Drying Fleeces

There was a slight breeze and the sun was warm.  I so wanted to lay the fleeces out on the lawn to dry.  But of course, that wouldn’t work on the farm, not with the chickens and cats roaming around.

I could just imagine the hens scattering the wool far and wide as they scratched and pecked and pooped on it.

So I laid it out on the front porch, four fleeces in all. Asher and Issachars are big and thick.   Suzy, Socks and Constance’s fleeces fit on the wicker benches and table. All of them soft gray.   I think I can mix them together and leave some natural then dye the rest.

These were the sheep we sheared on Saturday when it was raining. Ian suggested I lay the wool out in the sun because it was damp.

The rest of the wool is white, from Liam, Constance and Kim.  Lori’s and Robin’s wool is too short to make into yarn.

By the end of the day, the wool was dry.

Sometimes I worry so much about the wool, what I’ll do with it, how clean I can get it, if it’s long enough or too long.  And I forget to appreciate its beauty, its gift.

But this evening, as I sat on the floor of the porch squeezing Asher’s fleece back into a plastic bag, I paused.

Instead of just grabbing the wool and pushing it into the bag, I felt in it my hand.  It was springy and soft, moist with lanolin.   After that each handful I stuffed into the bag reminded me of digging in the rich earth of my vegetable garden. Of smoothing the soil over the seeds with my bare hands.

When the bags were full I rubbed my hands together working the lanolin into them.  Then I put them to my face and breathed in the smell of my sheep.  Sun warmed snow, dry earth, hay, fresh rain, winter bark, and seasoned manure.

The past year on the farm is in that wool.  There’s memory in the crimp, each fleece a story told.

8 thoughts on “Drying Fleeces

  1. I try to imagine what it feels like to be a shorn sheep. I wonder do they feel somehow more exposed to the world around them. Certainly the sensations of air and exposed hide would be different.
    Sometimes I feel a bit “shorn” and exposed myself. Both more vulnerable and freer.

  2. So beautifully told. I Could feel it smell it. I love how you share your experiences. Simply,honestly,deeply

  3. I love the smell of you wool…. the smell of your animals and farm!
    I’ll look forward to the yarn!

  4. You’ve painted so many word pictures today. I could instantly picture the chickens making their way through the fleeces to get at grubs below.

    I plan to share the last 4 paragraphs with some 4 graders who are writing poetry. They’re currently writing a poem about the topic of their choice entirely through the 5 senses. I think your writing will help get the wheels turning.

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