These are the summer days I was dreaming of during the polar vortex in February. Interesting how much of a temperature swing there is between this week in July and the negative 30 degrees in February. In northern Illinois, there has been enough rain to keep the pastures and crops from burning up. I am hoping this trend continues to allow our pasture to grow a few more inches. It is close to a good length to cut for hay, but a couple more inches would be great. We are planning to bale it next week, if the weather cooperates. I need to get at least half a dozen large round bales for the winter. I am expecting a smaller number of bales because we cut the pasture off at the first of June.

The sheep are doing well in the heat. We have plenty of areas where all of them can get out of the sun. All of the barn doors are open to help get the best air flow through. I check the water at least twice a day and give them fresh water every day. Thankfully, it is cooling off at night, which helps.

The mill has been busy with a lot of different types of fiber. I made some very interesting yarn using scraps of wool sweaters. Spinning this was an experiment. I was not sure if the scraps would stay in the wool or fall out during processing. Some did certainly fall out, but the majority went through the machines and gave the yarn a bumpy look. I am glad that I tried this process, even though being skeptic at first. The yarn is really unique, and the customer is very happy.

Late summer is fair time in many counties and at the state level. I am a huge fan of county and state fairs. My family has shown livestock since my mom was a kid. The fair is a great family event for us, and I am happy to share the fair experience with my grandkids now. We will be in the county fair sheep barn again this year with my niece’s sheep. Other nieces and nephews will have cattle at the fair. Hopefully, you will get a chance to visit a fair and see all the agriculture demonstrations and displays. If you are at the Illinois State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 11, stop by the north sheep barn for the sheep shearing contest. Some of the top shearers in the country will be competing. The contest starts at 1 p.m.

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