August 2017 update … the year has gone so quickly …

And only now are we coming up for air!  Home Farm Wensleydales has had its busiest year yet and I’m not surprised that the last time I updated the blog was January.

 

Since then we have lambed 120 ewes and have 208 lambs plus ‘7 surprises’ skipping around our fields.  Big thanks to everyone who followed lambing in the ‘party tent’ during February and March – thanks for your support and we hope to do the same again next year. 

 

April was a lovely month for us – we had our own ‘orphan’ lambs – 30 of them – to look after.  By orphan, we don’t mean that the ewe died – rather, she had 3 or even 4 lambs to look after, so we helped out.  Its asking a lot for a ewe to feed more than 2 lambs, and if she does then usually she suffers for it.  So although it’s very difficult at the time, it’s best all round if we help out by taking one or two of her lambs away. 

The ‘lamb lounge’ was great fun and we had hired a monster milk machine so the lambs always had fresh warm milk on demand. 

 

May was an important month – shearing time.  This year we were delighted to have Josh Page shear for us.  Josh is a champion shearer from Wales and it was a pleasure to have him stay with us for a couple of days while he was shearing.  Incredible to see him start at 6am and still be shearing under floodlight at 10pm!  My sheep felt all the better for it and I’ve now started to sort my way through a barn full of fleece.  I always let the fleece rest before sorting as this gives a chance for any moisture to evaporate and the grease to settle.

 

In June we took delivery of our 4 ply yarn in the same shades as our DK.  We are absolutely delighted with the quality and ‘squishability’ of this beautiful yarn.  I take huge satisfaction in knowing that this yarn started with me delivering the lamb through to feeding daily to shearing, to driving the fleece to Bradford to be washed separately to then collect and take to Laxtons in Leeds for spinning.  This is what I mean when I say ‘genuine’ on the label of my yarn and you really can tell the difference. Ps – the label is from Bradford and a big thanks to Steven who always rushes through the order in time for the wool spinning. 

 

 

In July our thoughts turn to winter!  And this year we seem to have got the haylage right – which is so important for feeding the sheep through the winter months.  We tested the grass before cutting and again once the haylage is wrapped.  Hoping for lovely sweet smelling haylage this year for our hungry girls.  However, as I blog, I’m still wondering if we are ever going to cut the hay field!  Fingers crossed for 5 days of good sunny weather in August. 

 

We’ve had such a lovely time at the shows this year to date.  Our first visit to Edinburgh Yarn Festival (http://www.edinyarnfest.com/) was amazing and we hope to be there again next year.  The new fair Spring into Wool  (http://www.springintowool.co.uk/) was a busy and incredibly well organised day in Leeds.   Wonderwool Wales (http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/home.html) , Woolfest (http://www.woolfest.co.uk/) and Shipston Wool Fair (http://shipstonwoolfair.co.uk/) gave us the chance to take our sheep which is always a challenge but good fun at the same time.  We have learnt not to take sheep that can jump a hurdle from a standing start!  British Wool Show (http://britishwool.net/) was at its new location in Thirsk and thankfully our customers still managed to find us and finally Fibre East (http://www.fibre-east.co.uk/) was a lovely weekend, very busy and, as always, fun.  Since we live close by, it was lovely to have  

Amanda and Dave from Joe’s Toes (https://joestoes.co.uk/) stay with us at Home Farm. 

 

Looking towards our next show, we have Yarndale -  (http://yarndale.co.uk/). 

This is new for us – and we are really excited to be part of this popular event in Skipton on 23 and 24 September. 

 

But for now – happy Summer to you all …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND CUSTOMERS!

 

So - a little behind with blogging, sorry ... busy times here at Home Farm.  

 

Late September we put our rams to work and in December had our scanning results.   It seems that we are expecting many lambs ...   30+ singles, 60+ twins, 30+ triplets AND 3 sets of Quads!  Any volunteer bottle feeders would be most welcome.

