Sheeples was so much fun! By the end of the day we were pooped, in more ways that one.
We had to get up early, because our ride was picking us up at 7:30. Although the trip wasn't very long, we took two breaks, because we ended up making better time than expected... well, until the very last bit, that is... we took a wrong turn and ended up on some rather deserted, ramshackle "gravel" roads (more like slick mud, after yesterday's rain) that didn't match the directions we had. We did eventually make it there, and even beat some of the other cars.
When we got there, other knitters were already there. We got to play with the bottle babies (lambs whose mothers had rejected them) while we waited. And we got to pick them up!!!
There were five little lambs for us to snuggle: two black, two brown, and one wee white one that had only been born the night before.
Ouch! One little guy thought I might be good to eat!
The little white lamb was really weak, and rather touch and go. When we got there, she looked like a rag, and about to die! When she stood up, Noricum couldn't resist the shivering little princess, and held her to warm her up.
Um... note the position of my carry-bag in this photo. Sheep are not toilet trained. I'm sure she didn't mean it...
...and how can you stay mad at something so sweet?
The ground was really muddy and full of puddles from all the rain on Friday.
It was tricky walking around, but Noricum managed to keep her feet dry and not mucky.
Here's a bunch of the ladies:
The boys were rather stand-offish:
Random farm photos:
This year there were some spotted lambs for the first time:
The ewes need to be shorn as soon as they lamb, otherwise they can't feel their lambs nursing, and get worried about where they are whenever they aren't directly in front of them. However, if you try to shear a sheep before the weather gets warm, the lanolin is still deep in the wool, and so you need to wash the clippers in hot, soapy water between each pass... I imagine the sheep would get a little annoyed at how long that takes.
Then we went into the workshop, and saw how the fibre gets prepared. Most of the skirting is done when they're shorn, the rest and the picking gets done here:
This is the machine that does the carding:
They always do at least two passes on the carder. They can either take it off the carder as a big batt, or as thick roving. Here it's coming off as roving:
Pindrafting and combing is done by this machine:
(Notice Princess getting the royal treatment... she stayed with us nearly the whole day, with just a brief break for lunch.)
Here's the roving going into the pindrafter:
This machine does the spinning:
Somehow, Noricum forgot to take a photo of the giant machine for skeining the yarn.
A photo of our group, plus the bottle lambs:
Speaking of bottle lambs, that's how the farm got it's name Sheeples: bottle babies that believe they're people, not sheep!
Then it was back indoors for a spinning lesson:
There were only two wheels, so most people learned on spindles. People could try on the wheels if they wanted to. (Noricum brought her wheel to bring the number up to three, but apparently her wheel is a single-woman wheel... see her blog for more details... she'll add a link after she's written that post.)
Here's the yarn and roving Noricum bought, with her tiny spindle-spun skein:
The brown yarn is sooooo soft. It's from a yearling, but Kim couldn't remember which one. The green yarn is from Charlie, and was handspun by Kim. The pin-drafted roving is from a dyed "melon" roving combined with some roving from Monkey.
*sigh* ... I'm looking a little worse for wear, but I had *such* a fun time!
...and a bubble bath cures many ills. ;)
PS: Noricum will be posting even more photos on her blog.