November 4, 2014


Berkshire sow and piglets. Photo from M. Dobson of Wind n' Woolly Acres
The bud stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

© 1980 by Galway Kinnell  1927-2014
Online Source:
What a lovely poem. I had to share this. I do not have pigs, but the poem would be fitting for any mother, including a ewe. Thank you Mary, for the photo of your lovely sow!  ~Val

My Outaouais Arcott ewe Brownie with just born quadruplets.

October 5, 2014

Weaving life, wool and Walt Whitman

"Leaf Island" by V. Fiddler - a study in diagonal techniques.
by Walt Whitman
Weave in, weave in, my hardy life,
Weave yet a soldier strong and full for great campaigns to come,
Weave in red blood, weave sinews in like ropes,
      the senses, sight weave in,
Weave lasting sure, weave day and night the weft, the warp,
      incessant weave, tire not,
(We know not what the use O life, nor know the aim, the end,
      nor really aught we know,
But know the work, the need goes on and shall go on, the death-
      envelop’d march of peace as well as war goes on,)
For great campaigns of peace the same the wiry threads to weave,
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.

September 30, 2014

Young Lincoln ram Hamish (center) cuddled up with other rams for an afternoon siesta.

September 24, 2014

Canadian Chocolate Welsh Mountain Sheep

 We're deep into Autumn and it's almost breeding season.. The cool fall air resounds with the shotgun crack of horns smashing. The Welsh Mountain rams are docile most of the year. But as the weather cools their natural instincts take over and they are constantly facing off for a fight, sometimes in pairs, or groups. Some of the older boys drift off and find a quiet place to keep out of the fights.

Coming in for the evening.

Top photo: This photo was taken seconds before they started to butt heads. I find that my presence makes it worse, so I retreat and leave them to their rutting.
Bottom photo: A few moments later and the fight is forgotten.  They have a good instinct for safety and come in on their own, knowing that the coyotes will be starting their evening hunt as the sun sets.

Newland Charlie Brown
A note about Charlie Brown: Over the last decade in North America, brown lambs have been born to purebred registered Black Welsh Mountain sheep. Up until 2014, they could not be registered. As the trend continues, and their lineage is being recorded, the American Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Association has established the new breed "Chocolate Welsh Mountain". Charlie Brown is one of nine born between 2000 and 2014. The nine Chocolate Welsh  have been born on three U.S. farms and one farm in Canada - Newland Ranch in Saskatchewan. So far, there are no brown offspring from Charlie. His lambs from registered Black Welsh ewes are black.