working well.

Milo came to us March 2014 from a working farm in the Willamette Valley.  He is working out well.  Milo lives with the sheep in the pasture.   Milo is mostly Maramma/Great Pyrenees with a smidge Akbash/Anatolian.

Cooper has free run of the entire property, while Milo will be confined to a large pasture for as long as possible.  Milo is a great jumper, we hope he does not learn to jump the field fence.  Our guard dogs wear radio collars and a wire outlines the perimeter of our property.  The collar beeps if the dogs nears the perimeter.  That is usually all it takes for them to turn around and stay within the perimeter.  

Many farms use guard llama's and we tried that for a period of time.  Cassie has been re-homed to a small farm with shetland sheep to guard.  Even with a guard llama the coyotes would enter the barn and partake of chicken dinner.  So we went to guard dogs and the problem ceased immediately.  Livestock Guard Dogs are industrial strength nocturnal barkers!  They sleep a good portion of the day.  

We miss Cassie, and are glad she could go to a new flock.
Cassie, Livestock Guard Llama
Predators in our neighborhood include hawks, coyotes, black bear & cougar.

Thanks for looking!
--The Ladies of Lawrence Cottage

Meet some Teeswater Ewes at Lawrence Cottage

People always ask what the foundation breed for our ewes are.  We would introduce a few of our lovely ewes and their progeny for your viewing pleasure!
Shepherd Lane's Lizzie spring 2012

Lizzie is a 50% teeswater ewe.  Her foundation is Border Leicester.  Her fleece has a large loose curl structure.  She has a lot of luster in her fleece.  Given that Lizzie is only 50% teeswater she has great face & leg markings!  To date Lizzie has thrown two beautiful ewes: Lawrence Cottage's Letha in 2013 and Lawrence Cottage's Lilly in 2014.  Both were BIG lambs and are growing into nice big ewes.  They are both larger than their dam.  Both ewes are marked with the characteristic teeswater face and leg markings.  

Lawrence Cottage's Letha
Lawrence Cottage's Letha is a 75% Teeswater ewe.  Lizzie (above) is her Dam.  Her sire, Newbould's Grey Green Star is out of the UK.  She is the progeny of laproscopic artificial insemination.    Letha has the same large curl and open lock structure as her dam, Lizzie.  She is also well marked on her face and legs.  

Shepherd Lane's Lizzie with her new ewe lamb, Lawrence Cottage's Lilly, Spring 2014.  Lilly was a big lamb!  Lizzie is a very attentive mother!  Lilly was sired by Lawrence Cottage's Sunday's Best (82.25% ram).  

Lizzie has been Laproscopically AI'd to Shepherd Lane's 93% ram Majestic Playboy.  He is a solid, well marked tank of a ram lamb!  We are extremely pleased that he is covering a good portion of our ewes this year!   We are anxious to see how he grows out as a yearling!  Shepherd's Lane has bred some superior, well-marked, large bodied rams!  

Grace 50% Teeswater Ewe
Grace came to us by way of Shepherd's Lane of LaComb, Oregon.  She is a 50% Teeswater ewe, her UK Sire is Pately Prince Charming.  We understand Prince Charming throws well tempered lambs.  Grace has an excellent temperament.  She is very friendly, comes up to you in the field friendly!  She has thrown triplets each year we have bred her.  Though they have not all survived lambing.  She is getting on in years and we worry each year might be her last lambing season.  Grace's foundation ewe was a Lincoln.  She has a nice lock structure and a reasonably dense fleece.  

Her daughters are: 
Lawrence Cottage's 75% Opal & Annie Spring 2013
Sired by Newbould's Grey Green Star

Ewe lamb is Lizzie (unrelated to Grace), Ewe on right is Hazel.  Hazel's dam is Grace & Sire is Roy
Hazel has given us 2 nice ewe lambs and 1 nice ram lamb.  She has moved on to another Teeswater breeder.

