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Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Fleece Appreciation Post

I've been slowly working my way through skirting the 2015 fleeces, mostly trying to get the "sold" fleeces done first as I know people are looking forward to receiving them, but picking some for fun too because I can't wait to see what they look like.  


In years past we've stuck a name tag inside the sheet bag.  This year we stuck a tag inside and pinned one on the outside.  Why that took so many years to figure out...I don't know.  


Is that really you, Woody?  I knew he was dark under there, but wow!


Yep, I'd know that white spot anywhere :-).


How pretty is that!  I believe Woody is headed to the fleece competition at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this year.


Here's the most exciting part.  This is the top of his back BEFORE I started picking out hay and straw.  This post should be titled A KATE Appreciation Post.


Beanie Baby, again before picking.

When we were looking for a new Border Collie, I was mostly looking for a nice companion dog...who could also help me learn more about sheep herding.  I don't have any interest in trialing, but thought it would be nice to be able to do some things like move my sheep from field to field during the summer rotations.

Turns out there are all sorts of jobs a well trained dog can help you do :-).  Figuring out adding the two gates to the end of the sheep stalls and having Kate move everyone outside when I was setting out hay has paid off huge in fleece quality this year.  Our fleeces are, well, fleeces to be really proud of.  


Beanie Baby folded over and ready to roll.  He's headed to the KSFF as well.


Daniel.  I wish he'd stayed darker red/brown, but he's still beautiful.  See how he's getting lighter and lighter as his fleece grows?  He's almost white at the cut end (from next to his skin, the newest growth).


I think I'll call this "still life with treats and fleece" haha.  Note the "dirty" wool touching my apple. Yep, I ate it anyway ;-).  Oh, had a couple questions about the Cheerios yesterday.  Yes, sheep love Cheerios.  I can't remember how we got started on Cheerios.  Was it just for Maisie (who Will Not Eat Cookies - could she be any wackier? ;-) or was it for the old sheep with no teefers?  Anyone?  


Renny

I've had the same awesome shearing "crew" for the last few years.  As we were getting ready this year, Karen started looking through the stack of sheets for "Renny's Sheet".  I told her I wasn't going to pull that sheet out for Renny this year.  I felt like Renny was just one of the sheep now and her past wasn't part of her present and she shouldn't be singled out.

When it was her turn for a new 'do, I started to second guess myself.  Maybe it was important to keep Renny's sheet her special sheet.  Oh well, nothing to do about it now - we were up to our knees in wool and moving too quick to go searching for it.  As Renny stood back up, Stella handed me "her" sheet.  Thank you, Stella.


One of Renny's black spots.  I'm not sure if these spots over much of her back half are naturally there or if they are remnants of scarring.  I sometimes wonder if Renny ever thinks about what happened to her years ago.  I still can't help but look at her and just be amazed.  I guess you never truly escape your past.  Your story is your story.  Your sheet is important.

I listened to a great TED talk a couple years ago about a young lady who lived through a bad illness and lost her legs - wait, here it is, Amy Purdy.  I remember her saying something like "How do you want your story to end?"  I think Renny knew she didn't want her story to end in that muddy pond. That fleece is full of power.  I haven't decided if it's for sale this year. 


That's Renny getting ready to walk through the gate yesterday.  And yes, the grass is that green. We got another ton of rain last night so it will probably be even greener this afternoon :-o.


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