Yesterday I went to visit my friends George and Jerry, who live in the big city of Cincinnati. You see, George bought Jerry a picker for Christmas and offered to let me give it a workout with a still dirty after washing three times fleece I bought while I was in Maryland this past May. Oh yes, I went to a big fleece show in Maryland, and didn't even tell you about that one. Man oh man, was that a blast! Uber rejuvenation time since I hadn't been away in way too many years. Anyway, for those of you don't know what a picker is, it's this equipment that can cost, well, I'll just leave it at an arm and a leg to be polite, and does a fantastic job removing vegetation and other various splodgy matter from fleece. It's also a dangerous piece of equipment because it has these stainless steel nails that are on the top and bottom of it that the fleece moves through as the arm of it is swung back and forth. It's also a piece of equipment that kind of freaks George out because of the dangerocity of it...even though he bought the thing. The picker has warning stickers all over it, and George gave me the skinny on the do's and don'ts of it, but still, he's a little jumpy when it's in use. Even so, I was up for the challenge. Besides, it wasn't like trying to hang curtains using screws and a hammer. It was fun.
In the end, George told me that Hog Island fleece I bought from Mt. Vernon through the Maryland Sheep and Wool show was the dirtiest fleece he'd ever seen when it came to the junk left in it even after it had been cleaned. Oh, I knew it was dirty...real dirty...but I also felt good about buying that particular fleece because the money I spent on it would go back to the upkeep of a heritage sheep breed at Mt. Vernon. I also figure that, although the fleece had gone through the picker three times, it could have gone through another three or ten times and still have stuff falling out of it. Even so, an amazingly nice fleece.
Now you're probably thinking I spent my whole time while I was visiting working hard. Nope. George worked on the fleece, too. I just so happened to bring along a couple of Icelandic fleeces. I figured it was a good time to see how the picker worked on those, too, since we don't coat our sheep. Jerry worked on the Icelandic fleece, and did a mighty fine job of it, too. George said he (Jerry, that is) likes to use the picker and I can see why. It really does a fantastic job at getting unwanted stuff out of fleece. It also pulls the fibers apart and fluffs them up so the fleece is like a fluffy cloud. Ahhhhhhhh.
So, there you have it, folks. I drove, I worked, I gossiped, and had an overall fantastic time with great friends. I even made it home just fine...after going the wrong way on the interstate and finding myself in Kentucky before being able to turning around, barely escaping a taxi and car collision in front of me, driving through a torrential downpour that was determined to follow me, and finding pickles and mustard on my burger. Thanks for the lovely afternoon, George and Jerry. I truly appreciate the use of the picker and your friendship. Smiling & Waving, Sharon