Grace & her 2014 ewe lamb Lawrence Cottage's Pearl 66% teeswater.  Pearl was sired by
Lawrence Cottage's Sundays Best 82.25% ram. 
We are very happy that Super Sire, Ltd has agreed to L-AI Grace for us this fall.  She will be bred to Shepherd Lane's 93% ram lamb, Majestic Playboy.  We are planning to let Grace raise one lamb and we are preparing to bottle feed any additional lambs.  Grace throws nice lambs and we would like to see them through to adulthood!  Last fall we found that we can bottle raise lambs as well as the ewes on our goat milk.  We are freezing milk for this purpose!  

The Matriach of our flock: Meet Ruby (aka #141, aka Tarawara)

Here at Lawrence Cottage we fondly refer to her as Ruby.  She was a lovely large 50% teeswater ewe.  Her foundation was wensleydale.  Ruby's sire was the UKs Lakeland Majestic.  Ruby was a big ewe with an excellent temperament.

Her daughters are:
Shepherd Lane's Rosethea 65.6% Teeswater, twin to Sadie & Dam to Sunday's Best
Shepherd Lane's Sadie 65.6% Teeswater (twin to Rosethea)
Sadie has Ruby's sweet temperament.  Sadie comes right up to you in the pasture for attention.  She is a large ewe, like her dam.  Last year she had twin ewes, this year triplets with two ewes and one ram. 

Lawrence Cottage's Duchess 75% Teeswater
Lawrence Cottage's Duchess shorn and lazing in the barn

Lawrence Cottage's Duchess is 75% teeswater.  Her sire is UKs Rimington Playboy.  Duchess has a very sweet temperament, much like her dam.  Last year she twinned and we have retained a lovely ewe lamb.  She has been exposed to Lawrence Cottage's Over the Moon this fall (2014).  

Lawrence Cottage's Duke 75% Teeswater
Lawrence Cottage's Duke is twin to Duchess, above.  Duke was sired by UKs Rimington Playboy.  

Shepherd Lane's Minnie 65.6% Teeswater

Meet Minnie! 
Shepherd Lane's Minnie.  Minnie's foundation ewe was a Blue Face Leicester.   As her name implies, Minnie was a small ewe.  Teeswater's are not small sheep, but she was!  And so were all of her lambs.  She was bred to UKs Rimington Playboy, and she had two small rams.
Mickey, ram lamb out of Minnie and Rimington Playboy
We really liked Minnie's fleece, it had a lovely, very defined ringlet curl structure.  The locks were thin.  Minnie always had small lambs, and so she was sold to a spinner's flock.  We did keep her daughter, Minnie Mae with the hope she will throw larger lambs.  MinnieMae has grown out better than prior lambs of Minnie's and so we remain cautiously hopeful!  

Lawrence Cottage Teeswater's MinnieMae 70% Teeswater
Sire: LCT Duke Dam: SLT Minne
Lawrence Cottage's MinnieMae is slightly larger than her dam, Minne.  MinnieMae also has a lovely fleece.  She has been exposed to Lawrence Cottage's Over the Moon this fall 2014.  We will be excited to see what she throws and are hopeful Over the Moon will bring some nice face markings to the lambs!  MinnieMae does not come right up to you, but she is very friendly once caught and very easy going.  

Lawrence Cottage's Sunday's Best aka Sunday!  (82.25% Ram)
Sunday is the Sire to many of our 2014 lambs.

Sunday Drying off after a good rinse! The Staple length on that fleece is 7 inches.  Sunday  is 82.25% Teeswater  

Lawrence Cottage's Sunday is a nice sized ram.    He was sired by UKs Rimington Playboy and Shepherd Lane's Rosethea.  

Thanks for looking!
--The Ladies of Lawrence Cottage

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Random Teeswater Musings!

