December 08, 2022

From the Pastures: Planning ahead

Happy New Year! I usually do not make very many New Year’s resolutions, but this year I did try to think of some for the farm and fiber mill business. I would like to attend — probably virtually — at least one educational seminar on improving flock health. No matter how long I have been raising sheep, there is always something more to learn. Marketing is an area that I struggle with for the mill and shop business. I plan to do more studying and investigation into the marketing area for 2022.

The weather has not been too wintry yet in northern Illinois. The sheep are all doing well. We had to move the Shetland ram out of the pen with the ewes a little earlier than normal. He was destroying the walls of the pen and bullying the ewes. The shorter time should not be an issue at lambing time. The ewes had time to cycle a couple times. I plan to add a different ram to that pen just to be sure.

January is a great time to wear wool items and promote wool. Last spring, my husband and I both purchased sheepskin jackets. He picked out a sheepskin bomber jacket. I picked a beautiful tan sheepskin coat with a hood that extends to about mid-thigh. These coats are very warm and soft. They sure make the single-digit temperatures easier to tolerate.

The American Wool Council’s American wool website has several benefits and facts about wool fibers. Wool absorbs many times its weight in moisture and does not feel damp. This keeps your skin dry and warm. Wool is also a natural insulator. Check out more interesting characteristics of wool at

Wishing a good lamb crop to all whose flocks are lambing now.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.