Now there’s no question about whether or not to feed the sheep and donkeys hay. Last night’s thick layer of snow covered what was left of the grass in an icy mix.
This hasn’t stopped the animals from grazing where the sun has melted some of the snow, but now the clouds are moving in and it’s supposed to be cold for the next few days so I think most of the pastures will be covered for a while.
We let Fate in the barnyard for the first time since she cut her foot running last Friday. Her wound looks healed to me, but we’ll bring her to the Vet this afternoon to have the staples removed.
Although we didn’t let her run a lot, she seemed relieved to be back to her sheep.
I thought I’d start something new called News From The Pasture.
When I go out to check on the animals by myself, Jon will ask me “What’s going on out there.” Often it’s the usual, I open or close a gate and the sheep follow me or hang out in the pole barn.
But sometimes, like today, there is news from the pasture.
First Griselle uncharacteristically pushed her way to the front of the line as I took this video. She obviously thought my iPhone was something good to eat!
Once they got through the gate our new wether(castrated male sheep) Issachar started humping Suzy who was doing a lot of butt wiggling and I have no doubt is in heat. As this was going on, Kim my Karakul ewe, head-butted Issachar from the rear, chasing him off Suzy.
We have two wethers, Liam who is Suzy’s lamb and Pumpkin who is Socks’ lamb and I’ve never seen them hump any of the other sheep, which is kind of unusual now that I think of it.
But then, maybe that’s because Kim taught them, early on, not to.
For the weeks before I have my sheep shorn and I bring their wool to the mill to be made into yarn, I’m anxious about it.
I’ve been doing this for about five or six years and I am much more knowledgable about the process than I was when I first started, but I still always feel like I don’t know enough. And I always worry that I’m going to be asking too many questions or that what I want done with my wool is too complicated.
It’s an old issue for me, afraid to ask for what I want, not wanting to be too much of a bother.
But the thing I don’t remember when I’m waking up at night worried about my wool is that when I actually get to the Vermont Fiber Mill with the forms already filled out and yellow post-it’s on each batch with my questions for Deb, is that it’s actually fun.
Deb, who owns the mill with her husband Ed is always willing to spend the time answering my question, going over colors and catching up on news about our animals or where Deb and her husband are vacationing this year.
This time I was concerned that I would have too much wool.
For weeks I was coming up with alternatives if Deb couldn’t process it all. But, as I learned today, the wool off the sheep weighs more than the wool once it’s cleaned and not heavy with lanolin. And that’s the weight that matters.
And if there was too much wool, I would just get some back a little later.
Now I’m wondering what I’m going to find to be anxious about when I bring the next batch of wool to the mill in the spring. I’m hoping I can remember that I’m actually pretty good at figuring out how to best process the wool, ask the right questions and get the help I need. And that I really do learn something new each time I do this.
Also, if I do make a mistake or things don’t go the way I wanted, I want to be able to trust myself to know that I’ll be able to figure that out too.
I chose this golden yellow for Liam and Rosemary’s wool and am having some of it made into roving too.
I combined Socks and Izzy’s wool and will dye half of it this maroon and the other half I’m leaving it’s natural gray and will twist it with Kim’s white wool making a Barber Pole yarn.
Suzy, Pumpkin and Biddy’s wool will be combined. A third of it will be teal, a third orange, and a third natural. I’ll be dying over a light gray, so I chose the colors knowing that they’ll come out darker than the samples. Although it’s impossible to know exactly how they’ll turn out, I have a good feeling about them.
As always, I chose colors thinking about how they would look together and with the natural grays. I’ll get the yarn back in the spring around shearing time.
You can see how the sheep already have a thin layer of wool on their bodies. More than enough to keep them warm. Jon and I are about to leave to drop off their wool to the Vermont Fiber Mill. It’s an hour and a half away, we’ll get breakfast on at the Tin Soldier Diner on the way.
Our plan was to try and sell a couple of Suzy’s shawls on my blog and she’d take the rest of them to an Art Fair near her. But the shawls I posted on my blog sold so quickly and then she sold another that I didn’t even get a chance to post.
Suzy has two more shawls that she just finished so we decided, since so many people want them, that it made sense to sell the last two shawls in my Etsy Shop.
The wool Suzy hand spins and hand knits with comes mostly from her own mohair goats, Lucy, Alice, April, Ruth and Larry, and then she suppliments it with wool from other fiber artists.
Suzy’s Turquoise and Black Shawl is 51″ long and 15″ from top center to bottom point. It’s Sold $138 including shipping and you can buy it here.
Susan, who bought two of Suzy’s shawls, wrote this about them…
“Simply gorgeous. I have two from prior Open Houses. They are truly scrumptious. I loved seeing Suzy spinning and those sweet goats. That natural color wool shawl is so intriguing with the curly locks and the vivid colors of the other is just beautifully complex and equally wonderful.”
All of Suzy’s shawls are as soft as they look. The other one for sale is her Red and Gray Shawl.
Suzy’s Red and Gray Shawl is 53″ long and 18″ from top center to bottom point. It’s Sold $138 including shipping. You can buy it here.
Thanks to the sedatives from the Vet, Fate had a restful weekend.
Jon and I were both good about keeping her in the crate and taking her out on a leash to do her business. (“Get busy”, I say to her and she does.) Yesterday we let her walk around the house for a while and this morning, for the first time we let her wait at the gate while we took care of the animals.
Jon always did this with Red when he wasn’t supposed to run. He’d have Red come into the barnyard and just sit there. Red, of course, was able to do that. If we let Fate into the barnyard, she wouldn’t have the discipline to sit still. But she will wait outside the gate for hours, always with the hope that soon we’ll take her to the sheep.
Fate doesn’t seem to notice the bandage on her foot. And when it was wet out and I had to put the plastic baggie on it, she even stood patiently and lifted her foot for me.
I thought about taking a walk in the woods over the weekend, but it just isn’t the same without Fate. I know I’d miss her being there.
Today is the last day of sedatives and painkillers, I have little doubt she’s not healing well under the bandage. We’ll get the staples removed later in the week and soon things will be back to normal.