My head is full of wool.
A week of wool. Picking it up from the mill, counting it, labeling it, taking pictures and posting them in my Etsy Shop. Checking my email to see what has sold. Messaging Thank you’s (Thank you! Thank you!) and getting pictures of last years wool made into shawls and socks, making connections with people as they let me know what they will be making with the wool they bought. Words that bring me joy and encouragement.
Packing up wool in bags and boxes and bringing it to the postoffice.
Winding 8 oz balls of roving and squeezing them into plastic bags that are really just the right size. Winding 1 oz dryer balls over and over, shoving the wool balls into very long and tight socks and tying each one off with a piece of yarn. Putting them in the washer and dryer then cutting the yarn and pulling the soft compact balls out of the socks with satisfaction.
Making sure the door to the guest room/office is closed so the dogs don’t get in. What fun they would have with all that good smelling wool.
I go to bed thinking of my wool. I dream about wool, I wake up worrying that I forgot to answer an email about my wool or packed 2 blue skeins instead of 3.
And what if I can’t sell it all?
I look at the bags of wool taking up the whole bed in the guest room. 104 skeins and four 32oz bags of roving. Twice as much as usual since I only bring the wool to the mill once a year now. Over 100 labels to make and tie onto each skein. Next year I’ll come up with a more efficient way of making the labels, I think. I won’t wait for the wool to arrive to figure it out I tell myself even though I know I’m lying.
And I begin to wonder if it’s worth all the work.
I begin to doubt myself. Don’t look too closely to the numbers I warn myself. Don’t think about the Etsy fees, the cost of hay, the vet bills, repairs to the barn, the cost of brush hogging, the value of my time.
I go downstairs and find Jon in his study. Do you have a minute, I ask, are you in the middle of something? And I perch myself on the table next to his desk, my feet already resting on his leg, before he can even answer.
He turns away from his computer screen to look at me. He’s better about this kind of thing than I am. I get annoyed if I’m in the middle of doing something and get interrupted, but Jon says, “I always have time of you.”
I need a pep talk I tell him. And recite my wool fears.
He doesn’t even have to think about it. Jon tells me this is who I am. The sheep, the animals, the farm and the wool is why we are here. You love the animals he says, you love feeding them and caring for them and talking to them and taking pictures and videos of them. You love living with them and working with them.
Then he reminds me how we chose this life. We may not make a lot of money, but we get to do what we love, every day.
I give him a kiss and thank him. That’s just what I needed to hear I say. Then I’m gone and Jon’s back to his work.
I go back upstairs,open the door to the guest room and I’m greeted by the smell of wool. It’s the smell of warm and an icy cold day at the same time, the smell of earth and hay and of something soft.
I check my email and see I sold three more skeins of wool and another ball of roving. And I get back to doing the work I love.