Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Messy Sheep

     Seems like it is always something.  You want the grass to grow, and then it does, but then it goes to seed.  Some of those nasty seedheads stick to soft, fine fleeces and then you have a mess.  Nobody wants to spin a fleece with prickly seeds in it.   So much for fine, soft fleeces with low micron counts!  It is a difficult problem to deal with.  The tiny black burrs grow against the woven wire fence and the little ones like to reach through the fence (remember grass is always greener....) then the seeds stick to their fine neck fleece.  No fun to pluck out.  This year also seems particularly bad for those foxtails.  They are the ones that can ruin your socks with one run through the pasture.  We have mowed them, bagged them and tried to get rid of the seed heads for a few years now and they seem to get worse every year.  Short of  field burning I am not sure what else to do.  And of course the sheep don't like to eat them so the problem continues.  I guess we'll be resigned to sitting in the pastures and picking fleeces, on the sheep of course.  And for some reason, my sheep seem to love that attention.  Maybe they bring it on themselves???

      Back from the Black Sheep Gathering.  Every year I think how lucky we are to have such a fine fiber fair in our own town, just minutes from our house.  It was busy this year, showing sheep, fleeces, fiber creations and participating in the spinners' lead.  Tom also presented his first "handcrafted by Tom" spinning wheel!  He has been apprenticing with Magnus Drudik, driving to Salem once a week for the past 6 months.  And now he has something to show for all that work.  It created quite a stir at the show and we spent lots of time retelling the story.  At one point, as my sentences no longer were making any sense, I suggested that he just put that wheel back in the car.
                                                     Ninki and Rudy getting lots of attention
     People are asking how we "did" at the show.  Well I can say our sheep placed middle of the road in a class of a lot of very fine Shetlands.  Competition is tough and  I guess the judge didn't find anything we had particularly exceptional (of course I beg to differ!).  But we did do well in the wool show, placing 2nd and 3rd in the mature Shetland.  Julia and Strudel came through for us.  I got a blue ribbon on my felted vest and lots of positive feedback from my strut through the spinners' lead.

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