January 18, 2022

From the Pastures: Mill has been busy

December, for us in northern Illinois, has been pretty mild, not much snow at all and mild temperatures. I am certainly not complaining. The older I get, the less I like the cold weather. We have all our preparations for winter completed. The barn is ready to give the sheep a good place to get out of any harsh weather. My son-in-law was great help fixing the backdoor and all of our other projects. A local farmer gave us some big metal crates that hold plastic inserts for farm fertilizer. The boys cut the plastic out, leaving the metal frame. These work great for holding hay.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we sorted the ewes, moving the yearlings and 2-year-olds in with our new black ram. My niece has some of her sheep at our place, and we put hers in with the ram also, next year’s 4-H projects. I am really excited to see the lamb colors that the dark ram throws. We have had a lot of demand for the Shetland’s fiber. I am really hoping for some different colors.

The mill has been busy with processing several different kinds of wool and alpaca. Thankfully, there has been a lot of interest in the yarn and roving we process from our sheep’s wool. Since the weather has been so nice, I was able to do a lot of dying. The most popular is a sky blue color with a little plum color and turquoise color mixed in. I dye each color separate and then mix them together when carding the wool. It spins to a very pretty yarn. I can’t wait to see what people make from my yarn.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.