Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What's on my bobbin

It's been a very busy week here at Wheely Wooly Farm! Not only have we had lots to do, but we've had some pretty interesting weather to ride out as well. Wouldn't you know, it came just when we were scheduled to be on the road traveling! Sigh....

So anyway, the fleece on my wheel today belongs to our goofy wether, Wilbur. He's sort of a "Lassie"-type personality, and we love him. I sheared him last spring and am just now beginning to spin his fiber. It's pretty on the wheel...picture coming tomorrow.

The big storm that was amazing was first thought to miss us. Then, as the wind began screaming and snow flying sideways, the reports started coming in that we'd get hit with more than originally thought. We were ready. I had run the boys in the day before, just in case. Here again, I'm so grateful I've taught my sheep to be ok with handling! I haltered Wooly Bear and all together, we bounded through the drifts to get to the barn. They were afraid and stuck together as though glued together, but once their little hooves hit the concrete in the barn, they leaped and leaped! Tearing around the corner, they made their way right into their pen and found a smorgasbord of supper. It's extremely cozy to have everyone tucked in the barn with the wind raging outside, and sheepies contentedly chewing cud inside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every year, about this time, I start getting worried about the quality of fleece I'm raising here. Things don't seem as soft or spinnable.......but then I just touch the fleeces and I'm again reminded that the fleeces are FROZEN! Yes, the fleeces get stiff right on the sheep's backs. Of course, the fiber never feels as soft when this happens! Then, on a day like today, the fleeces start thawing out a bit and I just can't keep my hands off their backs! And I stop worrying.

So the storm raged all night long, shaking the house and reducing visibility to nearly nothing. The morning dawned with bad news...schedules were all changed around and we were supposed to hit the road! Everyone in the barn was fine, but the snow had blown in through every little seam and crack it could find...I had to SHOVEL the barn aisle! After we got out on the road, I was shocked. I have never seen such tall drifts...some as high as the tops of road signs. The crest of our hill was nearly drifted shut. Driving through was a tight squeeze while bashing newly forming mini-drifts with tires at the same time. Now, a day later, the road is still virtually one lane through there. I don't know how the plows can possibly fix that! The drifts there are over five feet tall. Amazing! The rest of the road was terribly drifted but the plows worked hard to get it all cleaned away.

We ended up going on our trip because our farm was close to the northern edge of this amazing and massive storm, and we were headed north. Sure enough, within a few short miles, we were out of it! AMAZING! Just a normal bright, sunny, mild winter day there!

So we made our trip just fine, and the schedules all worked out, but I have to admit, this storm scared me on some deeper level. I've grown up with storms, but this one was just different somehow..... of dyed yarns on the bobbins, and Wilbur's fiber. Fun!

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