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Meet Our Sheep: Lavender

Updated: Mar 20

Lavender is the consummate princess, and she knows it. She decides when she gets attention and how much, and her Opinion Is All. The first picture her breeder sent to me made me think of an Elizabethan ruff, worn proudly everywhere.

We brought Lavender home one year after getting Cambridge. We had lost Sophie, Pocket and Madame's lamb, to herbicide runoff from a neighbor. Madame was obviously depressed, and Pocket and Cambridge were a little hard on Madame. We knew we needed a ewe to keep Madame company. So off I went to Oregon Flock & Fiber again in search of a Shetland ewe.

When I got home in the late afternoon at the end of the weekend with Lavender, we put her in the electric net fencing we had previously used to quarantine Cambridge. As we stood there, cooing over Her Adorableness, she stuck her head straight through the fence. She had enough wool that she probably didn't feel the electricity right away, but the wool caught in the fence, so she struggled to pull her head out, which caused the fencing to pull in and collapse the square around her neck.

Amid frantic shouts of "Turn it off! Turn it off!" and pulling the gate apart to get to her, we unhooked the battery, got her untangled, and eventually threw caution to the wind and took the fence down. This was the only time we did not quarantine a new sheep.

After some initial curiosity, she settled in well. Madame was certainly happier, and the boys did their own thing. However, Lavender started to get lonely. She decided that being rescued from fencing was a great way to get attention. She learned how to squirm her head and legs into the perimeter fencing (which was not electrified), then baa loudly, so one of us had to go untangle her.

The daily rescues lasted for a week or so. One day, when Allan was working from home, he heard her desperate cries for help and walked out on the porch. Lavender weakly flailed one leg that was through the fence and turned her head coyly to look at him from the other side of the fence.

"No!" Allan said. "You got there on your own. You will have to untangle yourself."

Lavender deflated, disappointed. She then drew her head and leg out of the fence squares, turned around, and returned to nibbling grass.

Since then, she has remained one of our loudest sheep (except for a brief time when we were fostering some rescued sheep who then found new homes). At shows, she can often be heard bleating the song of her people in harmony with Fezziwig. At home, she will often pick fights and finish them.

However, her fleece is glorious. She is the only one of our six sheep who actually stays fairly clean, and her locks shine with an incredible silver luster. When washed, her fleece can be spun "from the cloud," meaning that it doesn't need to be brushed or combed in order to align it and stays in a sort of lock formation. She also out-produces our other sheep. Her spring fleece and fall fleece have very little difference, and despite being half their size, her fall fleece is often the same size as the fall fleeces from Pocket and Madame.

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