I don't have kids, but I get to hang out with a couple of absolutely top-notch ones anyhow.
That's Olivia on the left and Isabelle on the right. Olivia's holding Freddy's Hope, a dark gray Shetland ewe lamb; Isabelle's holding Wilber, a mioget (under the most luscious chocolate tips) Shetland ram lamb. In the middle you can't see their mom Pat, who can't tell she's holding upside-down the plaque Isabelle won. That plaque is for the Phil and Lee Delano Memorial Shepherd Award, given out each year at the Middlesex County 4-H fair, held in Westford, Massachusetts. The Delano award is a Very Big Deal. If I remember correctly, it is given to the best shepherd that year. Isabelle also won the annual Wool Top Trophy at the same fair, given for the shepherd who takes the best care of their flock overall, including how the flock is displayed at the fair. Under Isabelle's capable showmanship, Wilber was the Champion Shetland Ram at the Bolton, MA, Fair in both the Junior and the Open Shows, and he was the Reserve Champion Ram in the All Other (wool) Breeds class at the Northeast Youth Sheep Show. Isabelle is 15. At age 15, I think I was accomplishing exactly nothing.
At the Woodstock, CT., sheep show, Olivia led Freddy's Hope to a Reserve Champion medal in the All Other Breed Ewe Youth Show and to the Grand Champion Ewe in the Open Show. Grand Holy Mackeral Champion Ewe. Olivia is 11. I don't even remember being 11.
These two won many more awards this year as well, but I'm not even sure I got all the details correct on the awards I did list. Isabelle did say something about not putting the ordinary ribbons up on her bedroom wall any more - she only puts up the rosettes nowadays. And did I mention Isabelle was the one to decide which of her Shetland ewes to breed to which ram from another flock to produce these two lovely lambs? Apparently, she was debating the finer points of fleece quality and being high on their hocks and twinning and being a good mother and all that stuff.
I'm very proud of these two (and of their mom!), even though I had nothing to do with bringing them up or teaching them how to raise good sheep or anything (except maybe knitting) (and spinning, quite possibly) (definitely Rhinebeck - you can meet these young women and their mom there with me this year, by the way). And I'm showing my support for their stellar efforts by promising to buy Wilber's fleece when he's shorn for the first time this fall. I really ought to buckle down and go for Hope's fleece, as well. It's a sacrifice, but somebody has to do the hard work around here.