Liz tosses the wool from the sheep’s bellies and around their genitals off the smooth piece of plywood that she sits the sheep on to shear them. It’s worn and dirty. “Junk” I think as I scoop it up and throw it in the garbage.
As Liz continues to shear the sheep,I collect and stuff the rest of the wool into a plastic bag. Then I write the sheep’s name on the bag in black marker, keeping each sheep’s wool separate.
The white sheep get shorn first because there are aways tufts of wool left over from shearing and we don’t want the darker wool to get mixed in with the lighter wool, which could alter the color.
When she was done, Liz pulled back Zelda’s lips and showed me the space where her front teeth were missing. “It happens when they get old,” she said, “but she still has her grinders in the back of her mouth.”
We’ve had Zelda for 5 years and she was the matriarch of the flock when we got her. I don’t know for sure, but she’s probably about 9 or ten years old. Her wool doesn’t grow as fast anymore, so I only shear her once a year.
This year, I’ll keep Zelda’s wool separate and leave it white. I already have a couple of people asking for it.
I’ll dye most of the other wool. Liz, told me that when you dye the darker wools pink, purple or blue, they become flecked with the dark strands. I like the sound of that.