Wednesday, March 3, 2010

sheep and alpaca weekend

Dennis and I had another great outing last weekend. Saturday we started off with a day of shopping. Then later in the afternoon we went to Greeley to see a American Blackbelly ram. Dennis has been wanting to raise these kind of sheep for sometime now. They are a "hair sheep" meaning that they do not have to be sheared, they shed their hair, naturally like a dog would do, but it comes off more in clumps. They also don't have the lanolin the wool sheep breeds have to taint the meat. Some meat breeds of sheep come with wool that needs to be sheared. The hair sheep Barbados and Blackbelly, are smaller sheep, much to my surprise, and will be easier to handle, with our employee base of 2 (Dennis and I). Wool sheep meat breeds have to be harvested when they are younger, before the meat gets the off flavor of mutton. Hair sheep you can harvest later. But anyway here is a picture of the handsome ram that we saw this past weekend. It is an American Blackbelly.
The rams with really nice racks(or horns) can be purchased by big game hunting reserves. We are interested in raising our own meat source for health reasons. We recently saw the movie "Food, Inc" it is a real eye opener, if you really want to see where your food comes from, this is the movie to see. But some of it is not for the weak of heart. I always like to be an informed, aware consumer. So rent this documentary film and watch it. As they say, you are what you eat. We are not yet set up for our sheep, but hopefully within the next 6 months.

We took a trip to Longmont/Boulder area on Sunday and took in the alpaca extravaganza that is held there every year. There were spinners, weavers, and other vendors there showing their wares. I got tons of good ideas for future projects, and I need to get busy.
We took a picture when we first entered the building, but it is a tad dark. These are pictures of vicunas. They are related to alpaca but are a wild cousin, with very fine fleece, from South America also. They are commanding $30,000 and up here in the US now, as there are not very many. But I will stick to alpaca, as they fulfil all my needs now.

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