Six Days To Go...and Fleece!

The countdown continues...just six more days and those wooly critters will be home with us...although they won't be as wooly as they are now because they will be sheared first! My son said it will be like taking our dog, Black Beary, to the groomer to be shaved...you take a dog in and get a puppy back!

 

 

 

 
In the meantime, what have we finished and what do we still have left to do? Dear Husband mounted the 2x4 for the mineral mix and salt feeders to attach to, but it's been so cool and rainy that we haven't been able to hook up the power washer to scrub down the hay feeder. I may end up taking out a bucket of hot, soapy water with a scrub brush - I did something similar to clean out the new water trough because it had a coating of gray dust inside of it (probably something from either manufacture or shipping), so I scrubbed it out and it's all ready to go. Speaking of the water trough, my kids and I got a ring of nice, flat rocks set up for the trough to rest on - the next thing to do is get some more flat rocks for the bottom "belly" of the trough to rest on so that it doesn't bend and warp out of shape from the weight of the water. Phew...this is starting to sound like giving a mouse a cookie...one thing just leads to another. Okay, a list - what is left to do before Mikey, Panda Bear, and Black Velvet come home:
  • Wash hay feeder and get Dear Husband to do a few renovations to it.
  • Get all rocks placed for water trough.
  • Bolster fence where barn waste was hauled over the top of it - just needs another post to steady it in that spot.
  • Bring home barley straw from Lee's place and get it spread out on the floor of their barn.
  • Bring home mineral mix from Lee's place, and get it out to the storage area along with the hay and salt I bought the other day.
My goodness...I think that's it!  I mean, yes, it would be nice to have been able to paint the barn before the 15th, but the weather is not going to cooperate, so that will be a job for the summer! We're so close to being ready - it's so exciting!
 
A word about barley straw - WHY does it have to be so difficult to find????? Here's my saga, but in shortened form - I found out from Lee that barley straw is better than wheat straw to use for the sheep's bedding because wheat straw is dirty - barley straw is typically much cleaner, which is better for the animals overall. But barley straw is more difficult to come by - which I find odd because Idaho is supposed to be one of the largest producers of barley in the country! So where the heck is all the straw?? Well, I found two sellers of barley straw on craigslist that are close enough to drive to - but neither one of these are at all interested in returning my phone calls and texts. I'm not sure why somebody would go to the trouble to advertise on craigslist if they're not going to follow through when potential customers call...seems counterproductive in my mind. Fortunately, Lee has a barn or two full of barley straw because she bought tons of it a couple of years ago, so I can buy some from her. I'm just hoping that as we get closer to harvest time, there will be more barley farmers out there who are trying to sell their straw!
 
And now...about fleece! I have the October fleeces from each of my sheep that I purchased from Lee, and I started skirting, scouring, and prepping Panda Bear's. Here are some fun before and after pics:
 

Pretty Panda Bear
 

Her October 2014 fleece
 

Close up, showing the inner and outer coats
 

After scouring
 

And after combing - all ready to spin!
 
Kind of a fun shot - before and after, with my Viking combs in the middle:
 
 
I was amazed at how long it took me just to comb that much - after about 45 minutes of solid work, I had almost 1 ounce! That's not very much, so now I know that handcombing is quite labor-intensive, and I have to give myself extra time to get it done - no rush jobs for that!! Fortunately, I have a drum carder on the way, so I will be able to process some of the fleece more speedily, and hopefully be able to get my shop up and running!
 
And all because of some sweet, sheepy faces that I fell madly in love with!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Comments

Jill McCullough

I can't believe you are getting so close. IT'S HAPPENING!!!!!! This is so huge; your dream coming true!!!! You have worked so hard for this.... gah!!!!!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!

Jennifer Bogut

I just love you to pieces - I know if you were here, we'd be holding hands and dancing around the room together! :D HUGS HUGS HUGS! :D

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