Today I got a wonderful treat in the mail– three boxes full of beautiful wool roving mill processed from my flock. Up until now I’ve been doing all of my wool processing by hand but as the flock has grown its become too time consuming. Also, mill prepared roving is nicer to work with and more appropriate for selling to other people. So after this spring’s shearing I bundled up the fleeces from Jeb, Francine, Kelly and Kaylee and sent them off to Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan to be washed and carded into roving. I’m definitly going to be keeping some of this wool for myself (and for you, mom!) but I got back 6lb of Francine, 4lb of Jeb and about 3lb of the Kelly/Kaylee blend which is far more wool than I have time to spin and knit. If you’d like a little bit of my flock for your own spinning, please check out our Etsy shop where I have all three colors listed.
People often ask me “why” I raise sheep and I don’t have a very good answer for them. Nothing concise and definite. Its just that, well, I like having sheep (and other livestock). A little bit of it is my independent streak enjoying the self sufficiency of it, I suppose, but that is more of a justification than a real reason. If I feel stressed or depressed or anxious or any of those other pesky negative emotions the best therapy, for me, is to do something active outside. I’m not much into sports, though, so my “therapy” is either gardening or working with the animals. I never feel as good as when I’m thoroughly exhausted and sore after a fruitful day of hard work on the farm. I’ve never felt so much unbridled fear and confusion as when I experienced my first lambing and thought that the baby was dead (she just walked around with the face sticking out for what seemed like forever!) but the other side of that is the overwhelming joy and amazement that I felt when the little lamb actually started to move and I realized that everything was ok (she ended up being a beautiful, healthy little ewe lamb we named Liisu). I’ve never felt so powerless as when one of the goats, Thelma, ate some bad mushrooms and was listless and had diarrhea for days. I expected her to be dead every time I went out to check on her. But when she pulled through and got better on her own (there isn’t anything you can do when they eat something like that, other than try to keep them hydrated) I realized something important. Yes, I am a control freak. But when you connect to nature and life at its foundations you lose that, admittedly false, sense of control. Every step you take closer to nature puts you a step closer to the wild chaos that is life at its essence. And as a life long control freak, I find that to be challenging and difficult, but also exhilarating. With dirt under my fingernails, hair nibbled by kids and numerous unmentionable bodily fluids staining my shirt (we did just finish lambing and shearing season, after all..) I’m slowing learning to release my iron grip on control. After all, most of it was never in my control to begin with!