Monday, September 22, 2014

Shearing in the Fall?

 Yep. Our sheep get shorn twice a year. We have Icelandic sheep which are considered triple purpose sheep: wool (and lots of it!), meat and milk. These hardy sheep grow an inch of wool, or more, a month   which can allow for bi-annual shearing. It was a bit depressing to have to watch their magnificent fleeces be taken from them, especially as the nights are getting colder, but the relief comes during these last few 90 degree days, that they aren't burdened by the heat.

We actually had a shearing party which ended up being quite the event. This was the first year we have hired someone to come do this intensive work (although he made it look pretty easy…) of shearing. Neighbors and friends from out of town came prepared with beer, snacks and a lot of anticipation. Our shearer, Clint Goodwin, is apparently pretty reputable in the Pacific Northwest and teaches one of the only sheep shearing courses left in the United States today. The next course is this coming April in Tri-Cities, WA. My husband had the good fortune of accompanying Clint at another farm about 20 miles down the road from us and was able to have a hand with electric shearers and some first class training with Clint. He came home with a sore back and I got about 5 pounds of beautiful roving from the Columbia sheep they were shearing that day. Lucky me!

So, now we have some very naked looking sheep and I get to spend the next few days skirting and washing their fine coats to and send off to a local wool mill to be made into roving and batting. The plan is to start an Etsy page to start earning some money from our homestead. Work less (away from home) and playfully work more (at home).