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|She was an old ewe, the only one of her type in a handspinners flock being offered for sale. There was something very different about her, she seemed out of place. It could have been her strange light colored eyes, or her long coarse shaggy coat, but maybe it was the way she protected, almost hid, her lamb from us strangers. She was probably a "Karakul" we were told, whatever that was. Beulah was indeed a Karakul and she even became registered with the American Karakul Sheep Registry. She gave us 14 lambs in the eight years that she lived with us and was put to sleep by our veterinarian when she was 16 years old. This old gal led me down a delightful shepherd's path. She was truly the matriarch and foundation of our flock, and my inspiration.|
Karakul ewes enjoying pasture
on a beautiful autumn day
|Because of Beulah, our young family became involved in 4-H. Our two children showed these strange colored breeding stock and oddly shaped market lambs, while I became the wool superintendent. Then along came the original Fiberfest, founded by Sue and Don Drummond in Hastings, Michigan. I was the sheep superintendent for over 10 years and served on the Board of Directors. During this time, we were able to hire some of the best sheep judges in the country, and introduced the original 'Classic Sheep Show' for those old unimproved rarer breeds of sheep. We all learned from the likes of Glen Eidman (3 times in fact), Gary Ricketts of Illinois, Jim Sachse of New Mexico, Bruce Clements of New Hampshire, and Lyle McNeal of Utah.|
The first time we took our Karakuls to The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, in May of 1991, they were an oddity. While a few Karakuls had been on display in the Rare Breeds barn, ours were the first to be shown in the sheep show. Since then the numbers of Karakul entries have increased, in fact we have had our own separate breed show since 1997. In 2000 there were 85 Karakuls entered, the largest of the 18 separate breed shows at the festival. Karakuls are a hit wherever they're exhibited.
|Pine Lane Farm
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