Liam, Full of Burdock



Remember our lamb Liam.   The one who got stuck in the wall of the barn, the one who got bit by Simon and had some broken ribs. He almost knocked the shearer  down, when he tried to catch him then was kicking the whole time he was being shorn.  And lately, has been confronting Red.  So he’s trouble and a trouble maker.

And the saga continues.  This time it’s his wool.  Full of burdock.  It’s true he’s not alone in this ,Ma and Deb’s wool is also full of burdock.  I expected it of Ma, all summer she had a face full of brambles, and so it makes sense that Deb, being her lamb, would also be full of burdock.  But Liam’s mother Suzy, had the cleanest wool of all the sheep.  The two seemed inseparably, but it appears that Liam was hanging around with Deb more than his mom.

The past few days have been unseasonably warm, so I’ve taken advantage of the weather and have been skirting the wool (Skirting means picking out the branches and brambles, all the big stuff you don’t want in yarn).  I did Deb’s wool first.  It took a couple of hours to get it all clean.  After that I decided to leave Ma’s and Liam’s ( I had a feeling about Liam’s wool with his reputation for trouble) wool for last.  Yesterday I spent two hours skirting Liam’s wool, all the time thinking, between this and the vet bills, it will be a long time before I break even selling his wool.

But Ma’s wool was even worse, and there’s more of it.  Today I spent an hour and a half pulling out burdock and I’m still not done.  But at least she’s the last of it.  I think another hour of work and I’ll be all done.   I keep thinking it will all be worth it when I get the wool back.  I don’t know if it’s true, but believing it keeps me going.

5 thoughts on “Liam, Full of Burdock

  1. I’m wondering how ‘pulling the burdock’ could be something more like a meditative ritual. A writer I follow, Theodora Goss, has been writing about the Heroine’s Journey in fairy tales. One of the similar threads in the stories is the concept of ‘the work.’ It’s in Goose Girl, Cinderella, Vasalisa and Baba Yaga and many other myths. ‘The Work’ is like a rite of passage that has to do with connecting to our deep cycles. For me, as a writer, I see ‘pulling the burdock’ as a metaphor for this. But maybe you have to go through this rite of passage in order to integrate it into your work. In order to see the mythology of it. Maybe I’m being too deep or meta. It’s just the way my mind works. But I see a quilt or a drawing or a poem born from this. I guess it’s hard to see the value in the work as we are immersed in the work though.

    1. Nicole, this is a great way of seeing it. I was just too caught up in the chore of it. Even the words”Pulling The Burdock” seem to have meaning to them, They are poetry. What first comes to mind for me is untangling and releasing the past. Okay,now I have to look into this more. thanks for this, you’ve opened a door for me.

    1. Everytime I skirt wool Debbie, I think of a part in the last Barbara Kingsolver book where the women from different farms come together to skirt wool. It’s a nice idea.

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