Daphnie

So I bought Daphnie as a horned Shetland ewe in late June 2003, three weeks before our wedding.  She had at one year of age already had a black horned ewe lamb 2 months prior and I was hoping for more.  She had been named after a friend of her owner who lived in New Zealand so that explained the unusual spelling of her name.  I bred her to Lewis and the next spring she had two lambs, Kindy and Spike (above).  

Kindy we sold as a unhorned ewe lamb but Spike we kept as a wether.  He became one of my all time favorite sheep and the subject of the epic “The Story of Spike“.   Here he is as a 1 month old lamb.

And here he is less than one month before his tragic death from bloat in 2011.  He is checking out his award winning swatch that Denise Mor created.

Now Daphnie also made nice fleeces but in a musket (light brown) color.  Here is her wool I sheared on my 40th birthday in 2005.

Shortly after that Daphnie produced twin lambs for us, Samson and Delilah. Here is Samson,

and this is Delilah 2 months later.

These lambs were sold and that fall I bred her to Lewis for a third time.  I had forgotten this but I then sold her bred to a man in Maple Falls, partially in exchange for a black Cashmere wethered goat (who turned out to be evil).  Here is a photo of me taking her to her new home.

She ended up not lambing so I bought her back the next spring and rebred her to Lewis that fall.  Here she is that winter with a thick wool coat.

In April of 2007 she had Darwin.

Darwin was sold to a neighbor and she was bred yet again to Lewis to have Dinah and Dixie in April of 2009.

At 2 months of age here are Dinah

and Dixie.

These ewe lambs were sold to a friend.  In 2011 she busted into the chicken pen with the other sheep and got badly bloated.  This was the episode when her son Spike died but she pulled through with a lot of medicinal help.  She was bred again that fall but never lambed.  She then went into a well deserved retirement.  She was sheared each spring though and her fleeces sold or went into making roving or yarn.  Some of this yarn I had recently dyed and am knitting with it.

Daphnie had never been one of my favorite sheep although she made lovely lambs (no horned ewes though).  She was skittish and did not seem to have much personality.  In that last few years she was getting slow, arthritic and somewhat slim.  We last sheared her in 2015, and I had been feeding her extra grain, wetted alfalfa cubes and then bread.  I would have to wait for her to come into the barn.  She hated mud so she had to slowly pick her way to the barn, and I had to wait.  I started appreciating her quirky ways watch her weave her way carefully to the barn and her nibbling bits of bread from my hand.  Then I found her a couple of times in the pasture where she had fallen and could not get up on uneven ground.  So I put her in a pen and then gradually built the outdoor run so she could have access outside.  She did not like being in the pen and kept trying to bust out, sometimes succeeding.  But I think she liked the special attention she was getting.  Some days she liked the grain best, some days the wet alfalfa cubes, some days the bread from my hand and some days the bits of bread I would put in her pan and she would choose exactly the right one.  Some breads she did not like (french rolls and sourdough) and others she loved (Hawaiian sweet rolls).  I really came to love her spending time watching her slowly eat.  Recently she busted out again, and I saw her scratching her back on the rabbit hutch.  I had forgotten how she liked to do that so actually just last week built her a scratching post in her pen.  Here she is scratching her back on it.

I had noticed a large abdominal mass on her last month, and I knew she did not have much longer.  She started falling and not being able to get up in her pen so we moved out her wild sheep mates.  But yesterday morning Tom found her having seizures, and she had to be put down.  I miss her and our morning routines already.  I hope she knew that I cared about her and was trying to make her life comfortable.  If there’s a sheep heaven, I hope there is bread there.

Here she is in healthier times.

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