Cold Weather and Hazelnut

It has been unusually cold recently with intermittent snow flurries.  I had noticed that the old sheep and goats appeared cold so I reset up the heat lamp that I had taken down last month thinking that the really cold weather was over.  Here they are enjoying the heat.

Thanks to incredibly late butchering, this is the last bale of hay.  Now we will have to find some more.

One of our turkey hens kept getting into the chicken nest boxes and couldn’t get out.  Daily we were having to extract her so we decided to move her into the weasel proof pen so she would no longer endanger herself.  The other hen decided on her own to join her.  In the process of cleaning up this pen first we found one of my missing knives.  Tom had found my other missing knife in the blueberry netting.  So now I have three barn knives.  I should be OK for a bit anyway.

With the cold weather I decided to make West African Peanut Stew.  I was enticed to do this recipe because of a recent zoom I participated in called Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine.  The stew was really good.  I must admit though I only added half of the crush red peppers asked for, and it was still plenty spicy for our tongues.  I should have chopped the ginger finer though.

Today’s weather forecast appeared relatively moderate to me, but my barometer was suggesting something else.  The gold bar is the lowest barometric pressure I have ever seen.

When we went out to the barn this morning, our Shetland wether Hazelnut was dead.  I suspect he died of hypothermia.  I am a little surprised as he had a better coat on him than others, and he was younger than our ewe Wilma turning 17 on the 17th and our goat Saphie who is 19, both eating in this photo this morning under the lamp.

So the forecast was completely wrong as it didn’t call for any rain.  So Tom had to bury Hazelnut in the rain.


Hazelnut was born April 22, 2007 to Heidi and Jocko.  He was  a twin with his brother Hemlock.  Hemlock was kept intact and sold as a breeding ram, but Hazelnut was wethered and stayed with us.

He was always skittish and due to this he bashed his right horn on a fence being scared of us and damaged it.  It was always wonky after that.

But he had the most wonderful wool.  It had a gorgeous chocolate brown color and lovely crimp.

All of his fleeces sold, and I never kept any of them, which I now regret.  I did save some crimpy neck wool in 2021 so I will need to find that and spin it.

He gradually aged.  He had his health issues with bloat once, a damaged horn that needed splinting, and he was prone to hoof scald.  But we got through all of that, and he had been getting extra special treatment in the “nursing home” for the last few years. Here he is in December with the heat lamp treatment.

But it wasn’t enough to get him through the last of this winter.  Goodbye dear Hazelnut.  You will be missed.

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6 Responses to Cold Weather and Hazelnut

  1. Denise says:

    so sorry to hear of Hazelnut’s passing. he had such lovely wool. I love the photo of him awaiting shearing. 🙂 Here’s hoping that was the last of the wintery weather-

    • Donna says:

      He did have gorgeous wool. I did find the bit of neck wool I saved along with other precious sheep. I will get it washed and carded to make something to remember them all by. I hope this is it. My old animals are not happy with this weather.

  2. Jeanne says:

    I’m very sorry to know about the loss of Hazelnut! It’s always so hard when it happens, even when the one that is lost was failing. He surely did have lovely fleece.

    I’m glad your two knives are no longer missing.

    Hang in there!

  3. Jeanne says:

    I just read through this post again, for probably the third time! I didn’t know you had found the bit of Hazelnut’s fleece. I’m glad you have it handy now. Is there enough to make a nice item for remembrance? I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.

    • Donna says:

      I just now went through my stash for neck wool bits I kept from the 2021 shearing. I have some of Jewel, Hazelnut, Amanda, Ewegenie and Donna who are all deceased. They range from 1/2 ounce to 5 ounces. Hazelnut’s is only 1.5 ounces unwashed. I had previously save more wool from Wink. Tanya and Moll, also now gone. There is some neck wool from Wendel, Vanessa, Jemima and Hodor who I still have. I plan on washing, carding and spinning these separately. Then figuring out a tribute project.

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