Stillmeadow Cottage has 1st place ewe lamb and best fleeced BFL at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

From Joan Chapin, Milton, NH
I sent my two ewe lambs to Maryland this year w/ my son and daughter-in-law as they were going down from New Hampshire with two Romney groups (black and white). This was the first time that I had lambs early enough and good enough (I thought) to show there.

One ewe lamb was out of a natural colored ewe I’d purchased at Rhinebeck in 2012 from Margaret Van Camp (Pitchfork breeding), the other was out of an older natural colored ewe of my own (generations of Ward). Both ewe lambs were white, and sired by my ram from Robina Koenig (in 2011, Carry House & Koenig).
I’m sending you the only picture I have of the Koenig/Pitchfork ewe lamb who was first in her class and was awarded Best Fleece in the Bluefaced show. My other ewe lamb was second in the class.
first place Maryland (1)
Can you believe that I was home in NH while my sheep were doing so well in Maryland?

Have to thank the team of Dr. Wes and Ms. Hilary Chapin for presenting these lambs at their best – and the breeders whose sheep gave me a great match in genetics. What a thrill! And, if you’ll notice, my granddaughter, Ellora, was assisting in the photo shoot. Ellie now has three of her very own Bluefaced Leicesters.

National Show Award Sponsors Sought

The National Show committee is looking for sponsorship of the awards for the sheep show.
If you would be interested in sponsoring an award, a list of awards to select from along with the cost of the sponsorship can be provided.
The committee is also looking for donations to help offset the cost of the show, displays, judging fees, and demonstrations. If you’d like to help out, please contact Robina Koenig at

2014 BFL National Show update!

Hello, Fellow BFL breeders!

Please take note of the following information about the 2014 BFL National Show to be held at the 2014 Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan, Michigan.

Dates: August  15-17, 2014 (sheep must be penned by 6pm Friday; Show is on Saturday; release is Sunday, 5pm)

Venue and location: Michigan Fiber Festival, Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan, Michigan. Website:

Host Hotel : Fairfield Inn Kalamazoo West (special rate of $99 per night if we meet minimum of 10 rooms reserved) 269-353-6400; indicate you are reserving with the Bluefaced Leicester Union group

There will be a dinner for all exhibitors and friends on Saturday. More information to follow.

Anyone interested in sponsoring an award for the show should contact Robina Koenig   Home Phone: 541-350-9205

If you are flying in, the closest airport of size is Grand Rapids – Gerald Ford International.  Rental cars available as well.

If you are planning to attend, with or without sheep, please let me know – it will help tremendously with our planning of this event.

More information regarding all aspects of the show will be forthcoming as the date draws nearer; please mark your calendars TODAY, however. We hope to see many of you there!


Questions? Email or call Margaret Van Camp, chair of show committee: 810-655-4191,

2013 Black Sheep Gathering Report


From left to right, Judge Pat Ariaz (CA), Robina Koenig with the ram (Tumble Creek Farm, OR), Joanie Livermore with a ewe (Double J, OR [Wensleydales and English Leicesters], Sherry Carlson with a ewe (Carlson Farm, CA [Wensleydales]). Photo by Kelly Wilder (CA). This young flock took first place in lot and was among the final three young flocks in the show competing for the Black Sheep Cup.

Report from Robina Koenig

Black Sheep Gathering 2013 was judged by Pat Ariaz, CA, and attended by five farms with three others represented. The missing regulars, Jared Lloyd (CO), Judy Colvin (MT), Jeff and Patricia Seldomridge (WA) and Sue Gustafson (CA) were very much missed. This show is the highlight for me to visit with all my ‘sheep’ friends. It was good to see all of you!

The weather was rainy as we set up on Thursday and again as we packed up on Sunday afternoon, but Friday and Saturday were beautiful. The traditional potluck was warm and sunny with great lamb served and good company to visit with. The potluck follows the grand finale with Best Sheep of Show selected from the Champion Ram and Ewe of each lot and presented with the Glen Eidman Memorial Trophy, followed by the Best Young Flock of Show and receiving the Black Sheep Cup donated by the Black Sheep Newsletter. The Bluefaced Leicester was well represented in both.

BLU had a breed display booth set up and shared with folks the joys of BFL ownership and their wonderful fiber. I had coloring pages available that Kris Barndt designed, the BLU Scorecard and Breed Standard brochures were available, plus the locker hooked logo done by Margaret vanCamp was hanging for all to see. Old and new friends from across the country [Patricia Keeley-Seldomridge (WA)] and Canada stopped by (a wonderful surprise to see James and Lori Nibourg and a big ‘Thank You’ for the help showing), plus a gentleman from Yorkshire who had been to my family’s hometown of Richmond and had seen beautiful Blues on the dales.

