- On February 28, 2014
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Danny Smith called me the other day and said, “how about Saturday?” And so the party was set, and you’re invited!
Tomorrow around 11 AM, we’ll once again separate the sheep from their year’s growth of beautiful wool. Danny will set up his shearing stand inside a small pen that I’ll set up for the boys, and he’ll deftly strip off the wool, stroke by stroke, sheep by sheep. He can usually shear a sheep in about three minutes, so our little flock will take him no time at all. The biggest chunk of the time will probably be moving the operation from the north pasture with five sheep, down to the south pasture where our lone Jacob boy, Israel, lives. (I’d move him up with the others, but he’s a slightly frail old man, and I’m afraid the younger rams would bully him.)
Once a year, while Danny has them upended and immobile, we give them their yearly vaccinations, trim their toenails, and give them a good looking over. These guys are normally so healthy we hardly ever have any veterinary issues, but it’s always good to check them out up close.
The shorn fleeces will each go into a bag, marked with the sheep’s name, ready for skirting and washing. This process also allows us to inspect the wool of each animal and hopefully find all the signs of of healthy fleece growth. Once the fleeces are clean and dry from washing, I’ll pop them in the mail to our processor friend, Lynn of Spinderella’s Fiber Mill. Lynn does such amazing work – the wool comes back even more gorgeous than when we sent it away. Her antique cottage-size carding equipment makes rovings out of the fiber, and then they’re ready for our shareholders to spin into amazing creations.
Danny is also a professional wood worker, and usually brings lots of gorgeous wooden treasures to sell – yarn bowls, drop spindles, crochet hooks, shawl pins, antler buttons, and more. Budget that in to your visit tomorrow – you’ll be glad you did.
If all this gets your appetite whetted to play with fiber right NOW, this is also your lucky day. I’m cleaning out a huge
pile mountain of fiber that I’m just not going to be able to address in the foreseeable future. So I’m selling it off at $1/bag. And I’m talking about a really big bag. This fiber comes from our animals’ “seconds,” or skirtings – alpaca leg and neck fiber, or less than super soft wool. Maybe it’s a little tippy or tender and needs to be hand carded. Maybe it has a lot of grass in it and just needs more love. The original plan was to clean it all up and send it off to be made into rugs, but that project keeps getting kicked down the road. And every year, I add to the pile. Come and get some of this neat stuff while it lasts!
So, bring the kids or the grandparents and your camera, and enjoy the day on the farm. Please leave dogs at home, park up on the street, keep your kids close to you, and get set for a day you won’t forget.