Lawrence Cottage's 82.25% Teeswater Ewe, Letha
Several years ago we wanted to raise some Wensleydale sheep.  We visited the Dally's sheep farm in Lebanon, Oregon.  We loved the fiber, then we saw a Teeswater fleece.  It was over at that point. Wensleydale sheep were no longer the dream!  The dream became Teeswater Sheep!  We purchased our first Teeswater fleece and spun it and played with it all winter.
Teeswater Fleece from ShepherdsLane 

We researched the Teewater sheep. We found that Teeswater's were the foundation breed for the once sought after Wensleydale sheep.  The Dally's shared information on the two breedsand we were convinced that we wanted to breed Teeswater's.  Our first ewes came to our cottage in the back of a Honda Accord!  Yes it was a sight on I-5!  
Ruby, the Matriarch of the flock (wensleydale foundation) the ewe in the back with the dark blue/black face w/ her lambs Duke and Duchess.  Hazel the middle Ewe w/ her lamb.  Hazel has a Lincoln foundation.  Lizzie, the front ewe as a yearling ewe.
Ruby & Hazel were our first two ewes.

We were able to Laproscopically Artificially Inseminate (L-AI) our ewes with semen from the United Kingdom.  We had a lot of lovely ram lambs and one ewe lamb our first lambing season!
Lawrence Cottage's Duchess 75% Teeswater ewe
Since our first year a virus has hit parts of Europe, Schmallenberg virus.  It is currently not possible to import semen.  There is not much Teeswater semen available in the United States and we feel that the remaining semen should be used very judiciously for the greater good of the breed.  Since we do not have high percentage sheep we will not be using UK semen until the borders open up again.  

This year we used Shepherd Lane's 93% ram.  He is a well marked solid ram!  We will be excited to see what he throws.  In order to maintain genetic diversity we can only use him on one breeding group of ewes.  We will be using our own 82.25% ram on a second breeding group of ewes here at Lawrence Cottage.  Our 2016 lamb crop percentages will vary from 71% to 87%

Teeswater Lamb fleece!  Our softest fleece!
Once our ewes are L-AI'd we keep them in a low stress environment for the next 40 days with the hope they will "settle" with the L-AI semen.  If they do not settle our cover ram is our 82.25% ram and those lambs will not be used for breeding due to the inbreeding co-efficient.  However, those lambs will still produce fabulous fiber and then go to market.

We have noticed many things as we have begun the process of upgrading our Teewater flock.  There is a lot of variation in our lower percentage teeswater fleeces.  Some ewes have a light weight clip that is soft and fine.  Other ewes have a heavy weight clip.  We are finding better consistency in our fleece quality as our percent nears 75-82%.  

Lizzie, 50% teeswater ewe, clean and ready for show!
Teeswater fleeces are a delight to work with!  Ewes reach maturity about age 3.  We do not breed ewe until they are yearlings.  We let the ewes grow long locks their first year.  This is a gamble, you may get a wonderful fleece or a felted mess!  We have experienced some of both!  Some sheep LOVE to rub on trees!  Oh imagine pitch in your now finely felted fleece!   

Sheep growing lovely fleeces require some good nutrition.  Sheep chow is not cheap!  Our flock can eat a ton of alfalfa in less than 30 days.  This year we put 24 tons of alfalfa and Kentucky blue grass. When we feed blue grass we also feed a high percentage (16%) fescue/clover pellet.    We hope this will hold us through until June 2015.  Our flock number doubles at lambing and ewes/lambs eat a lot of alfalfa very quickly!
Alfalfa (non GMO) delivery from Central Oregon.  My parents haul many loads of this lovely green stuff over Mt Hood and we stack it in the barns all summer long!

We try to shear our breeding ewes one or twice a year.  They grow about one inch per month, or less when they are bred.  We still have a nice length fleece.  We find the 3-6 inch fleece is wonderful for yarn!  
Teeswater art yarn w/ beads.  6-8 inch fleece is wonderful!

3 inch Teeswater staple length.  Heavy laceweight 2-ply milled.


2-ply heavy laceweight Teeswater yarn from Lawrence Cottage
Estonian scarf knit by G Johnson of Lawrence Cottage

                                      --The Ladies of Lawrence Cottage

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why Gotland sheep?