I am looking forward to BSG next year and don’t forget to put August 2014 on your calendars for the next National Show in Michigan.

Results of the FIRST EVER BFL show at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

After YEARS of working toward the goal of having BFL classes at MS&W festival rather than showing in the white longwool classes, this year, the goal was realized!   There were 26 white, and 13 natural colored BFLs shown at the festival.  The natural colors showed in the longwool classes, and won both champion ram and champion ewe.  Here are the results of the white BFL classes.

Yearling Ram

1st – Sarah Vezzetti

2nd – Hannah Vezzetti

3rd – Brenda Lelli

4th – Brenda Lelli

5th Kyle McCleary

6th Kyle McCleary


Junior Ram Lamb

1st – Cindy Cieciwa

2nd – Cindy Cieciwa

3rd – Cathie Shiff

4th – Kyle McCleary

5th Kyle McCleary

Champion Ram MS&W                                       Champion BFL ram

Champion Ram – Sarah Vezzetti

Reserve Champion Ram – Cindy Cieciwa


Pair of Ram Lambs

1st – Cindy Cieciwa

2nd – Kyle McCleary


Yearling Ewe

1st – Cindy Cieciwa

2nd – Paul & Jolene Vezzetti

3rd – Sarah Vezzetti

4th – Cathie Shiff

5th – Brenda Lelli

6th – Cindy Cieciwa

7th – Meredith Myers

8th – Brenda Lelli

9th – Meredith Myers

10th – Hannah Vezzetti

Champion Ewe MS&W

Champion natural colored longwool (BFL) ewe and champion BFL ewe.             Natural colored ewe shown by Brenda Lelli

Champion Ewe – Cindy Cieciwa

Reserve Champion Ewe – Paul & Jolene Vezzetti


Pair of Yearling Ewes

1st – Cindy Cieciwa


Junior Ewe Lamb

1st – Cindy Cieciwa

2nd – Cindy Cieciwa

3rd – Sarah Vezzetti

4th – Kyle McCleary

5th – Kyle McCleary


Pair of Ewe Lambs

1st – Cindy Cieciwa

2nd – Kyle McCleary



1st – Cindy Cieciwa

BLU Member Nancy Starkey reports from MS&W festival


Photos by permission by Marcus Skeel

Mark Soper and I (and our wonderful sheepdogs) perform the Working Sheepdog Demonstrations at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival each year, and we use yearling Bluefaced Leicester ewes from my flock in the demos.  These young BFLs are probably the classiest “demo sheep” around, and they certainly catch the attention of the festival crowds.  People love the regal look of the BFLs, and their flowing fleeces are a big part of their appeal.


“Bleatings” from Oregon

Submitted by Robina Koenig, Tumble Creek Farm

Another Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is long past and winter is setting in here on the high desert. Fond memories and plans for 2013 shows, projects for Christmas on the knitting needles, the ewes and rams getting friendly, and finishing up the yardwork for winter occupy the main activities now. But getting ready for the last show of my season was busy and fun.

OFFF, as it is known, is set in a charming older fairgrounds with large trees shading the grassy central lawn. Vendors cover this lawn with their tents and awnings of all sizes and shapes, not to mention the colors that flow from under them. This is mainly a vendor show now, it seems to me, but the animals are plentiful. The two sheep shows run simultaneously under cover behind the barn with the goats out front in a smaller enclosed ring. I did not show this year which is a first for me. Instead, I chose to be with my four ram lambs and vendor booth in the barn, a busy place to be. Plenty of Bluefaced Leicester information was available and being the only breeder this year I was occupied answering several questions. Callie arrived Saturday afternoon, not wanting to miss this show.

Sunday afternoon brought two young men from lands far, far away, Jared Lloyd(CO) and Garrett Ramsay(MN). Never enough time to visit but good to see both of them again, twice now in the same year! We spent the last hour of the show talking sheep (really?) and comparing/critiquing my four rams from different bloodlines.

Good weather, good friends, good fun! Hope to see you there next year!

News from Rhinebeck

Comments on Rhinebeck festival from Joan Chapin.

This year, as in years past, my son and his wife, children, and I went to Rhinebeck with my Blue yearling ewes  and Wes/Hil’s Romneys.  We went on Thursday, got there late afternoon, and since the wind was coming into our pens along the side, we decided to send me out to the hardware store for tarps.  Two 10’ x 20’…Wes put them up to cover our 7 pens along the side…Good thing.  By Friday morning it was pouring, big wind was from that side…and sometimes the rain was so hard that it was deafening in that metal roofed barn (upper barn).  They said some of the vendor areas, where they were trying to set up, had to be sump-pumped out, I think they were pointing down toward the fleece barn. Saturday and Sunday were cool and sunny…Good thick crowd on Saturday, not as much on Sunday, thank heavens!  Rhinebeck is truly THE place for fleece sheep and fleece people; the barns are constantly filled with the public looking at and asking about sheep.  Very invigorating.

