Change is good…..

Right? I am NOT good with change. Maybe that is why the sheep and I get along so well? They hate change…

Thanks to our friends Ashley  and Dayna  , we will be launching our new website in the next few weeks. Saweet! Keep an eye out for more updates, we’ll keep you posted. The sheep are having fun doing some writing and adding new photos. We are also working hard to make sure the site’s shop is full of fun things to shop, updated sheep biographies and much more. I can’t wait for you to see it! Ashley did the hard work setting it up (and putting up with ME) and I have finally gotten the hang of a new program.

We’ve been lucky to have the same web host, Beyond the Sidewalks , for our entire business career. Thank you for so many good years Sandy V.  We will miss you but wish you well in your new adventures!

Here is a change that has been fun to try out! We recently got the chance to try out a new wool wash called Power Scour!

The photo shows Moon Pie’s Wensleydale locks. Left: unwashed, right, washed and sparkly clean!

I really like how easily it washes a fleece, but with a very little bit of the product (PS). I also found I needed fewer rinses to get the fleece clean. The other bonus, for me, is the PS is amazing to use when washing Camelid fiber.

My llamas and alpaca are such naughties! They do everything they can to stay dusty and beyond dusty. I used lukewarm water and a little bit of PS and wowser! It cleaned the fiber right up. I only had to soak the fiber once in clear water, 1 soak in the PS and another clear water soak (maybe 2) and wa-la- clean, not dusty fiber! Ready to pop into a dye pot or dry/spin. Saves SO much time! And water since the fiber needs less rinsing. Tried it out on Suri & Huacaya alpaca and llama fiber. Awesome results each time.

SO, if you are up for a change in your wool washing supplies, I do recommend Power Scour!

I also hope you will visit the new website, we’ll be sending round an announcement when we have it ‘live.’ In the mean time, you can still shop the current site:

OR email the sheep if you are looking for something specific ok? Shearing is all done for the year so we are VERY well stocked with beauteous wool!

Hope all is well with you all and that you are enjoying some good weather-

Me and the Sheeps
Homestead Wool & Gift Farm


Sandy on the farm…

And today THIS happened.
Cassper is cute but what an ass. First thing this morning he was over with the big group of sheep. They are not fond of him and Cassper is not always fond of me. (Not sure what that is about?)  SO, caught the bad ass and put him back where he belongs. He actually behaved quite well for me- only nipped me. Nothing major but he still got a talking to about his manners. Smart ass. (Sorry, the jokes are too funny- every time I say or hear them.)

I took my morning walk with the sheep and opened the gate to the pasture. Wait WHAT?? Surely I didn’t just see Cosmo go by? Nah. Couldn’t be. He is in the group of sheep getting grain to gain some weight.
Next on the agenda is to feed the grain group. About 11 sheep. I think Cassper had the last hee haw. He opened the skinny sheep group’s gate. Seven sheep there that waited for breakfast before making an escape attempt. Phew! AND Bram came back in. He couldn’t make up his mind but breakfast grain eventually won. That leaves me with 3 sheep to catch. They are tame though and will be waiting for breakfast tomorrow.

I also have another job tomorrow. Called move a big, stubborn, strong sheep named Jerome OUT of the grain group. He thinks I don’t see him in the barn with sheep all smaller than him? Couldn’t get him out of there today. Too strong and I had had it by then.
That wasn’t all, the sheep were not done with me. A certain sheep who will NOT remain nameless hit me like a football linebacker. Annie. Annie Annie Annie.

I neglected to keep all 10 sheep in my field of vision, and in front of me. Carrying a bucket of grain. Really Sandy. How many years? The grain was already in the feeders and I had just given up on moving Jerome. Didn’t see Annie coming. She got me- kept pushing and then it was sheepie pony ride? For Pete’s sake.

Finished chores and been ticked off ever since. I hope Jim takes care of his broken foot so it heals quickly. Too many more days like this and I will be flying, cackling like a witch, all around our little valley. On my broom. :0)

Hope your weekends are quieter than today was here! And that you have some fun plans!

(and of course, the sheepie innocents said to send smooches- Cassper was too grumpy)


Christmas In July Sale!

WHAHHAAT????  The sheep have never ever EVER had a sale in all their years in business. Snowy sheep is not sure what got into everyone but this will be fun! What could be better than a red hot Christmas in July sale??? It definitely is red hot in WI- 100 degrees factoring in humidity. Ouch! The sheep needed a diversion- tee hee!

