Monday, May 22, 2006
Wool, wool and MORE wool
The second picture is of my sheep before they were sheared. I breed for color with my sheep. I love the creams and the browns. I have way too many fleeces from my sheep. I need to sell some, but I never seem to get around to making up sample pictures, etc. I love the smell of the lanolin in the room that I store them in. I had a gorgeous dark brown sheep and was anxious to get his wool. However, when he was sheared, the whole underside of his fleece was a beautiful gray as you can see in the first picture. The Shetland wool is so easy to spin. I do cheat and send any wool that I will spin off to be washed and carded and made into a roving for me.
I had always thought of sheep as these quiet little creatures. I had a mental picture of goats as well. They were onery and ate tin cans and clothes off your lines. =) Well, my goats are the quiet ones. They are very shy with anyone except my husband and I. They just do more of little nickers. My sheep are VERY loud. I have both my sheep and my goats in the same little barn. They each have a side. When I go into milk the goats, the sheep can drown out any other noise. I love them though. They are very gentle.
There are always routines on a farm. The animals like routine, because they know what to expect. In the mornings, I go out to milk the goat. I usually have both dogs and one cat that tags along. Every once in awhile, one of the other barn cats tag along as well. I always give the first squirts of milk to the dogs. They sit right at the end of the stanchion waiting on this. We were told by an organic dairyman/friend that the first squirts should not be used. The dogs are more than happy with this arrangement. Then while the goats finish their feed, I get their hay. When I leave the goat shed the dogs and cat know that the next stop is the shed barn. I pour a bit of the milk in a bowl for the barn cats. I call the other ones and they all feast. Then I put a little tiny bit in 2 bowls to give the dogs a wee bit of a treat. They all run ahead of me to each place as they "know" the routine. In the evening, they do not get milk other than the squirts of milk while milking. My husband is usually back there with me in the evening. He helps with the chicken coop (gathering eggs and closing them in for the night) and gets fresh water for the goats. As we walk back up to the house, the dogs go off and do their own thing or stay with us.