Saturday dawned bright and clear and dry – perfect for the task at hand: shearing the flock. It’s been such a rainy summer, that every one of them has a dirty fleece, even the little Romneys with their coats of chocolate and caramel.
Colin, the sheep whispering magician that he is, enticed and cajoled each reluctant sheep out of the pen and onto the shearing space without much ado. Afterwards, there was the usual “who the hell are you?” reacquainting out in the pasture; much head butting and shoving as each came to terms with their fleece-less appearance.
I’ve sold the last three shearings to Tammy White at Wing & A Prayer farm, mostly because I haven’t had the time or the dedicated space to devote to processing the wool myself. This time, I intend to hang on to a few and try my hand at this myself: washing, carding, and even spinning a few skeins for hand dyeing.
It is a most satisfying thing to watch as each fleece is sheared off to fall into a luxurious pile of crimp and curl. As I gather, label, and bag these gifts of the season, I can’t help but marvel at their beauty and reminisce over moments spent tending to each one of my flock as Spring became Summer, which has now edged towards Fall.
There was a seasonal routine to my past life as a teacher, too – a somewhat predictable structure around which to organize my new farming life. I’ve learned that structure and predictability are to be much appreciated in these uncertain and chaotic times.