An event that is always intertwined with the birth of lambs at Whitefish Bay Farm is our annual fleece sale. We shear the sheep just prior to the beginning of lambing. We then spend the time in between shearing and lambing preparing the fleeces for sale. By the time that lambing is nearly completed, we are ready to sell our fleeces on-line. The sale usually lasts, at best, a day and a half. Its intensity is even greater than the busiest single day of lambing.

The information that follows is intended primarily for our fleece customers (past, present and future). For those of you following the Ewe Turn for other reasons, we hope that you will also find some of this to be interesting.

We have nearly finished with the final skirting, sorting and evaluation of all the fleeces. When that task will actually be finished depends upon the cooperation of the few ewes who are still pregnant. If all goes smoothly, we hope to have fleeces ready for sale by early to mid April. Before the sale day, a number of things will happen for all of our fleece customers.

Previous and Current Customers – For all of you who have purchased fleeces from us within the last two years, we have just sent you an email to alert you to the information that you are currently reading on our blog. That email is also intended to verify that you are still using the email address we had for you a year ago. In the near future, we will re-contact you regarding the fleeces that you purchased last year. If you purchased one or more fleeces from us last year, you will get the opportunity to reserve the fleece(s) from the same sheep again this year. This assumes that the sheep is still with us, and that the fleece does not have an imperfection that makes it unsuitable for sale (e.g. a wool break). We will ask you to reply with your decision if you wish to again purchase this fleece(s). We cannot and will not reserve any other fleeces ahead of time. We will also alert you to the exact date of the upcoming sale.

Potential New Customers – If you have contacted us since last year’s fleece sale and given us your email address, we will send you an email prior to the sale date so that you will know exactly when it will occur.

Buying Fleeces – If you are new to the sale, be aware that the fleeces tend to sell very quickly! Pay attention to the date and time of the sale and do not procrastinate! On the day of the sale, we attempt to answer your emails and phone calls as quickly as possible. As previous customers know, things get very hectic that day, but we will work things out. There are just the two of us and the technology we are using is slow and relatively primitive. (We have no pool of “operators standing by waiting for your call”!) This procedure is imperfect. We will do our best to get you the fleeces that you want. We will also be happy to discuss any of the fleeces with you once they are ready for sale. We have left all of our listings of fleeces from 2009 up on our web site to help you as a memory jogger. The fleece listings start at our Fleece Page.

Address changes – It is important for us to know ahead of time if you have changed addresses (postal and/or e-mail) since last April. If you have a new address and have not already notified us of it, please let us know now, so that we do not miss contacting you and so that your fleece order does not get shipped to an old address (that has happened!).

If you do not want to purchase fleeces from us in 2010, or you wish to be removed from our mailing, list please let us know right away. The correct e-mail address to use is:

Shipping– We will make every effort to ship the fleeces in the least expensive fashion without jeopardizing the welfare of the wool. Please recognize that the cost of any form of shipping continues to rise dramatically. If you have a method of shipping that you prefer, even if it is more expensive, we will honor your wishes.

We are also quite happy to ship fleeces directly to a processor if you wish to have it washed and carded by them. We have had experience using a number of processors; we are happy to discuss our opinions of each as it relates to Corriedale fleeces. We also have some very strong feelings regarding certain of our fleeces that should not be sent to a commercial carder, if you are to maximize the fleece’s beauty. If you prefer direct shipment to a processor, you will need to have processing instructions ready for us when it is time to ship the fleece.

Feedback– As always, we welcome feedback from you regarding our fleeces. If there is a way in which we can improve our product, we would like to know about it. If you have questions or problems that we may be able to help with, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from each of you and we hope that we will provide you with some wonderful fleeces in 2010. Take good care….