Thursday, the sheep shearer did indeed show up. He backed his big pickup truck into the barn and set up a metal frame from which to hang up the shearing motor over his head. Then, he laid out a big felt pad on the floor and went right out to grab the first customer. I had cleaned out the stall, stashed the chickens in the coop, and tricked the goat and sheep into the enclosed area of the barnyard so they could be captured easily — well, relatively easily. They don’t do much to help.
I had brought out our bathroom scale so he could weigh them, and was surprised that under all that hair, Dot is considerably bigger and heavier than her sister. If anything, I’d have guessed the opposite because Dot is the most timid and least likely to get a big share at mealtime. Now, they look like cautious little deer as they peer at me suspiciously from a distance. This is a bit of a problem because I have to give them their annual vaccines and worming medicines. I managed to corner Dot in the goat shed and press her against the wall long enough to administer the two injections. Cookie runs if it even looks like I might be coming her way. Somehow, I’ll have to get ahold of her soon while the meds are still fresh.
Eddy is the same big lug as always, right there next to me to see what trouble he can cause. I opened up a new section of the pasture for them as a treat for enduring the shearing. It was the section with the three black gum trees we planted in the fall. I hadn’t even finished hooking up all the electric fences before Eddy started peeling bark off the tree trunks. The little jerk! I had to quickly chase him off and go restring the fence as it was before. My husband will build some sort of fencing to put around the trunks before we open it up again.
My next trick will be to wash and dye all this new fiber. The procedure for the wool is different than for the mohair but I researched and printed it out for my folder in the barn.
I have to decide on this year’s color scheme. Maybe I should start out with the first year’s wool being natural color, no dying at all. I could do Eddy’s mohair in gentle earth tones for a fuzzy contrast. Hmmm, I’ve got to give this some thought. I normally make a day of it so that after I wash the fiber, I get right on with the dying and don’t have to dry or re-wet it in between sessions. However, now I have three times as much to work with.
So, one more “first” on the farm has been faced and conquered. Each new experience gives me a bit more confidence and another skill in my toolkit. I wish someone was giving me badges like they did when I was a little girl scout. I’d have quite the sash to wear by now!