Gotland sheep are relatively new comers to North America.  They originated in the Isle of Gotland (Off Sweden & Denmark's coasts).  They are hardy sheep, an excellent choice for new sheep breeders.  They have a fabulous steel grey fleece packed w/ curl, lustre and texture.  Their meat is lean and sweet.  They are easy lambers and excellent mothers!  Gotland sheep yield two fleeces per year.  Here at Lawrence Cottage we shear before lambing and again in the fall before breeding.  

Gotland sheep browse and graze, so they will indeed take care of the blackberry vines!  Gotland's have personality plus!  They are like a flock of puppy dogs.  They LOVE attention and will follow you where ever you go, with the hope of being scratched between the ears!  They are a calm and quite curious breed of sheep.  

Gotland fiber is curly and average growth rate is 1 inch per month.  It is known for its fabulous felting qualities.  Here at Lawrence Cottage we like to blend the Gotland lamb wool with our German Angora bunny fiber for a marvelously soft yarn.  
Gotland yarn is DURABLE!  It does not pill and the toe on your socks does not wear right through!

Gotland lamb wool is Oh So Soft! 

Lawrence Cottage's Effie 90% Registered Gotland Ewe lamb. June 2014 @ Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon

Single spun art yarn from Gotland Lamb by Staci H, knit by Gale J
Singles art yarn by Staci H, knit by Jeannie H

Gotland/angora 80/20 laceweight,knit by Gale J

Gotland / Angora 80/20 laceweight yarn milled by Creekside Fiber, Lebanon, OR

So you say you want a Gotland?
The American Gotland Sheep Society is a marvelous resource.  From Breed standard to breeders near you!

Here at Lawrence Cottage we started with one 50% American Gotland Sheep Society (AGSS) Recorded Gotland ewe, Lola.  Lola was from a Finn/Lincoln foundation and was a wonderful ewe.  Our second ewe was a 75% AGSS Registered Gotland ewe (finn foundation), named Emma.  From these two ewe sprang our flock!  Our first ram was named Glen Oak Gotland's KMAC.  KMAC was AGSS registered @ 87.5% Gotland. 

Lola 50% Gotland Ewe

Emma 75% Gotland Ewe

Gotland Lambs are adorable!

So why does it take so long to get a registered purebred Gotland you ask?
At the present time we do not have a ram on site.  That means that we have our ewes laprascopically artificially inseminated (L-AI) by Martin Dally of Super Sire Ltd.
Martin Dally & Co. L-AI day at Sudan Farm
Suffolk ewe waiting her turn at L-AI

This method of breeding sheep is fairly successful, but ewe lambs do not have a good rate of conception with this method.  Furthermore, Europe currently has a horrible virus that causes fetal deformities and spontaneous abortions (Schmallenberg virus).  So for the present time semen import is currently closed.  We feel it is not a prudent use of semen to attempt to breed ewe lambs in their first season.  This means we move up a small percent each year with the lamb crop from the prior year.  

What does this mean for you?  This means we have a few very special yearling ewe fleeces!  These ewes are pampered and spend the winter lazing around a green pasture and eating non-GMO green leafy alfalfa that we bring in from Madras, Oregon.  These ewes really grow the fleece.  Without the stress of pregnancy and lambing to cause wool break these yearling ewes  produce some very fine fleeces!

So why is Gotland wool expensive?  It costs a bit to grow this lovely wool.  Feed prices are always increasing and without proper nutrition fleece quality is poor.  L-AI breeding is usually more expensive than purchasing a ram.    We have some wonderful genetics in our flock as a result of  laproscopically artificial insemination.  We have used Winston and Rover from the Barlow flock in the United Kingdom.  They breed for hand spinning fleeces which is also our focus.  

We will be hoping for some 95% lambs spring 2015!  We will have percents varying from 84%, 87.5%, 93.75 & 95% if our ewes conceived with the L-AI.  


--The Ladies of Lawrence Cottage