Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wensleydale Longwool Sheep




Regular readers of my blog will know by now that we farm on the side of a long lane which has only a few houses on its length - and all of them farms. Our next door but one neighbour - about a mile and a half down the lane - has Wensleydale Longwool Sheep, so I walked down yesterday (it was a lovely Spring day) to take a photograph of some of them.


Let's say straight away, they are not pretty sheep - not the sort that would feature in childrens' stories or be converted into a cuddly toy - that role is best left to the Suffolk or the Dorset breeds. They are large, rather ungainly sheep and as you see in the photograph, have quite a curly coat. By the time it comes to shearing them that coat will be long and lustrous. They all originate from one gentleman called Blue Cap because of his very dark blue head and, as an old breed, they went out of fashion and by 1970 were almost extinct.


Well, they have made a come-back and there are now plenty of them about. If you wish to read about them just Google Wensleydale sheep and you will find a wealth of information.


Our neighbours, as well as having a flock of Wensleydales, also run The Wensleydale Sheep Shop on their farm - they sell fleeces, beautifully dyed wool, knitted garments (knitted by local ladies)


and all manner of sheepy things. The wool is pearly and silky and knits up beautifully. The sheep come in two colours - pearly grey and black.


I hope you enjoy looking at them in my picture. They are inquisitive things and I had only been standing at the gate a couple of minutes before they came nosing towards me. At present some of them are lambing indoors, so maybe next week I can post lambs gambolling in the field, too.




21 comments:

Cathy said...

They have beautiful faces. Very serious looks.

Crafty Green Poet said...

now how do you get them to line up as they did in your second photo?

The Gorgie Farm animals are never usually that co-operative with me!

Sal said...

They are so gorgeous...lovely photos ;-)

Poet in Residence said...

It's amazing how many different kinds of sheep there are in the UK. The ones in Austria all look the same. They are the long-eared variety. And they wear bells.

Derrick said...

As sheep go, these aren't so unlovely Weaver! Looks as if they've had a gentle perm.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Juliet - they are born nosey and greedy so when I stood at the gate they thought there was a chance of food. That is why they came towards me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Poet - do people eat much lamb in Austria? If there is no sale for the meat then I suppose there is little incentive to introduce other breeds - also they have to be mountian sheep I presume.

Gramma Ann said...

They aren't to bad looking, a shampoo and they would freshen right up and be lovely. ;)

I'm doing a bit of catching up today, have had a nasty cold for over a week and hope it soon goes by the way side and scampers away.

Always something interesting to read here on your blog, Weaver. Who am I most like, I think my mother, I have many of her mannerisms and look like her. She raised me with my 5 other sisters and 2 brothers since I was 4 years old, my father died when I was 4. So everything I learned and did was from what my mother taught me.

Dave King said...

Lovely photographs. They seem used to being photographed!

Heather said...

They look very dignified and I can't wait to see the lambs. I wish I lived nearer the farm shop and could see the woollens and yarns. That curly fleece is most appealing.

jinksy said...

Talk of fleeces makes me yearn for a spinning wheel...until I remember what a hassle it is to get them washed! x

Raph G. Neckmann said...

The pearly coloured one with the lopsided fringe reminds me of photos of pop-groups - it has that kind of look on its face! Was it called the New Romantic look, when they had floppy fringes and baggy jackets?

Bdogs said...

One time when husband and I were in the Scottish highlands, we were stopped in a road by a flock of sheep that looked very much like these. They seemed very interested in us, so much so that I got a bit nervous and retreated as they moved forward to check us out.

I think they're quite lovely and would love to see the lambs.

Pat Posner said...

Playing 'catch-up' with your recent posts, Weaver. They're fantastic as usual!

Our farmer had a few Wensleydale Longwools a couple of years ago. I think they're lovely and have great personalities.

Strokes for Tess
xxPat

Coastcard said...

Lovely faces: fine wool!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Great pictures.. They are all posing for you!!
Seeing these sheep makes me miss my sheep keeping days.. we use to have Border Leicester... I still have bags of wool.. maybe I'll get back to spinning when I get my jewelry made.. Thanks for the reminder!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

The answer to your question, Juliet - is food. If sheep think there might be food coming they will come to meet you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

The answer to your question, Juliet - is food. If sheep think there might be food coming they will come to meet you.

Arija said...

A beautiful post. When we first started farming my daughter wanted a small Wensleydale stud because of the lovely lustrous wool they produce and to preserve the breed. We had to put it into the too hard basket because the nearest flock was in New Zealand and quarantine takes too long and is far too expensive unless you are made of money. I am so glad they are on the increase on their home turf.
We settled for Leicester long wools instead, although it is strong wool, it is beautiflly lustrous and the sheep are just sooo beautiful and intelligent.

Kyfarmlife said...

I think they are lovely! Its so good to get caught up again on your blog and I've told you before how I love learning about the sheep! Great post!

Teresa said...

What a beautiful view you have! Love your new blog header.

A also love all things sheep. I rather like the look of the Wensleydale... they have lots of character. Would love to see pics of the lambs.

BTW - When you get a chance, please pop in to my blog. There's a simple, easy blog award for you and your beautiful, informative blog.