SO, here’s how it works out! There are sale prices across the board on almost every item. The shopping cart will reflect the sale price when you place your order and check out. The sheep’s sale will run from July 15 through July 31, 2016. There will be sneaky additions to the site through out that time so be sure you keep an eye on the sheep! 

2ply716gilbert1     2ply516baaxtrinkets
HANDSPUN YARN click here!

batts316morgahcqb1    batts616baaxter3
Crazy Quilt BATTS click here! 

rw716hampxbrown    rw516awassee
A variety of unwashed wool- click here!

wshd716mulesheep    wshd616pixel
Washed wool click here!

rw716maryllama1   rw716brownhuacjh1
Llama & Alpaca fiber click here!

This is Gilbert and he wanted to be sure you know there is a lot more to offer on the sheep’s website.  FREE SHIPPING on hand knit items and collectibles ! Gilbert also said he is sure the cool sale will settle the hot July weather for you. Shop ahead for fall! If you have any questions please let us know- we look forward to seeing you at the website!!

Happy Summer!
Jim & Sandy Ryan- and the sheep
….where sheep may safely graze.


The sheep thought it would be fun to introduce themselves. They decided I should write about one sheep at a time. The each have such fun stories and we have a wide variety of sheep in our flock family.
Our first featured sheep is Apollo.
We brought him home from our friends Graham & Margaret Phillipson’s farm. We were there helping out while their sheep were being sheared. There was a sweet little bottle lamb running around and when they asked if i would like to take him home- of COURSE I said yes. Of COURSE! He was a little peanut and we were not sure he would make it. Now he is 8 years old! Go Apollo!
apollo912Apollo is a North Country Cheviot Sheep. Graham & Margaret own Littledale farm in Richland Center, Wisconsin. You can read specifics about Apollo’s North Country Cheviot sheep family on Littledale’s  websiteThat way I won’t get anything turned around and I can just chat about our own Apollo sheep! (You are also welcome to contact Graham & Margaret – they love to chat about their sheep!)
(A gorgeous member of Apollo’s Littledale family!)
Apollo is a very good boy and easy to work with. He will wear a sheep coat if I ask but he does take any opportunity to find a nail- which puts nice little rips and tears in the fabric. Argh! We haven’t used coats the past few years as our sheep have gotten older. They have a bit of trouble getting tangled up in them. Nobody gets to get hurt here right?! (Including me when I have to untangle a frightened, old, easily stressed old sheep!)wshd216nccheviotNC Cheviot wool ranges in texture from soft to soft/medium. It is  a little ‘springy’, which makes it a great sock knitting yarn. Locks average 3 to 4 inches long and Apollo usually keeps his fleece clean. (Not as clean as he does wearing a coat but…)
wd316brionccThe wool soaks up dye like a sponge and is also easy to felt.
rov611ncclambsuriIt is also a beautiful, easily cardable fiber and Apollo’s roving is easy to spin. He asked Shari of Morro Fleece Works to blend his wool with alpaca so there would be a little drape in the yarn spun from this roving. Ooh la la!
Apollo (far right) is an easy going fellow who has lots of friends. However, his best friend is Devlyn (front center), our Scottish Black Face sheep. They are happy to have a pat on the head, MAYBE a hug, are very regal, handsome sheep. Just watch out if you are the one carrying a box of Vanilla Wafers or Fruit Loops though! All sheep manners go out the window. You have to be sly, those stinkers will run you down like a linebacker if you aren’t! (Ask me how I know?!) ha!

We hope all of you are having a great start to summer! If you have any questions about any of our sheep or their wool, please send us an email at the farm:

It’s rainy right now so our soggy bottom sheep send smooches instead of hugs!

Jim & Sandy Ryan
…where sheep may safely graze.




A day at the boutique!

Oh please tell me you didn’t think it was ME going to the boutique? bwaahahahahaha! Every year Jim and I shear our Puzzle sheep ourselves. He has a huge hole in his heart and has to stand up for his haircut. If we set him on his hinder like the other sheep for their haircuts, he can’t breathe. Not good. Not good at all! SO, Saturday we got to work.
Milo (left) and Fletcher (right) were the set up crew.
The llamas were the supervisory committee to make sure the set up was properly carried out.
Puzzle said this is a big ‘no go.’ Not again?
Oooh la la!!
Half way there…
My guardian stayed with us the entire time. This was the first time he had seen a sheep sheared. He was a little worried. (Fletcher)
Thanks to a brand new pair of scissors, a lot of giggling by me and Jim- two hours later wa-la- all done!
The aftermath- Milo was not interested in clean up detail.
All of our sheep are special but Puzzle is a little extra special. He was not supposed to live past a few months after he was born. He just turned 3 YEARS OLD! You’ve beat the odds you sweet sheep!
Every day we get to spend with you is a blessing my little peanut. (And I am glad you don’t mind standing sort of still for a rather iffy haircut too.) You are my hero sheep Puzzle!

