Thursday, November 1, 2018

Wovember - Day One - What Wool Means To Me

Today starts my favorite month, Wovember, aka Wool for November. Daughter of a Shepherd is hosting this year’s month long Instagram photo challenge and the prompt for day one is “What wool means to me.” One picture to represent what wool means to me… I can’t figure out what to do for that. 

Wool means sheep. I have young sheep, old sheep, white sheep, colored sheep, favorite sheep, sheep I’ve thought of strangling on occasion, sheep I’m having trouble living without. I have certain sheep I can identify just by burying my nose in their wool (That's a good thing! :-).

Wool means work. I’ve spent much of the last week washing and picking the last of this year’s fleeces and then taking them to the mill to be processed. My feet and back have not forgotten. I’ve got a market day coming up and holiday orders are coming in. Thankfully the mowing season is over.

Wool means care. You can’t raise good wool without good care. Care of the sheep themselves of course, but also the land and facilities they utilize. I think you also have to care about the care you are giving. It’s hard to trek out to the barn for a night check in the pouring rain. It helps to care about why you are doing that.

Wool means friendship. I have shepherd friends and spinner friends (who helped wash and pick fleeces with me this week!), beloved sheep shearers, good vets (who I probably know too well :-o), wool festival partners, yarn shop owners, feed producers, post office clerks…

Wool means learning. I’ve been washing fleeces for 15 years and learned a new trick last week. I picked up a new weaving tip yesterday. I’ve had sheep for 26 years and I learned something new at the beginning shepherd workshop I attended last month. I took a sheep to town a couple days ago and learned something interesting about flock behavior.

Wool means pride. When I wear a sweater I’ve spun and knit from a sheep I’ve raised from lamb, I’m proud of the work I’ve done and, of course, the sheep itself. “This is Maisie. This is B. Willard…” I get the same joy from seeing other people’s dedicated work.

Wool, let’s be honest, means how I’ll pay for my winter hay each year. How I pay our vets and sheep shearer. How I pay the feed mill. How we keep the cozy fire burning in the Wool House and on a good year, contribute to a month or two of the farm mortgage.

Wool is my life. Wool is laughter and tears, sore muscles and aching backs. Wool is snuggly lamb naps in the kitchen and sitting with the adult flock under a shady tree. Wool is standing on the hillside with the guardian dog while coyotes call out back. Wool is sweat in the summer and warm sweaters in the winter. Wool is sheep.

Since I can’t figure out what photo would best illustrate the prompt, here’s a picture of a freshly washed fleece currently drying in the Wool House. This is Petunia. She’s very soft and fine and still a lovely moorit color even at her age. While she would not be a first choice for me to spin (I like coarser wools), she’s a very favorite sheep and I’ll enjoy spinning some of this for a lacy shawl, having some processed for someone else to spin and probably make a wool wreath or two…to help keep the lights on.

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I don't know that I'll repost each daily prompt over here, so if you are interested in following along, please join me on Instagram :-).

Halloween Or April Fools Day?

Monday evening the Cynthiana Dairy Queen held a Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest as a fundraiser for the Harrison County Humane Society.  I couldn't resist.  

My original plan was to take sweet little Liddy dressed as a pumpkin.  That would have been easy.  She's quiet and kind and walks on a leash and wouldn't have minded (too much) being dressed up as a pumpkin.  Somehow that plan got changed to taking Maisie.  Dressed as a devil.  To Dairy Queen.  


Tim's first question was "What are you going to do when she hurts someone?"  Not if...when.  I stewed about it for a couple weeks and finally came up with what I decided would be the safest plan for everyone involved.  We had two different types of halters packed, a collar and leash, a set of panels to make a secure pen if needed, cookies, Cheerios and her entourage. 

This is what walked out of the trailer (cue angelic music).

Maisie not only rode over there like a champ, tolerated her costume (she has a bow tie and a devil tail as well as her horns), stood quietly while we waited in line, walked up to the patio (she's never been trained to lead!), through the crowd, stood for her interview, walked off the patio, posed for some pictures and then back onto the trailer.

The devil went to Dairy Queen!

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I'd like to think Maisie knew she was doing all this to help other animals, but I'm guessing it was more that we just got lucky ;-)  However, always remember to support your local humane societies not just at Howl-a-ween, but throughout the year.  They need all the help they can get.  Sometimes even just a couple cans of wet kitten food makes a big difference.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2018 Hug A Sheep Day Party

We could have had better weather, but we sure couldn't have had better sheep and sheep friends and a good time was had by all :-D.  

We'd like to thank everyone who braved the rain to come and hang out in the barn with us and the sheep would like to thank everyone for all the cookies and crackers.  Even the dogs and cats made out like bandits!

A huge thanks to Amy who once again came down to take beautiful pictures for us.  She's posted a gallery with more great pictures and even has it set up for prints if anyone would like a souvenir picture.  I've already picked out my favorite :-).



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