Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing?

On these miserable hot days, I frequently sometimes think about cashing it all in, putting on some clean, not sweaty clothes and heading back to an air conditioned office job. I update my resume while hosing myself down with cold water before heading back out in the blazing sun to mow dusty grass and I'm sure there are ways to reconstruct my daily activities to fit the corporate world.

"I am able to motivate large groups of [sheep] only occasionally resorting to yelling, cursing, bringing out Big Blue (the barn broom - works exceptionally well on chickens too ;-)."

"I am able to prioritize duties (for God's sake, whatever happens, don't run out of cat/dog/sheep/horse/chicken food)."

The one thing I never dreamed could be added to my list of experiences was "I sheared three sheep at a wolf sanctuary."

"Excuse me?"

"Yes, and in the middle of it all, an ambulance went by on a nearby highway, sirens blaring, and the wolves (all around us) started howling. The sheep seemed unfazed."

I think you get extra points for something like that.

So yes, I went out to Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge last week and sheared three sheep. And yes, it's a wolf (and big cat, some monkeys, deer...) refuge. I normally don't like to get involved with something like this, but it was super hot and they (most importantly the sheep - one very old, one blind) were desperate.

This is Bluebell. I wish I'd taken my camera. Bluebell is the very old sheep. A handsome, big Corriedale (guessing) ewe with a face that looks like it could tell some stories. Most of her fleece had felted and some of it had some weird dandruffy stuff, but I was able to salvage a big bag of really beautiful fiber.

Super soft, gorgeous color.

I wonder if Bluebell has ever had her wool spun before. Was she a breeding ewe past her prime? Was she someone's pet they "outgrew"? Was she the last sheep in an retiring spinner's flock? How did she end up at a wolf refuge?

At least there are some places like that, bizarre as it sounds, where she can live out her days.

I asked to take a tour after we finished shearing. As I said earlier, I don't tend to get involved with places like this. I don't enjoy going to the zoo and seeing lions pacing the fronts of their runs...those sorts of things. I was pleasantly surprised.

It wasn't fancy, but no one seemed at all distressed. They had clean water, plenty of food, shelter, shade, trees, toys, companionship if they wanted... The barnyard animals all run together (except the two pot bellied pigs) and everyone has a name and is well loved.

Wolf Run, like every rescue - people or animal - is struggling right now. The economy is tight for everyone and those of us feeding animals definitely know the costs. In light of all the recent disasters, there are so many organizations, local and worldwide, that need our help. I'm wondering though if we could all get together and do something small (which becomes something big) to help this wolf rescue that has rescued three sheep.

I have a bag of beautiful Bluebell fiber - 16 ounces washed. I test spun and knit a small sample yesterday (yes, there was actually spinning and knitting in the wool house!) and it definitely passes the ooh/ahh test :-). Someone should have been rescuing her fleece all along.

Wolf Run has a "donate" button on their Help Support WR page. How about if anyone who'd like to make a donation do so - directly to Wolf Run please - and then send me an email at thecrazysheeplady AT gmail DOT com and let me know you did. We'll do this on the honor system, Yarn Harlot style, and for every $5 you donate I'll create a "raffle ticket" and at the end I'll draw a winner.

If you are the winner and a spinner I will send you the bag of beautiful Bluebell and you can enjoy spinning it yourself. If you are not a spinner, but would like to have some yarn from a very special sheep with a great story, for an additional donation of $50 to Wolf Run, I'll spin it for you. If you are neither a spinner nor interested in the yarn, don't feel (too) bad ;-) We'll put together a suitable prize for you.

How does that sound? I think it will work. Let's set the drawing deadline (never a deadline for donations ;-) at - well, I'm not sure. Do we let it go until the end of the month or is that too long?


Alice said...

Knowing how much you hate the heat, this was a demanding task for you! Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone to care for these sheep rescues.
What a dandy idea to gather donations for this refuge. Once again you have used your talents for those most in need and offered them as a way to generate interest and money for this worthwhile cause!
Blessings upon you, Sara.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

When I'm irritated at patients in our office, I think of doing what you're doing!

I admire you for giving your time and talent and stepping out of your comfort zone to make a difference!

Lori Skoog said... are one in a million. So glad you were able to shear those sheep. The wool looks beautiful.

How about packing everything and coming up north? We sure would love to have you and all your creatures great and small.

~Tonia~ said...

Hey lady let me know and I can donate to the prize give away if you would like. Would love to know Bluebell's full story I am sure she has many tales to tell. Glad that the sheep were given some relief from the heat and that all the animals there are well cared for.

Becky Utecht said...

What a wonderful thing you did for the sheep and now are doing for the shelter! A very good use of your time and talents. You're an inspiration!

Sheepmom said...

What Becky just said!

Ron said...

I am the webmaster for and long time supporter of Wolf Run. I would dearly love to have an item made from the wool you sheared, but I am clueless when it comes to the arts of yarn making and knitting. I was thinking maybe you could make a knitted cap in exchange for a donation to WR of whatever you feel would be appropriate?

Terry and Linda said...

You are a special person, Sara!


Nancy K. said...

You are a very special Lady.

gtyyup said...

OK...I take everything at face value. With a name like Wolf Run...I immediately thought they were going to feed the old sheep to the wolves! Now I can't stop laughing at myself...please forgive me for having such awful thoughts :O

Ron said...

I just sent a paypal donation to them for $25. Please put me in for 5 chances. If I win, I will learn how to card and spin the wool, which is something I always thought I would enjoy doing anyway. I can send a receipt as proof if you need it.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Ron (or any other non-spinner) if you win the raffle, I will teach you to card and spin and even knit!

We have had great response so far. THANK YOU!!!

Ron said...

I really have to thank you for what you are doing. I checked the Paypal donations for WR, and it would appear that there is about $300 or so dollars in new donor donations, which I believe is from your wool raffle. I have listed the paypal donor names on the donate page at WR. For WR and all the critters I thank you so very much for your efforts!


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