Hope all is well with you all! A huge update is on the way tomorrow so be sure to check the sheep’s website out ok?

Jim & Sandy Ryan & the Sheeps
…where sheep may safely graze.

Shearing Day….

Joy to the wooled!!!!
This year we had the nicest weather on shearing day we’ve had for years. It was nice and WARM! Generally it is a cold, windy day. Hooray!
This is our new guy- Ryan the Wonder Shearer! Our shearer of 15 years is retiring. Ryan worked with David at times over the years. We are so lucky to be on Ryan’s shearing route now! He was very kind to our sheep, patient and did a great job. Thank you Ryan! (This is Patch having his haircut.)
Miss Lily the Shetland sheep was not enthused. We locked the sheep in the barn the night before shearing. Tricked all of them in with grain except the Dirty Dozen. We spent over an hour just chasing those 12 sheep into the barn. They finally got tired thank goodness- we did too! Lily was not one of the Dirty Dozen but she is representing for the disgust of the other sheep. FOOLED! Curses! Foiled again!

Our day started out early. Thanks to all the help from our friends Mary, Heidi and Jon the day went quickly and a good day’s work was done. The sheep were busy trying to find their friends again. Everyone looks different with their haircuts so it takes a few hours for everyone to settle down. Then it was time to have a snack before bed time.
This is Mario, showing us his ‘good side’ to be sure we knew he was not getting tricked again. Not sure if he was trying to crawl into the bale to hide til his fleece started growing again? The old I can’t see you so you can’t see me?
We always have the most beautiful shearing day sunsets. We were so tired the fleeces didn’t make it inside until the next day. Mission accomplished though- thanks to my wonderful hubby Jim.
Since last week I have some headway in my poor fiber palace. The fleeces have the sheep’s name inside the bag; then the fleece/bag is rolled up and taped up with the sheep’s name on the outside of the bag too. I have a special room full of shelves just for the fleeces. I like to keep them arranged by breed so I can just go get them when I am ready. Takes too much time to search through them otherwise!
Now I will keep working away, sponsor fleeces will be set aside to work through and there will be a LOT of wool hitting the website.

There are so many things I love about shearing day. Each sheep’s fleece is like opening a present. Colors change over the course of the year on almost every sheep. The smell of a sheep and their wool is amazing to me. Almost like the smell of a horse’s soft nose. Having such a nice fiber palace (aka basement) is a gift. When I am sorting through fleeces it feels like I have my sheep friends inside with me. We all know what a disaster that can be so fleeces for me right now! ha!
One more sunset including happy, comfy sheep. I am so blessed to have all that I have here. Thank you hubby Jim for putting up with me!

Keep an eye out for all the new wool on the sheep’s website. For now be sure to visit the ‘batt page.’ It is loaded up with Mary’s Crazy Quilt batts that would be fabulous in your next project!

Smooches from the sheep and hope all is well sheep peeps!

Jim & Sandy Ryan
…where sheep may safely graze.

A Friend Indeed!

If you follow the sheep and their cuteness, you also know how hard it is for me to keep them focused on work. They really only have three ‘jobs.’ Be cute, grow pretty wool and be healthy. Once in a while though, it IS nice to have some help. The sheep are very creative and love to card batts. They bicker and fuss waiting their turns and the girls throw sparkle around and it gets into the boy’s creations-which the boys do NOT appreciate. Then there is bedlamb in the fiber palace. Sigh.
Now that it is feeling like Spring, Arthur is showing you just how he looks at me- work? Yeah right.

Now the sheep have more help! My friend Mary is spending time with me in the fiber palace once a week. Keeping the sheep under control, monitoring turns AND carding up gorgeous beauteous batts!
Mary and I have been friends for a very long time now. You’ve probably seen her llama, alpaca, Angora rabbit AND Angora goat fiber available on our website.
I have always wanted to have a very big offering of batts available for sale- and Mary is making it happen.
Mini-Crazy Quilt Batts!
Ooh la la!! SO, welcome to the fiber palace Mary! I am so happy to be spending time with you AND keeping up with my fiber projects. You are a peach!

Be sure to check out  the batts – the sheep and I have created some new handspun yarn styles so keep an eye out for that too ok?

Shearing day is April 14 this year. More info to follow so stay tuned! Hope you are all well and enjoying the almost spring time weather!

Jim & Sandy Ryan
where sheep may safely graze.