dimanche 29 septembre 2013

Strike One!

I didn't have the presence of mind to take a photo so this character will have to do:-)
For the first time since I have been keeping sheep one of the ewes has been struck by flies.  The weather has been warm and positively muggy with little wind. Ideal conditions for those irritating little flies who just love to hang around the sheep waiting for an opportunity to lay a few eggs. To be honest I count myself lucky that I haven't had a problem previously and even today it was little more than a slightly grazed patch on the surface although I suspect there is more damage under the skin itself. Knowing your sheep and being alert to any changes in their usual behaviour certainly helps and in this instance I knew something was amiss the ewe was trying to hide from herself as well as flicking her tail quite vigorously.  Catching her up wasn't too difficult as she was preoccupied with trying to get at the little wrigglers and a close inspection of the fleece soon revealed the source of her irritation.

When faced with flystrike first shave off a wide area of fleece around any areas that look affected to ensure that you have fully got to the bottom of all the affected areas on the sheep. This produced a number of wriggling maggots and a raw patch of skin about the size of a 2 euro piece. I treated topically with antiseptic and also gave a long acting injectable antibiotic to ensure no residual infection would add to any problems. I also treated with an injectable systemic  parasiticide. I don't have any topical products suitable for this type of use and the injection will ensure that any maggots that have retreated under the skin to avoid removal are well and truly dealt with.

Followed by a liberal application of a topical preperation to keep flies off. Hopefully not to return any time soon.!


Quel horreur! Les myiases............ avec ce temps humide la risque est forte élevée. Aujourd'hui j'ai trouvé une de mes brebis s'est cachée dans un coin. Elle avait l'air fortement perturbée  et c'était pas trop difficile à trouvé le problème. Avec quelques petits bestioles dans la laine, j'ai vite commencé  à tondre l'endroit pour que je puisse voir la taille du problème.  Heureusement elle n'était pas fortement affectée et j'ai réussi à retirer le plupart  des asticots. Elle avait une plaie que j'ai traité avec du bétadine puis elle avait un  injection contre les parasites externe qui tue les asticots, surtout ceux qui je n'ai pas réussi à trouver parce que ils se cachent dans la peau :-( 

D'habitude mes moutons sont pas affecté par  ce genre de problème mais c'est importante à rester vigilante quand même.

samedi 28 septembre 2013

Technically.......

From this..
From the day I first sheared one of my sheep I have been fascinated by their fleece and its properties.  To hear that most Ouessant  sheep fleeces are binned just seemed plain wrong and I set about the challenge of learning how to convert a fleece to a useable product. There are LOADS of uses!! One has been to learn how to spin and with that the various process that go into preparing a fleece, washing it, dyeing it and oh so much more.

I have only just begun to put my foot on the ladder but I set myself an exercise to produce a finished sample which would encompass many of the processes I want to learn and here it is.

To this!
OK, so its not sooo impressive, I mean it doesn't overwhelm me but trust me there are a lot of hours and blood, sweat and tears put into producing this little swatch.  Despite the Ouessant being traditionally a black sheep I started with a white fleece I wanted to work on the process of dyeing as well as spinning etc. What I have learnt is that there is much more for me to learn and I am looking forward to the next project.... I confess its already in progress.

lundi 23 septembre 2013

View of The Ewe's

Coooeeeee! ( click to enlarge)

dimanche 22 septembre 2013

Bon Dimanche

MiniMynx

jeudi 19 septembre 2013

Génial ..... le Géniole!

Fille d'Ouessant -  Géniole
This image is from"Les Français peints par eux-mêmes" LINK  Tome II 1876 - 1878 a delightful illustration from an artist whose life appears to be little documented. It would seem to  be one of very few pictures of womens dress in the mid to late 19th century from the island of Ouessant.   I was curious to know more. Wiki dates the image to around  1877,  however a search on the artist  Alfred André Géniole revealed that he died in  1861. Why would this artist whose works can be sold for significant sums be on the island of Ouessant and when!

It seems that there is no biography to be found on the artist and of the few references to his work he  travelled widely but I did find a reference to him being in the Guerande in 1839 and also  in Saint Pol for a commission. Génioles work, although not the image above did appear in  an earlier version of the book by Alfred de Courcy LINK   the original version was published in 1842 with some drawings by Géniole of Breton folk in  regional costume. By  1841 Géniole had moved again and was in Paris.

Is it possible that the costume depicted is actually much earlier than it has been attributed by some and that it is from the earlier part of the 19th century? 

