Saturday, April 18, 2009

shearing day, part 1

Thought I'd check in while I'm waiting for the sheep shearer to arrive. I am beside myself with excitement. Here's a shot of Maude (in front) and Sal taken moments ago. Say goodbye to that fleece kids. I can't wait to see them without their wool. They'll look ridiculous.

In a few hours I'll have three comfortably shorn sheep and enough wool to keep the people of West Sandgate in all the knit hats they can handle. I'm looking forward to hand processing a chunk of it, and also planning to mail off a bunch to professionals at a small mill who will send me back blankets and yarn. This summer I'll be knitting at campfires and on the porch, stocking up the pantry with next years Christmas presents. Friends and family will be wearing Maude, Marvin, and Sals' spring line.

This day: is a dream come true. For so long I have pined for sheep. I am so far away from the big dream, a full-time working lamb and wool farm. But today is the first time I ever helped clip my own hoofstock. I know it's only three sheep. I know Cold Antler isn't a big operation. But this is how things start. While no friends or family will be here this year to help, as the years go by more and more people will be a part of this. And someday it will end with bonfires and guitars and wine.

Yes, yes. This is the beginning of many good years with lanolin on my fingers.


Blogger Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

What breeds of sheep are yours? Maude looks to be different than Sal with his top knot. Another question - Do you have a processor in mind that produces the blankets? Last year was my first for having sheep sheared and I sent the wool off - some to be processed into yarn and some into roving (which I sold on Etsy). Have a great day!

April 18, 2009 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Sonya said...

I am so excited for you! I am so excited for the sheep! Can't wait to see the photos and I am living through your dream right now.


April 18, 2009 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger White Feather said...

I'm so excited and I don't even know you! I'm always happy to see someone working towards their dream. Passion for something is such a motivator. I can't wait to see you post at the end of the day. Hope you are enjoying the heck out of it and learning what you need to learn. Soak up all the good stuff. Some day you WILL have helpers and music and all that stuff. For now-- you will have wool and some funny looking sheep! Hah!

April 18, 2009 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

hey all! The shearing is done, what a morning! I'll post all about it tonight for sure, with lots of photos.

Kathleen - Maude's a Border Leicester, and the boys are half Romney/Border Leicester. Talk about wool... I got about 25+ pounds off those guys!

April 18, 2009 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger spinyurchin said...

Can't wait to see the pics! Congratulations to you and the sheep!

April 18, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous AmyKortuem said...

Congratulations! And of course you're close to the big dream. You're three sheep and a whole lot of experience closer than you were three years ago, right? More power to you (and the sheep) as the years go on. Can't wait to read about your adventures when you post later on!

April 18, 2009 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger White Feather said...

Woo hoo!!! I'm so happy for you. Do you plan to dye some yourself?

April 18, 2009 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

They look so excited...hope it went well!

April 18, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger SouthFella said...

Hey There

I found you via MotherEarth... I have enjoyed reading your posts in homesteading.

Won't the sheep get cold without their "sweater " ?

Anyway I can get a bit of "raw wool " ? Show it to my cityslicker friends around here .

April 18, 2009 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Charlene Jaszewski said...

Hi I just discovered you on the Good Food podcast. A few years back i got very into spinning my own yarn, and found that people get very rabid about it, first buying prepared fiber, then cleaned fleece, then buying "in the grease" fleece, finally getting their own sheep! I never got that far, but your mentioning lanolin made me nostalgic for the first grease fleece I had! And also for my spinning wheel which is at my parent's house in Wisconsin (I'm in New York).
anyway I am very interested in going this direction and look forward to your posts.

April 18, 2009 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Jean said...

this is a day to remember! I'm so pleased you had a great time on this milestone day.

April 18, 2009 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Gardengurl09 said...

Merry Meet, Jenna. I just finished reading your book today and wanted to stop by and say haloo. I really enjoyed the book. You have a very endearing way of writing and "talking at us." I live in CA on the teeniest of would be homesteads and--like you, have dreams of much bigger operations in the future. Just wanted to say "you done good."

April 18, 2009 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger English Animist said...

I too just found your blog via mother earth. I can't wait to read all your back posts and catch up.

April 18, 2009 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

You say just 3...I sheared just one last spring and was sore for two days. You are doing right. working up to it slow. Learning as you go. how cool is this???

April 19, 2009 at 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Sandy Henderson said...

How exciting to see you following your dream. If you are ever in Georgia, come join us for bonfires, guitars and wine as it's one of our favorite past times.

April 19, 2009 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

I'm loving this blog so much! Congrats to all on the spring 'do's. Whoever is in that top photo really is "butt-

I would also like to see more about your chickens. I'd love to have a tiny flock, but I'm am intimidated by the responsibility - what if one gets sick or hurt because of me? I think, though, that the universe is telling me to go for it (long story). Your experiences are so inspiring!

April 19, 2009 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Dawn Dutton said...

Hi Jenna,
Loved your book... and really enjoy your blog. I was wondering where you send your wool off to be processed? I used to have a friend who did it locally but she upped and moved on us to Vermont or New York and have lost touch with her.
Good luck with all your endeavors.
You are amazing! Dawn

April 20, 2009 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

What a great post! It's so poetic and it made me laugh. Heck, I'd say you're doing pretty well! It's okay that experience starts small. It can always grow bigger.

April 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

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