A crazy winter seems to be roaring past us. It has been very cold and icy. It has also been very warm and sunny. Life up in the house has been alternately quiet and busy. Early on, we managed to complete a fairly good output of fiber projects, both weaving and knitting. A sampling of scarves:
Two of four blankets (so far… perhaps more to come):
All of the fiber activities came to a sudden pause in February. While cold, snowy days somehow do not seem appropriate for air conditioning up grades, it seems that it is the perfect time to schedule such work. We are now finished with the installation of central air conditioning. (It is our somewhat desperate response to the long hot and humid weather of last summer!) The crew that did the work were very considerate and efficient, but nonetheless the level of dust that was left after the job was finished meant that we still had lots of work to get things back to what we considered habitable conditions. We scheduled the work with the understanding that it had to be completed before we reached shearing. The basement is the central fleece processing area for us, and most of the major construction was in the basement. We are just about ready to start working on our fleeces. Only one event stands in the way, i.e. shearing.
Like last year we opted to shear a week or so later than we used to. This decision is based largely upon the fact that we are no longer lambing. Were we still lambing, the fleeces would have had to be removed at least a couple of weeks ago. Now, by shearing later, we can grant both the sheep and shepherds a little bit more comfort temperature wise. The last week we have spent considerable time and energy getting the flock and the barn ready for shearing. Hooves have been trimmed where needed. The lower part of the barn, (the area where we shear), has been fenced off and cleaned out. Some of the flock are more in need of shearing than others. Wool production varies with families and age. There are a number of sheep who still have pretty good forward vision. There are other who should be quite happy with a clean face. Cherie definitely needs a trim.
Willeta is also in a similar situation, in addition to which her jacket is exceeding full of wool.
On the other hand, Dana can still see clearly straight ahead. If facial grimaces are any indication, she may be looking toward shearing with mixed emotions.
Regardless of emotions, shearing will be taking place in the coming week. With any luck we will then have our fleeces ready for sale by early to mid April. Stay tuned!