Our Shearer Liz Willis brought some help with her today.
Ian is the grandson of Jim McRae, who used to be our shearer. When she was 8 years old Jim taught Liz to shear sheep. That was when she began her own flock of sheep too. Now Liz has taken over for Jim after he retired and Ian is helping Liz.
Liz not only shears the sheep, but she clips and checks their hooves and the teeth of the older sheep. Griselle has been limping for a few days and Liz found a but of an infection in one of her hooves. She trimmed the hoof back and we sprayed it with peroxide. She said Griselle would limp for a few days but would heal.
Zelda and Griselle are both too skinny. They are both old, Zelda at least nine or ten. Griselle still has all her teeth, but Zelda only has a couple of front teeth left. That means she had a hard time eating hay and grass.
We’ll feed them both grain. Griselle should gain some weight back, but it will be harder for Zelda without her teeth. I’m thinking that after this summer it will be best to put Zelda down before the winter comes. I certainly don’t want her starving to death or suffering unnecessarily.
Both Jon and Liz agreed that it would be best for her. I’ll see what feels right when the winter comes.
All the other sheep are healthy and have grown some beautiful wool.
I’ll post more pictures and video later today and tomorrow.
It seems like she was just here, but it was six months ago. I love to watch Liz work because she does such a good job and the sheep are so calm around her. This time all the sheep are getting shorn. I’ll dye some of it and leave some natural.
I’ll get the wool back from the Vermont Fiber Mill in the fall, around the time to have the sheep shorn again.
We finally figured out that when we want to get in touch with our new shearer, Liz Willis, we have to email her, not call her.
The mailbox on her phone is always full, but she returns an email within the day.
So Liz will be coming to shear the sheep sometime in April. She’ll get in touch with some of her other customers in our area and visit a few different farms in one day. I doesn’t make sense for her to make a trip to just our farm to shear ten sheep.
It’s earlier than we usually have them shorn, but the sheep are ready.
I didn’t shear Zelda, Socks, Griselle and Biddy in the fall, because they were shorn in late June so their wool wasn’t long enough in October. But now they have a full coat. And Suzy, Rosemary, Liam, Kim, Izzy and Pumpkin’s wool grows so fast and thick, theirs will be ready in another month.
Once again, I’ll keep some of the wool natural and dye some. I’m also thinking of combining some of the white wool with one of the darker colors to make a barber pole yarn (looks just like what it sounds like).
I’m on a schedule with the Vermont Fiber Mill, so even though I’ll have the sheep shorn early, it won’t be processed until July.
That means the next batch of Bedlam Farm wool will be available sometime in the fall. I know that’s two whole seasons away and I don’t want to be thinking about the fall when it just turned spring, but that’s the nature of the farm.
When we first got Kim about five years ago, we noticed how much she looks like the puppet Lambchop. Although she has been known to stomp her foot at the Fate and Bud, to try and chase them away, she has a really sweet face
She’s a Karakul, an Asian sheep who stores water in her tail. Most farmers dock the tails of lambs a few days after they’re born. It’s done for health reasons, because the sheeps tails can collect feces.
We bought Kim from the farmer, Daryl, who gave me my first sheep, Tess, Socks, Suzy and Zelda.
Daryl’s daughter raises Karakuls. They’re pretty unusual where we live. Their wool is especially good for rug making and felting. I usually mix Kim’s wool with the wool of my other white sheep when I have it processed into yarn.
Jon and I had the most delicious egg sandwiches at the Wooden Solider Diner in Fair Haven on our way to get my wool in Brandon, VT this morning. It’s one of those diners that never got updated, not in the past 40 or so years anyway.
I picked up about forty skeins of wool from the Vermont Fiber Mill. They’re Green, Blue, Red and Purple and work beautifully together. Red was so comfortable on the alpaca rug he didn’t want to get up to leave.
The alpaca’s came out to greet us as we were leaving. Deb and her husband raise them, and sell their wool as products or yarn.
I’ll be putting up my wool up for sale in my Etsy Shop sometime over the weekend.
We’re getting ahead of the snow storms predicted for the weekend and picking up my wool in Brandon Vermont this morning. I think we’ll stop on the way at the Wooden Soldier Diner in Fair Haven Vermont for breakfast.
As always, I’m excited to see my wool, especially since I don’t even remember what colors I had it dyed this time. I’ll post some pictures on facebook and instagram as soon as I can, and more on my blog when I get home.
The good hay and fresh water, the ability to graze and wander the pastures, feeling safe and content. I believe this is all a part of what keeps my sheep healthy and helps them grow such good wool.
I could put jackets on them to keep their wool cleaner and prevent it from fading from the sunlight, but I prefer to let them be unencumbered. Anyway, I love to see them in their wool coats and how it grows from shearing to shearing.
We’ll be picking up my latest batch of Bedlam Farm Wool on Friday and I’ll be putting it up for sale , in my Etsy Shop, on Monday.