December 08, 2022

From the Pastures: Keeping clean

Hopefully the groundhog is not correct and spring is closer than six weeks away. It has been cold the last few days and nights. The sheep are doing well, but stay in the barn most of the time. The north side of our barn has three doors. Two remain open this winter unless a big storm is predicted. Most of the sheep can go in and out.

The hay we put into big square bales is working well. It is easy to feed and the sheep are keeping good condition. We have some big metal crates that we made out of liquid fertilizer containers. These are helping manage the hay and hopefully keeping the sheep’s wool cleaner. A couple of the small Shetlands can get into the middle of the big crates. Once inside it takes them a while to find their way out. Guess they found a way to get around the bigger sheep.

The mill is busy with several different types of fiber. In the past month we have processed a lot of alpaca, Shetland wool, Icelandic wool, wool mixed with mohair and Romney wool. I have another online sale at the end of the month, so I am trying to get some of my Shetland wool ready. I worked with a very soft white Shetland wool and made it into roving.

My black ram’s wool had some hay in it. Even after tumbling it, not all the hay came out when it was carded. I have to pick the small pieces out by hand. This takes a while, but the fiber is very nice and worth taking extra steps. Hay management is not easy, but important when making yarn and roving. Stay safe and warm.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.