Descriptions of the womens costume of around the same time are few and far between but one account would seem to tally largely with the illustration by Géniole.  J B Beaufils a resident medical practitionner writes in  1819 in the account of his time on the island that the womens dress was  quite peculiar, they wore a type of spencer ( a short bodice with sleeves ) made in toile or printed coton which covered a wide  fichu ( fabric worn under a bodice to cover the low neckline ) the costume was capped off by a large piece of toile or batiste starched and folded, which was worn to a length to  cover the ears and hair. They usually wore a  thick woollen skirt woven on the island from the blackish wool of their flocks of sheep. In summer they often went barefoot although in winter sabots ( breton clogs) were worn.

This type of costume with some variation is periodically documented through the islands history pre 20th century and is an integral part in  understanding the islanders relationship and dependance on their sheep. I will expand on this in another post. Génioles portrait  manages to capture a youthfulness and almost carefree spirit in a lifestyle that can have been anything but easy. An artists impression, most definately but one that can be shown to correspond to contemporary accounts of island custom.

"Fille d'Ouessant" dessin de Géniole qui date probablement de la première moitié du 19iéme siècle et qui montre le costume des femmes de l'île d'Ouessant à cet époque. Malgré le fait qu'il y a très  peu d'images de cet periode , le costume de la jeune fille correspond bien avec la description publié  en 1819 par  J B Beaufils*  médecin sur l'île. 

Il a décrit le costume des femmes, elles portent  "une sorte de spencer de toile ou d'indienne, que surmonte un large fichu de couleur.....leur figure qui en  général est jolie, se trouve encapuchonnée sous un grande morceau de toile ou de batiste empesée ou plié en plusieurs doubles qu'elles font descendre sur les  oreilles....Elles portent ordinairement de gros droguet noirâtre, fabriqué dans l'île avec la laine de ses troupeaux;"

 Beaufils, J. B., 1819,
Topographie physique et médicale de l'île d'Ouessant.  : Receuil de mémoires de médecine, de chirurgie et de pharmacie militaire Huzard, Paris.



mardi 17 septembre 2013

On My Bobbin #3

I wasn't expecting to like this yarn as much as I do. I wanted to use up some fleece that had been carded and left over from another project so I spun it up for some practice. My first time with carded fleece rather than combed. Its a white fleece but technically I guess you could call it a red based fleece and the mix of fibres and colours gives the final result quite a textured appearance in a soft apricot hue. By the time I took the photo I had managed to get a reasonable draw on the fibres although to start with I found the  carded fibres quite tricky hence the slubs in the yarn. I also much prefer the more woollen - less worsted look of the fibre and so have once again tried to produce a yarn  that is less defined and fluffier.

Encore une essaie,  mais cette fois ci avec  une toison cardée. J'aime le résultat  même si ce n'est pas parfait il y a du progrès. La laine est d'une brebis blanche mais avec un  aspect roux à la toison, qui don un fil plutôt abricot que blanc.

samedi 14 septembre 2013

Getting Crafty!

The Korrigans / Les Korrigans
Sometimes you have to take time out to have some fun. Finding a few basic things to do with prepped fibre that are so easy its kids play, wasn't difficult. The potential for all sorts of little fibre animals is limitless, here are  a few members of the korrigan family. Korrigans are a part of breton folklore and can be described as having long hair and flaming eyes - perfect! Of course nothing to stop you doing sheep or hedgehogs or whatever takes your fancy.

Il faut prendre du temps parfois à s'amuser. Il y a pas mal de choses qu'on peut faire avec la laine des moutons d'Ouessant qui sont pas compliqué, on dirait "jeux d'enfants" Les petites boules de laines qui ressemblent "les Korrigans"  dotés d'une magnifique chevelure et d'yeux rouges lumineux. Mais il y a rien qui vous empêche à faire petits moutons ou hérissons.....

 Zesty the Caterpillar

Very simple wet felted balls of wool pre-dyed and then I needle felted the head. It was my first attempt at needle felting  and there is definately room for improvement but its not overly technical .

Très simple,  une chenille en feutrage mouillé avec  des boules de laine déjà teints et la tête   fait en feutrage à l'aiguille
Pompom
Simple to do and if done multi-coloured or tonal  they can be quite striking. 
 Pompons de laine en couleurs variées pour un effet plus frappant

Needle felted cushion / Coussin  feutré  à l'aiguille

La pièce de resistance - Juliette aged 12 was kind enough to send me a sample of her work done in Ouessant wool. I Love it!! What ever your age or skill level theres no excuse for not having fun with Ouessant wool. 

