I set up a chair, a bushel and the wheel barrow draped in a sheet, in the backyard. It was an unusual balmy 60 degrees, a beautiful day for skirting wool. I emptied the first plastic bag into the wheel barrow. Suzy’s wool. The biggest bag, the most wool, I knew it would be easy to clean, it always is. The clean wool goes back in the plastic bag and the wool full of feces and seeds and other organic matter goes in the bushel.
The sheep wandered past, watching me for only a moment from the other side of the fence. Then Fate came over and grabbed a mouthful of wool. I wondered if she knew it was Suzy’s. Suzy who hasn’t stopped challenging her since the first day Jon took her out to herd the sheep. I pulled the wool out of Fate’s mouth then leaned back in my chair and felt something move behind me. Flo had come to visit, quiet as, well, quiet as a cat. So quiet that Fate didn’t know she was there till Flo hissed and swatter at her when she got too close. Fate jumped backwards about five feet. After that she stayed away from me and the wool.
I was half way through Liam’s fleece, the last one, when it started to rain. I finished my work in the barn.
I’m hoping to bring the wool to the Mill in Vermont on Sunday. I’ll get it back in April or May and I’ll be selling it on my site then. Suzy’s wool is already sold to Kathy, who got to see Suzy being shorn during the Open House. I was in my gallery selling art while Deb, who watches the animals when we go away, separated the fleeces into individual bags. I’m curious to see what color Pumpkin’s turns out like this time. His fleece is a lot lighter than it was last spring. I have a feeling his very dark wool is going to continue to lighten to a gray.
Skirting wool and bringing it to the mill has become one of our rituals. Jon always helps skirt the wool and makes the hour and a half trip with me to Vermont. We do it in the spring and in the fall. It speaks to the cycles of nature. The change within the constant. We do the same thing every year and every year it’s different.