21 July 2019

Sophisticated Product Testers

Back at the end of May I opened a little Etsy shop called The Sophisticated Sheep. In it I sell handmade halters for sheep and bought, hand dyed ones for larger animals. Making sheep halters is a hobby I picked up in March after being inspired by some of the many people on Instagram who make leads and collars for dogs. I started with rope and then moved on to leather. This is the first halter I made for sheep using leather. Fit wise it's a bit off but it was strong enough to work.

Millie likes going for wee walks.

The chain under her chin is a martingale for a dog collar.

The buckles are relatively expensive roller ones.

I learned a lot from this first attempt.

My second attempt was a few weeks later (after clipping) and this time it was Flora helping me out. Rather than use leather, this time I used a material called Beta BioThane®. A lot of people are using it as a vegan leather alternative but I was skeptical. I eventually bought a little collar made from it and once I had it in my hands I thought that it was brilliant. Soft, flexible, waterproof and wipe clean, I've found it's a great material to use for animals.

My first BioThane® headcollar style halter was copied from some webbing headcollars I had bought off of a shop on eBay. Their design was a bit flawed - especially noticeable with the wonky strap running under the jaw.

For my second BioThane® attempt I used the same measurements but I copied the design of one of Blue Belle's headcollars. This was a huge success as Liz demonstrates:

The headcollar wasn't phased by a play fight between Liz and Flora (or maybe Flora was just jealous that she wasn't modelling this one).

Heather came over to check the rope lead.

This headcollar has Heather's seal of approval.

A few product shots because why not?

Yet another advantage of Beta BioThane® is that it comes in a rainbow of colours. I made this lime green lamb sized headcollar based on another webbing headcollar that I bought on eBay. It is a little big for Juliet here but by now it probably fits her better. I had some BioThane® left over so I made a matching lead.

The green colour blends in around here!

Snack breaks are essential.

Some more product shots. The Sophisticated Sheep logo is the silhouette of my dear boy Nobby (wearing a bow tie, of course).

This new hobby of mine is a lot of fun! I love the chance to be creative and make something special for my animals.

Halters and headcollars in this post by The Sophisticated Sheep (use code GREENHILL10 for 10% off).

17 July 2019

The Castlewellan Show 2019

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Between talking to friends, holding Sue, and navigating a huge crowd, I didn't take many pictures at the show this year. I first got my camera out for the sheep, of course.

A few sheep on their way home after a tiring day.

As always the castle made for a lovely backdrop.

Sue and I watched some dog agility. She was very interested! She was wearing a homemade collar and lead which both held up really well to the amount of pulling this puppy did. There was just so much to see!

As for my pictures, I entered five this year and four came away with prizes. I also found out that I was the overall winner of the photography this year which was a huge surprise and made me very happy indeed!

9 July 2019

Clipping 2019

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At the end of May we got our sheep clipped. Last year I had some difficulty gathering in my pets for clipping - sheep aren't as stupid as many would lead you to believe, and they knew something was up. I did get them in eventually! But it lead me this year to come up with a different way of doing things. They day before clipping, I let the pets out of their field to wander around the yard. Clipping is done in the lambing shed so they didn't have far to travel to get clipped this time.

There was no stress or fuss - even jumpy Barnaby was relaxed.

Bridget isn't as nervous as Barnaby but she has her moments! She wasn't worried either.

In fact she was climbing on the flower beds!

Before I had quite so many pets, I often let them wander in the yard like this. It was quite nostalgic, really.

I left them so they could wander into the lambing shed at their leisure. Most of them were born in this building.

Rosie and her mini-me, Barnaby.

The following day it was pouring rain, but Pat and Barry arrived anyway, and Barry set to work clipping the pets.

Bob had been ready for clipping for weeks - he was very happy to be rid of his thick, dark fleece.

Over the following week, we got the rest of our sheep clipped. It was my job to keep the sheep coming.

My main helpers were Teddy and Fly. Teddy is an old hand at this job - he's been helping for seven years. This was Fly's first time helping and she did amazingly well. She's one of those dogs that can turn her paw to anything.

Clipping is always a job that's great to get done!