Update on Shearing! Fence Posts and Wool Drum Carding
Elsa is now sheared! Yay for trying new things! Second attempt was much easier. Kept the blades against her body consistently and her fleece came off in mostly one piece. :) I'm grateful for having a helping hand this time as well. Much easier when first starting to have someone help hold the sheep or move a leg while just learning to do it. Youtube and watching professionals make it look so easy since they shear upto 100+ sheep a day in peak shearing season. Moving a sheep from one position to the next is probably second nature at that point. But I will get there! It was nice to have Elsa to practice on who's fleece wouldn't be used for spinning anyway.
The fence posts are in! Sunday a few helpers came and the last two paddocks posts went in lickidy-split. The "Fence Party" was successful! Thank you Mendy, Jim, Wayne and Chase! Also, thanks to Mason for giving water to everyone and Jennifer for bringing us lunch! There was a moment when I was pulling Mason in his wagon, I stopped and looked around at just how much work has gone into this land and the fence to get us here. The transformation is mind blowing. Hard work really pays off as cliche as that sounds. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, poison oak/sumac are all part it. There is a video showing Mason being pulled around and the fence from the center of the run were the barn will go. Check it out! Ronin, the rottweiler, was of course loving every minute of being with us. The only down side was his favorite stick was always one that was on the burn pile. :) lol.
The fence posts were all cut from cedar trees that were on the land. So we have cleaned, cut, and hauled 250+ posts that were pushed in for the fence. For the sheep and aplaca, we designed 5 paddocks for rotational grazing with a central run connecting them to the barn and other paddocks. In theory, this setup will be perfect for me to shuffle sheep around and manage the pasture rest periods. There will still be larger gates on the interior fence lines for tractors to pass through if needed.
Next step is top rails and the main posts for the barn. We started drilling the post holes for the barn last night and ran into rock, after larger rock, after never ending rock. So lots of slow progress, but two posts are in holes but not set in yet. On a good note, the pad for the barn is already level!
One evening earlier this week I did get a chance to actually play with the fiber that all this work is for! A wonderful reminder that not only do I love sheep because they are
amazing animals, but the passion is also in working with the fiber that they lovingly produce year round. I carded quite a few batts on my standard brother drum carder. They came out beautifully! I've only had the carder a few months and haven't had a chance to use it that much with the fence going in, but I think I've finally figured out how to make a nice batt that could go straight to the spinning wheel! I think my only frustration is that this drum carder doesn't seem to have a brush attachment or accessory kit to compact the fiber on to the drum. Does anyone have any suggestions on compressing the fiber down on to the drum? I've seen videos of someone using a dog brush?
This was a beautiful spring week! Mason and I have loved this weather and have been outside as much as we could be. The sheep were moved to a larger pasture this weekend and are loving the new space. The alpaca went to a dusty area and rolled soon after the move. :) Overall, a very productive week!