Knit Now Magazine

I was very lucky to meet the Editor of Knit Now Magazine at Ally Pally.  Kate loved our wool and designed a fantastic Rainbow Wrap for us.  Imagine my excitement when my copy of Knit Now came in the post this morning.  This is the first time that I have seen the wrap on the model and (I know I'm biased) but it looks fantastic.  
There is also '5 minutes with .. ' ME!  Sorry to appear so mad about this, its just that I work on a farm and I've never been in a magazine before.  
So a massive thank you to Kate and the team at Knit Now.  http://www.knitnowmag.co.uk/

 

Steve, with a couple of lambs - our prize-winners from Moreton show, September 2017

August 2016

What a busy few months at Home Farm.  

No sooner had we finished lambing then we seemed to be straight into shearing.  What a stressful time, trying to pick the perfect weather window - warm dry weather is essential - and trying to fit in with the shearers' other plans.
I personally stand over the shearers to make sure the sheep are handled properly and that the wool goes into the right bags before sorting.  It's fantastic to see the newly shorn sheep skipping out into the field delighted to be free of their heavy fleeces.  It is exhausting work but my hands finish the day lovely and soft, coated with lanolin from handling and packing the fleeces.

Jason takes all the bags of fleece and stores it by breed and colour into one of our spare stables.  Every sunny day from then until August is spent sorting, picking and weighing the fleece to meet the advanced orders that we have received and the many orders that come in at this time of year.  It is incredibly satisfying to receive the feedback from our many happy customers who receive my washed and unwashed fleece.  

We keep a careful eye on the lambs to make sure they are gaining weight and on the mums to make sure they aren't losing condition.  Its amazing how lambing can impact on the quality of the fleece.  

Through May and June our attention turns to hay and haylage making, and we are really lucky to have Mik and Steven who help us every year with making our haylage.  I have even got them into using the pink bale wrap, which supports a great charity (Breast Cancer) though gets me a few frowns from the local Councillor.  

We also do a number of shows (see events page on our website) and its great fun to meet new customers and catch up with previous customers and hear (and even see) about some of their projects.  

The shows gave us a chance to exhibit our new 4 ply and aran yarn - freshly back from Laxtons.  The 4 ply is a real 'labour of love' as it has taken me years of carefully storing the fleece and building up my flock of Black Wensleydales.  The new yarn feels incredible and has been very popular.  

August is coming to an end and we have decided to 'Blue tongue' vaccinate this year.  It seems incredible to me that the Belgian, German and Spanish Governments will pay for their animals to be vaccinated but we have to rely on the DEFRA website that hasn't been updated since February and pay ourselves!  Its very expensive but gives me peace of mind knowing that I have done my best to protect this wonderful flock of rare breed sheep.

April 2016 - lambing continues and the first wool event of 2016

We've been having a great lambing season here at Home Farm Wensleydales, and thought many of you may appreciate an update on how things are going. 
Our Bluefaced Leicesters and Wensleydales have given us some wonderful lambs, and we are waiting on just three more.

At the weekend, we travelled to Wales for the Wonderwool festival. The timing was tight, but fortunately Laxtons delivered the first batch of our DK yarn to the the festival the day before we started, and we were absolutely delighted to have been able to include this on our stall. The DK comes from our 2015 shear, and we really love how the colours and yarn itself has turned out.
 

This was our first main show of the spring, and throughout summer we will be attending a wide variety of shows throughout the country.

The yarn is in on our website, selling at £6.50 / 50g.  
As well as just washed so natural, we have the most amazing subtle colours of Cotswold Stone, Burford Blue, Moreton Sage and Arlescote Blush.


Bringing some of our sheep to the festival, and having them alongside our stall, was fun  - and despite a few excitable Wensleydales trying their hand at hurdle jumping to meet our customers in person, it went very well indeed!

(Photo taken before grouping into individual pens for Wonderwool Wales)

 

Thank you so much for having us Wonderwool Wales and we would love to see you all again next year x

http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/home.html



During May we will see you at:

Ragley Hall Home & Garden Show 13th - 15th May
http://www.ragley.co.uk/whats-on-warwickshire/midlands-home-garden-show/

Dassett School - 21st May (with sheep and possibly pigs)
Fibreworks, Chipping Norton - 28th May (with sheep)
Shipston on Stour Wool Fair - 30th May (with sheep)




 

March 2016 - we have started lambing!

Spring Lambing

 

It's our favourite time of the year here on Home Farm - lambing!

 

Having been very successful in lambing some brilliant Bluefaced Leicesters throughout February and March, we are now in waiting for the next 39 Wensleydale lambs to join us in the coming weeks! 

