Monday, January 28, 2008

Impatiently Awaiting Lambs....

Wow, what a busy weekend. On Saturday I went up to Mary's to help her crutch, vaccinate, and trim hooves on her tunis ewes. Olivia was there with her boyfriend, JW. Olivia is such a piece of work, but she sure helps make the time fly. When she heard that I had two rams' heads that needed the horns removed, she jumped at the chance to help do it, so Mary and I sent her and JW with Jimmy and Tony to do the job. I now have two sets of horns hanging in the rafters of the garage. They'll stay there till fall when I will take them to Dan King so he can use them to make shepherd's crooks. I went looking for a corner computer desk in the evening but didn't have any luck. I did stop by Kebab and Curry for dinner, so the evening wasn't an entire waste--the lamb rogan josh is spectacular!

Sunday Laura came up and we started crutching my sheep. After working all day, we still had eight left, but by then it was around 4:30 and we were both beat. You can tell age is catching up when your back starts hurting from bending over to shear. I am grateful for the karakuls, since they have hair on their bellies rather than wool and so overall are easier to crutch then the tunis. I can say that I certainly slept well last night (as did Twist, who had the day-long job of holding sheep in the pen for us so we could catch them as we needed them).

The photos here were actually taken in September, but I don't have anything real recent, so these will have to do. You can see the nice color I have in my karakul flock, and of course my lovely redheads the tunis.

This evening I used Lark to gather the flock so I could pull the limpers into the round pen for treatment. Funny how sheep that seem quite lame when walking around the pasture suddenly regain all ability to walk normally when a dog appears! I did finally manage to sort them off and will keep them confined for this week so I can treat their feet and see if I get any improvement.
I'll finish with the crutching this coming weekend, and then all I'll have to do is sit back and wait for lambs to start arriving. The earliest date is February 23, so I still have a while yet. Still I'm getting anxious--I am so ready for lambs. Of course I have the second wave to look forward to in April, but for now I'll be happy to get the February/March group done. This is one time when working from home most of the time will be a real advantage. I'll be able to keep a close eye on everyone.

The other bit of good news I found out today was that there's a mill in New Jersey where we can send wool to have made into blankets. Jimmy would very much like a grey karakul blanket, but seeing as how thier wool is rug quality I think it would make for a very scratchy blanket indeed. I will see if the mill can't blend it with some of our tunis wool and perhaps make a sort of tweed pattern so it will still be grey, but perhaps a bit softer. Since it doesn't look like I'm going to have a lot of time for rugmaking, this will allow me to use the past year's wool before it's time to shear again.

On a completely unrelated note, my sister Jean from St. Louis sent me a little gift package today. There was a lovely CD of harp-guitar music, some cat earrings, and a lovely little scrimshaw cross. Also some raspberry chocolate drizzle and some chocolate-dipped altoids. But the best item of all was the little container of dark chocolate-covered ginger. Yum!


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

You need to learn to spin :)
Tunis wool doesnt have the nicest hand in the wool world but it is fun to spin.
Speaking of lambs.... you just reminded me of what I have to do end of February, thanks a lot LOL
We wont have any lambs until mid-March... I dont like this time of year! Its kinda like Christmas, you wait and wait, the suspense builds until you cant possibly stand it any more!!! Then you have baby lambs (hopefully no bottle babies) all healthy and happy, it is so cool :)

Julie said...

I actually did take a basic class in spinning and can use a drop spindle, but as I told my former neighbor (who spins) sometimes you just gotta choose what you're willing to spend your time doing. And since the bulk of my flock has carpet-grade wool, it looks like I need to work on rugmaking and felting projects!

In truth I'd love to learn to weave. Looms are cost-prohibitive, but I've pretty much made up my mind that I will find a class somewhere and at least learn how, so when I can afford a loom of my own, I'll be ready to go.

If it makes you feel any better, I have to do the whole crutching thing sometime in March, since I have a second, smaller group lambing in April.