Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My First Blog!

Wow! I didn't think I would ever do this. My very own Blog!
An introduction then!
I live in Nevada (no, not Vegas or Reno) with my husband of 17 years, our teenage son and teenage daughter. I love animals, so it is no surprise that I have surrounded myself with them. We have a chinchilla, two cockatiels, four dogs, five cats, two horses, and a multitude of sheep!
When I am not at work, I am likely spinning hence the name Sittin' n' Spinnin' :)

Spinning is not a common past time so you want to know what got me interested, right? Well it is a relatively long story, but it is also the story of how I became a shepherd and how my daughter and I came to own tunis sheep, so lets start at the best place, the beginning...

My daughter came to me one day at 12 years old and said she wanted to be in 4-H. A friend of hers had been showing sheep for about 3 years and had talked her into trying it. I didn't know squat about sheep! Nothing other than they were edible and they grew wool.
However I did know that my neighbor had a few sheep and it was about mid summer when we called her. She said, "Yes, we have one lamb left, but it was the oddest thing! It was born red!"
Well, how better to intrigue a person! We had to go see this red lamb! We live in an area where there are only black faced sheep (we now know they are suffolks), and to hear of a red lamb?
We bought the lamb. Then went home and started a search for a breed of sheep that was born red. There are actually two, but the one that interested us was the tunis sheep, they keep the red coloring on their heads and legs when they mature (more on them later). The reason this particular lamb was born red was because of the other red faced breed; the California red, a breed created from crossing tunis and barbados sheep. Our neighbors ram was half CA red.

We found out that there was only one flock of tunis in the western half of the United States (there are now more than 12). It was located in Moab, UT owned by Mary Ann Cunningham, or Sam as she is better known ( We planned a May trip to her place to check out these red faced sheep. While there we talked about her being a spinner and I was again intrigued by something I knew nothing about and decided I had to learn more. Before we left, we had struck a deal with Sam; she would deliver 4 tunis lambs to us that fall for an outrageously low price, for the simple fact that she wanted to get tunis spread far and wide and she wanted to give my daughter a hand up in the business. It was a good thing I was driving a Suburban though, because before I was able to get away, we had two natural colored corriedale lambs in a water trough in the back. That was the beginning of our flock of sheep.

Oh yeah! The wool! Sam had given my daughter a huge bag of raw corriedale wool so she could learn how to spin! Fortunately for me, she wasn't interested so I taught myself how to wash, dry, and spin raw wool from what I saw and read on the Internet. I also learned how to make spindles out of a cut dowel and a toy wheel. Still my favorite, they weigh 1.5 ounces and I have spun everything on those things! From silk to romney to qiviut, and I could get 4 ounces of wool on one spindle!

So now we have my daughters 4-H sheep (5 suffolks and crosses), 11 tunis, and 3 corriedales and enough wool that it SHOULD support my spinning habits... but for some reason I still feel compelled to buy wool, go figure.

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