Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Fleece Appreciation Post

I've been slowly working my way through skirting the 2015 fleeces, mostly trying to get the "sold" fleeces done first as I know people are looking forward to receiving them, but picking some for fun too because I can't wait to see what they look like.  

In years past we've stuck a name tag inside the sheet bag.  This year we stuck a tag inside and pinned one on the outside.  Why that took so many years to figure out...I don't know.  

Is that really you, Woody?  I knew he was dark under there, but wow!

Yep, I'd know that white spot anywhere :-).

How pretty is that!  I believe Woody is headed to the fleece competition at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this year.

Here's the most exciting part.  This is the top of his back BEFORE I started picking out hay and straw.  This post should be titled A KATE Appreciation Post.

Beanie Baby, again before picking.

When we were looking for a new Border Collie, I was mostly looking for a nice companion dog...who could also help me learn more about sheep herding.  I don't have any interest in trialing, but thought it would be nice to be able to do some things like move my sheep from field to field during the summer rotations.

Turns out there are all sorts of jobs a well trained dog can help you do :-).  Figuring out adding the two gates to the end of the sheep stalls and having Kate move everyone outside when I was setting out hay has paid off huge in fleece quality this year.  Our fleeces are, well, fleeces to be really proud of.  

Beanie Baby folded over and ready to roll.  He's headed to the KSFF as well.

Daniel.  I wish he'd stayed darker red/brown, but he's still beautiful.  See how he's getting lighter and lighter as his fleece grows?  He's almost white at the cut end (from next to his skin, the newest growth).

I think I'll call this "still life with treats and fleece" haha.  Note the "dirty" wool touching my apple. Yep, I ate it anyway ;-).

Oh, had a couple questions about the Cheerios yesterday.  Yes, sheep love Cheerios!  I can't remember how we got started on them.  Was it just for Maisie (who Will Not Eat Cookies - could she be any wackier? ;-) or was it for the old sheep with no teefers?  Just looking for a healthier snack? Anyone?  


I've had the same awesome shearing "crew" for the last few years.  As we were getting ready this year, Karen started looking through the stack of sheets for "Renny's Sheet".  I told her I wasn't going to pull that sheet out for Renny this year.  I felt like Renny was just one of the sheep now and her past wasn't part of her present and she shouldn't be singled out.

When it was her turn for a new 'do, I started to second guess myself.  Maybe it was important to keep Renny's sheet her special sheet.  Oh well, nothing to do about it now - we were up to our knees in wool and moving too quick to go searching for it.  As Renny stood back up, Stella handed me "her" sheet.  Thank you, Stella.

One of Renny's black spots.  I'm not sure if these spots over much of her back half are naturally there or if they are remnants of scarring.  I sometimes wonder if Renny ever thinks about what happened to her years ago.  I still can't help but look at her and just be amazed.  I guess you never truly escape your past.  Your story is your story.  Your sheet is important.

I listened to a great TED talk a couple years ago about a young lady who lived through a bad illness and lost her legs - wait, here it is, Amy Purdy.  I remember her saying something like "How do you want your story to end?"  I think Renny knew she didn't want her story to end in that muddy pond. That fleece is full of power.  I haven't decided if it's for sale this year. 

That's Renny getting ready to walk through the gate yesterday.  And yes, the grass is that green. We got another ton of rain last night so it will probably be even greener this afternoon :-o.


Jean said...

Beautiful fleeces! We all have a story don't we? Depending on what you decide to do with Renny's fleece, I would be interested in purchasing one of your little sheep if you could use her wool. Green grass looks lovely -- it has been raining up here, but it isn't that green yet.

Alice said...

Awesome post! Those fleece are definitely competition worthy. I so need to come and smoosh them! The Disney movie "Saving Mr. Banks" is a true story about changing end of the story. A great adult watch. I'm glad you found the Renny sheet as there is so much story to be told from the cloth and the fiber that it's caressed. We are all the richer for it's being there to bundle her "never give up" fleece.

Susan said...

Wonderful post - your sheep (and all of ours) have their own stories - some more poignant than others. Renny continues to be my favorite sheep (along with Blossom) and it always makes me happy to remember how the Universe stepped in and brought you to her (and vice versa). It gives one hope for happiness in this world.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful fleece. Can't wait for you to have them for sale. :0)

Dreaming said...

The fleece are so pretty to look at. I love how your pictures show off the fibers and the colors. So rich!!!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Tradition...and a it should be. Her sheet is her sheet what other fleece would be worthy of that would have to retire it. The fleece is beautiful...all of them...Kate does a good job:)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Great looking fleeces.

Mrs Shoes said...

I've never seen fleeces at this stage & up close - I find all the little wavy kinks in each separate hair fascinating.
Just to be clear, for this sheep know-nothing-but-interested gal - you picked the bits out of them, and then... you brush them out? Is that what 'carding' is?

Unknown said...

Your fleece photos are beautiful! It always amazes me how the fleeces look one way when they are on the sheep and when they come off, its totally different.....its like a little secret the sheep were keeping from me:)

thecrazysheeplady said...

You would usually wash it first, but yes, that's basically the progression. I'll do Baaxter's start to finish if anyone's interested :-).

thecrazysheeplady said...

A little secret. That's perfect!!!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Good point!

Sarah said...

I find all of this fascinating! I'm learning more and more as I read your posts. Beautiful fleeces and beautiful images!

Lori Skoog said...

The fleeces look so rich and beautiful!

sophy0075 said...

Your fleeces are gorgeous. Congratulations to you, the sheep, and Kate. Oh, and the Cheerios ;)

LannieK said...

So glad You & Stella found Renny's sheet :-) Renny's past is a chapter in Equinox Farms' history. You should be so, so proud! Your fleeces are absolutely gorgeous. Go for it ~I see ribbons in your future :-)

I need orange said...

Drooling over those gorgeous fleeces. Wow.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Your photography captures the most littlest detail of those Sheep's past year in their fleece and has them become a full work of art; BRAVA!


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