It’s the first week of March and I still feel like we are mid-winter! The groundhog, the calendar, the birds, they all think that spring is just around the corner, but I’m dubious. It may just be that because lambing season is at that midway point. Half of the sheep have lambed; we have 30+lambs right now. Yesterday I had two ewes that were obviously in labor. I watched them and they just didn’t get busy. When I had help in the barn I checked them. They were just beginning to dilate. It was very late last night when the first one delivered and then early this morning the second one. As I look at the pen of pregnant ewes, it looks like we could have a couple of days to rest up before the next group is ready. As hard as it seems to continually keep check on these sheep, it is very rewarding. The lambs are bouncing around the barn now. If this cold weather would just break so that I didn't spend so much time putting on the layers of clothes it would be so much easier.
What a great day we had, the weather was very co-operative, I worried a little on Saturday that there would be snow in New Hampshire and Gwen would have trouble getting to us. Everything worked out, Gwen made it with no trouble, most of the day we were able to keep the barn doors open, it was so warm, and my help was outrageous! It fell together just like we had planned, just one week later.
I know that many of you could not make it this year because of the last minute change of date and I’m sorry for that. The good news for all of you is that we are thinking of changing our shearing strategy. Gwen and I spoke about maybe shearing in the fall and having the open house then. We will need to shear again before lambing, but the open house would be in the fall. We are still in the planning stages of this so stay tuned.
This year I was able to stay at the skirting table for most of the day! I know it must be a sickness, but how I love those warm fleeces coming right off of the sheep! There is nothing like it! The crimp, the luster, the lanolin! Gwen is such a great shearer she keeps us right on task! Just as soon as you hear the blades stop you must go on to the next fleece. Each fleece is skirted, which means that we remove much of the hay and other debris that has found its way onto the fleece and we grade the fleece by how we feel it will work out for a hand spinner. This year hay was the enemy. The sheep seemed to be having a wonderful time spreading the hay all over themselves and each other. We did score one fleece a perfect 10. We had a few very close 9’s, and many that may work their way into the hands of hand spinners after I spend some time with them. We also selected some very soft fleeces that will be going to the mill to be made into yarn for the knitters. Look for new yarn on the webpage later this year.
Now with the fleeces off the sheep it is very obvious that we will be busy in the next month with new lambs. The ewes udders are filling up and their bellies are growing! It won’t be long now!!
Many thanks to my barn crew and The Yarn Shop crew! Thank you all for giving of your time to help us and show so many visitors what it takes to get the wool from the sheep to finished product. Most of all thank you Gwen! It is always a pleasure to have you at the farm and to watch you work with the sheep!