We were down the row from Cindy and Margaret of Pitchfork Ranch, who brought Romneys and Blues…  There was a mystery Blue down by Anchorage Farm near the wool room, and we found out that it was one bought by a young lady from CT from someone in Maryland. I am always interested in these lone Blues and why a person would have only one!

The white longwool show was Saturday afternoon. This year my ewes were in the (split) yearling classes, and both came in 5th after Romneys and Lincolns.  That is one place higher than last year as lambs.  Obviously I don’t go for the premium money; but glad to be placed at all.  The Natural Colored longwool show was Sunday morning.

I learned several years ago that if I stay around my pens and answer questions, and watch the people dig their fingers into the long soft Bluefaced fleece, I would have the opportunity to show people the differences in Bluefaced compared with, say, Border Leicester fleeces…and show them hand spun, hand dyed, and hand knitted articles, so they can appreciate the luster, drape, and softness of the Bluefaced wool. Against my usual rules, I sold one raw fleece last year to a woman who heckled me for much of Saturday morning, and she has kept in touch on email, reminding me that she wants to buy Lena’s fleece again this year.   I met one woman who turned out to be a medical doctor who specializes in stress issues and who spins!  She was enchanted with the Bluefaced fleece and yarns, and I think she’s hooked on it for her own stress-relieving spinning.  Maybe she’ll start a spinning group for stress relief!  With BFL roving, of course.

So I got out to a few of the old buildings on Sunday afternoon, and saw a few vendors who go to the NH Sheep & Wool Festival in May. I especially noted the absence of Kathy Davidson at her booth. Lewis White was there with his Little Barn tent, and his BFL roving; he said he’d had to cut back on his Bluefaces.  Lisa Westervelt stopped by.  Rhinebeck has grown so much in the last few years that I will never get around to see it all, especially when I have sheep in the pens.

Home at 12:30 AM Monday. Happily exhausted, to find my new Scotty ram lamb poking around the barn, sniffing thru’ the pen panels at the ewes.


by Sue Gustafson, Four Oaks Farm, Sebastopol, CA

Every year at the beginning of June the tingle starts. Black Sheep Gathering is in three weeks! The new lambs have been closely scrutinized, the decision has been made about which sheep are going to the show, and the entries are paid. Now it’s time to join forces with my traveling friend, Joyce Torrigino, load up, and leave in the middle of the night. It’s not as sneaky as it sounds! It’s just much cooler on both people and sheep to drive through the central valley of California at night and avoid the heat. The drive is twelve hours by the time we get there on Thursday afternoon.

We find our pens and bed down our sheep. We set up our display and I take my contribution to our sales pen in the barn. Robina Koenig, Jared Lloyd, and I have items for sale where Robina has set up a very nice display for BLU. There are dyed locks, white and natural colored roving, and Jared made wonderful scarves with a felted backing and locks of fleece needle felted to the front side. Just lovely!

At the show there were a total of 50 BFLs, including the natural colored, which show with the whites. In the ewe lamb class alone there were 22! What a marvelous sight to look out and see such numbers of my favorite sheep. Jared Lloyd (CO), Robina Koenig (OR), Brooke Jacubos (OR), Nancy Gilkeson (OR), and myself brought sheep and showed with help from the other BFL members who were there this year. Extra hands of Garrett Ramsay (MN, transported sheep from the east), Kelly Wilder (CA), Ann Morrison (WY), Rory and Jody McLean plus James and LoriAnne Nibourg from Alberta, Canada, all added to the fun of the show.

The comraderie in the barn and show ring is only added to by the socializing on our ‘off’ time. Our go-to eatery is the 6th Street Bar and Grill, a short walk from the Downtown Motel where several breeders stay the weekend. Great food and drink around a large table or two! Lots of conversation and excitement! Then on Saturday night the festival committee sponsors a pot luck. They barbeque the donated lamb and we bring the side dishes. Then we all head back to the show ring for the Spinner’s Lead, a lighthearted time of showing off what you’ve made while leading a sheep. The emcee makes it light and everyone gets a prize.

The show finishes on Sunday afternoon and we all pack up to make the drive home. The McLeans and the Nibourgs rounded up the sheep they had bought to make the long drive home to Alberta, Canada. Yes, more quality BFLs going from the USA to Canada. And Joyce and I started our trek back to California, certainly looking forward to next year at the Black Sheep Gathering. And just to add a prompt here, next year we will have our own BFL lot listed in the exhibitor’s book! For more information check out    See you there in 2013!