It is difficult to believe that it is already the second week of May. So much seems to be happening, yet so much does not seem to be getting finished. Spring is still dragging its heels. It is cooler than normal (a frost warning for this weekend!) but at least we are starting to get some much needed rain. The pastures are slow to grow, perhaps at least the ewes with lambs may get to start grazing this week. There still is not enough forage to let the remaining dry ewes join the main flock.
Getting the pastures ready for grazing has been a major task this year. The winter has been tough on the fences and water lines. The snow load was heavy enough on the fences that a couple of posts were broken. The wires and their tensioners were ripped lose or broken. Strangely the snow and strong winds did not bring down any large trees along the fence lines, but did deposit a couple into the edges of the hay fields. The sub-freezing weather arrived so quickly that much of the waterlines to the pastures froze before we could drain them. Nearly half of the connectors which allow us to plug in the water buckets were blown out of the pipes. Luckily the majority of that ice damage involved re-connecting the segments, a tedious job, but not unpleasant on a warmer sunny day.
The Bed & Breakfast is open. For this the sheep are glad. At least they are getting to visit with someone else besides the two of us. They can suck up to all sorts of folks who let them get away with it and who enjoy it almost as much as we do. This is the time when the friendly lambs really shine and some of the shier lambs surprise us by suddenly learning that getting a scratch under the chin can be a good thing.
Next on the schedule horizon is the 15th annual Shepherds’ Market, which takes place this next weekend (May 16th and 17th). The web site covers the event in general. Right now let’s look at some of what Whitefish Bay Farm will be offering for sale. Since most of our raw fleeces have already been sold, our offerings at the Market will be concentrated on yarns and roving.
Gretchen has spent her “free time” this winter and spring huddled up with her drum carder creating all sorts of colorful blends of fiber. The bulk of each roving batt that she has prepared is based upon wool from our flock of Corriedale sheep. Some of that wool is in its natural shade (white, grays, black or brown). Other batts have a Corriedale base which has been dyed in a rainbow of colors. In addition most of the batts have other fibers (natural colored and/or dyed) blended into them. In the mix is mohair (from angora goats), angora (from angora rabbits) or wool from a number of different breeds of sheep. It is always a treat to open the trunk in which most of the batts have been stored. The sensation has been that of releasing a rainbow. Most of the batts weigh around three ounces, enough to permit a generous amount of spinning, depending upon ones style and preference.
There will be lots to see and to buy at the Shepherds’ Market. Hopefully you can stop by and enjoy the festivities.