|Posted on 26 June, 2016 at 16:15|
First I should explain. This year we have downed the numbers of the sheep to balance out the grazing now that the herd of Dexters (cows) are growing.
We now only have 10 sheep and dory ( she thinks she is a dog, but in fact a sheep!) This year we decided to shear the sheep our selves!!!! Highly hilarious but equally exhausting. A fellow small holder from down the road came to watch, have a go, we should have perhaps sold tickets to the event, it was that extremely entertaining!!!!!
So in true 30something year old style we decided it couldn’t be that hard, and of course with the help of you tube we did it!! The fleeces were not too bad but a few of our ewes did resemble poodles by the time we were done.
So we have now overcome the hurdle of shearing. although It did take an entire day. On the bright side we saved ourselves a grand total of £25! Money we will be most definitely investing next year!
Now . What to do with the Fleeces?.............
a) Maybe I could spin them …..but I cannot spin…yet…
b) We could sell them to central wool growers, although we would only get a £1 a fleece.
c) Take them to a fleece sale, for local spinners to buy….perfect
So I have all my fleeces fairly well rolled and in an old sand bag ready to go …………..and our fellow smallholder turns up for cuppa again……. “you’re not taking them like that are you?”
Well apparently you need to have them all rolled individually and beautiful trimmed ( no staw or sh*t on them ) so……..another days work and I have them rolled and tied in true farmer style ..with twine. So I load them all up and off we go…………..
I turn up at the sale feeling slightly smug that I knew what I was doing and didn’t look like a complete novice…… oh how I was wrong …. The couple that organise the event gave me an area so off I popped to un load the truck in to my area just as I had finished the old chap came up to me and politely said “you’ve not done this before have you?”
Slightly blushed from hauling the fleeces from the truck to the mat I stand up and admit “nope. First time, how can you tell?”
apparently twine on a fleece is a big no no! I had not rolled to the correct protocol either but luckily the man ‘Alan’ took pitty on me and helped me take off all the twine, which he did comment on how well I had tied them and I had enough string to go round the barn we were in!! Alan helped me reroll, my pretty sad looking fleeces, ( compared to all the rare breed pretty fleeces). This took us at least 40 minutes with the watchful eyes of other farmers, professional looking fleece sellers! Slightly shamed but, in true Jenna fashion, tried to make light of the situation and made sure they all knew the reason why you shouldn’t use twine…… if any gets in the machine at the wool factory it will shut down the whole factory for a day or until they find the tiny bit of twine…….apparently everyone knew this except me!
After buying Alan a cup of tea we talked sheep and cattle I decided to make an exit and return after the sale to collect hopefully any money made.
So I roll up at 1 o’clock to collect my money, sadly with all my effort and ‘Alans’ we did not sell a single fleece although the lady did say that not many people had turned up for fleeces that normally do! So I loaded up my fleeces once again and another lady came over to me to ask how the sale had gone for me……I explained I think she took pitty on me too and talked me through what a spinner was looking for and darker fleeces give a richer colour when dyed. She also explained what the ‘spinners’ were looking for in a fleece……… my Mule sheep have very few of these qualities.
On the bright side we exchanged numbers and she is going to teach me to spin... not a whole day wasted.