La pièce de resistance  - Juliette 12 ans m'a envoyé un coussin qu'elle à fait en feutrage à l'aiguille avec la laine de moutons d'Ouessant.  Superbe! Je l'adore! N'importe votre âge ni votre niveau de compétence  il y a aucune raison qu'on peut pas s'amuser avec la laine de nos Ouessants.


vendredi 13 septembre 2013

Trop Mignon

 I was able to use a selection of rams for sires last year.  This has resulted in a variety  of fleece types, horn shapes and other selection criteria.  After a couple of years with a high number of females it is nice to get a good number of ram lambs to follow and whilst its certain that not all will make the grade as future flock sires it gives me plenty to think about.

Les jeunes béliers de l'année sont trop mignon. La sélection pour l'avenir sera difficile mais, il est sûr qu'il y en a quelques un qui seront pas choisi pour la reproduction.   Je suivrai  leur croissance pendant l'année  et on verra  plus après la tonte en 2014.

mercredi 11 septembre 2013

A Bit of a Card!


Having first experimented with wool combs  I have moved on to carders. As a complete beginner spinning has come more easily with combed fibres which are practically already drafted and can be spun with little effort.  I am still working out the kinks in prepping the fibre by carding and how this relates to spinning but I'm getting there. Traditionally Ouessant wool was carded not combed, I am looking forward to seeing how I can play with this technique and the fibres to produce something creative and up to date as well as appreciating the qualities needed in the fleece from an historical point of view. The learning curve steepens.

Maintenant le cardage encore une nouvelle technique mais plus traditionnelle. La laine de moutons d'Ouessant était cardée avant d'être filée et tissée. Espérant qu'un jour j'arrive à comprendre mieux le lien entre la race aujourd'hui et l'histoire du production de la laine et la valeur de ces petits moutons  autrefois. 


dimanche 8 septembre 2013

On My Bobbin #2

A new bobbin and  a new technique for spinning ( don't worry its meant to look hairy). It does bring with it, its own technical difficulties for me to master..... in time. I am using the previously dyed and blended wool to run through a few techniques,  plus I want to know how the yarn spins up in terms of colour, how it knits up and also try out another couple of things along the way. Its all practice practice practice.


Une nouvelle bobine et une nouvelle technique de filage ( oui c'est poilu!) avec quelques difficultés pour moi à surmonter. Je voulais savoir  également comment la laine, déjà teints est transformée en fil puis plus tard quand c'est tricotée, le résultat final. Il me reste plein de choses à apprendre.

vendredi 6 septembre 2013

From Little Acorns Grow

The young rams of this year are now firmly integrated into the group of adults.  I am enjoying immensely their differences and  variations.  A number of them are also quite photogenic, what a pleasure to be able to document them  in all their detail.  The horn shapes and growths this year are also of interest and I will put together a post documenting their changes over the coming months. For now there are a couple of months of rest and recuperation from all the changes within the groups before it will be time to start to consider lambs for next year. Now is a time for reflection on the thoughts and ideas of the last 12 months and the reality of those decisions which will affect my choices for next year.

Les jeunes béliers de l'année sont maintenant regroupés avec les adultes mâles. La douceur et la force, je trouve que les deux sont beaux. Il sera un vrai plaisir à découvrir en chacun leur façon de l'exprimer. Les cornes et leur développement est également à suivre avec intérêt. Les décisions de l'année dernière sont maintenant la réalité. Il est le bon moment pour réflection.

mercredi 4 septembre 2013

Suited and Booted

Ushant - Complete with cravat! / Avec cravate!

dimanche 1 septembre 2013

Say What?

              " Have you seen Myrtles new haircut?"                           "mmmmnnn"


The Ouessant Sheep originates from the island of Ouessant, part of a tiny archipelago just off the north coast of Finistere, Brittany. The island of terror as it was known to some, was swept by the full force of the atlantic’s weather, the hardy sheep adapted to survive on poor grazing from salty clifftop meadows. It was the women of the island that raised the sheep, renowned for their black wool to weave into cloth known locally as berlinge and their meat with its sweet and delicate taste.

La race "Mouton d'Ouessant" est originaire de l’île d’’Ouessant qui fait parti d’un petit archipel au large du Finistère, Bretagne. L’île de l'épouvante comme c'était connu par certains était balayé par les intempéries de l’atlantique, ces moutons rustiques s'adaptaient à survivre sur les pâturages pauvres des falaises salées. C’était les femmes de l’île qui élevaient les moutons réputés pour leur laine noire à tisser « la berlinge » une étoffe régionale et leur viande avec un goût doux et délicat.

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