 

Those of you who have liked our Facedbook page will no doubt have seen some of difficulties faced this year, particularly our emergency caesarian section. Unbelievably, we are pleased to report that even after all the trauma involved, the ewe accepted her ewe and ram lambs! She is a wonderful ewe with a lovely nature, and has secured herself a lifelong place on our farm, although we won't allow her to lamb again for her own safety.

 

It was a sad mothering Sunday this year, with two of our lambs being stillborn. However, the ewe will not be without lambs as she has happily accepted a triplet from another without any coaxing or fooling.

 

Last Monday marked the first venture out into the fields for most of our lambs. We still bring them back for bed every night though! The nursery has also returned this year outside the kitchen, where triplets and other smaller lambs are on full time supervision, and fed extra to help them catch up.

 

On behalf of Home Farm Wensleydales I wish you all a very happy Easter!

February 2016

I must admit that I am not great at 'blogging' but given that we are fast approaching lambing I am hoping that there will be some lovely photo opportunities and so I promise to try harder!!

 

In the meantime, isn't this a great compliment for my wool:

 

Dear Steve and Jayne,

Just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with the DK yarn I bought from you. It knitted up well and is lovely and soft. It was joyful to use even for a self confessed yarn snob!

 

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Late November

Preparing for the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate - next Thursday to Sunday (26 to 29 November).  New designs launched at the show - Cosy Kids Hoodie - designed and samples knit by my sister.

And we also have our new Wensleydale 'Tweed' unisex scarf - pictured here with Steve, who is desperately encouraging train and tube knitters to look at our website!!

And our new design of funky hats, based on the button hat from earlier in the year.  Our much loved Home Farm Flower brightens up any winter day and the matching wrist-warmers make sure you are cosy.

And just for fun ... our Home Farm Snowmen ... 

I have Four complimentary tickets for the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show - which are valid Thursday, Friday or Sunday.  If you would like these tickets, please message me and I still have enough time to post them to you - for the small price of a cuppa while I'm on my stall!! 

Look forward to seeing you all there!

September and October

Two very busy months for us here at Home Farm

Mid September early preparations were made for our Bluefaced Leicester shearling ewes and our ram ready for tupping at the end of September - hoping to have our Bluefaced lambs born from 18 February 2016.  

He was painted blue underneath and looked very proud to be escorted to his 'ladies'.   Each time he 'tups' he leaves a mark on their back and we can make a note of the date we expect her lamb to be born. We subsequently changed his colour to red and all but one was tupped by the end of last week.  He looked miserable when Jason caught him and pulled him out from the field.

 

Early October Home Farm Wensleydales very first

Ally Pally

http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/

a great experience  and we have had wonderful feedback.  Ally Pally - we hope to see you again 5 - 9 October 2016 and this time bringing you a new range of Double Knitting yarns.  This halloween there will be a lot of knitted orange pumpkins around - hope you all love them and have fun knitting them!

Happy Halloween everyone - with love from Home Farm Wensleydales x








August at Home Farm

I always find weaning difficult - but its done now and whilst we were separating the lambs from the ewes we decided to separate the flock into Black Wensleydales, White Wensleydales and Bluefaced Leiciesters.  I had forgotten just how stunning these sheep are, but looking at them now in their own groups is amazing.

We have met some wonderful people at Stratford Home and Garden Show, Fibre East and Tysoe Fete, and we will be at RBST Poultry and Sheep Sale (Woodbine Farm, Rugby) on 30th August.  

Preparations for Moreton in Marsh Country Show on 5 September is underway, and we will also have a small table in the craft tent and our local fete at Warmington on 6 September - where we hope to bring along a couple of sheep!

Some sheep and I have been invited to Pins and Needles in Devises on Friday 25 September with Victoria Harvey at her wonderful shop which we are looking forward to, and lets not forget the big event at The Knitting and Sewing Show, Alexandra Palace on 7 - 11 October. 

Thank you for the great feedback that I have been receiving about my wool.  I love to hear what you are knitting and photos are even better!  Please remember to send them to me via the website or on our facebook page :)

Our Wensleydale ram lamb is absolutely fantastic - but I can't think of a name for him - any suggestions?