Since we don't have daughters, the only way I can get some estrogen-type companionship around the farm is by buying it or breeding it. Even so, there's no braiding of hair, no fashion shows, and no playing with make-up. Maybe that's why I enjoy shearing so much..usually. It's hard work, but it gives me a chance to play with someone's hair, er, wool.
Today I decided it was time to get a hold of a few unsuspecting sheep and play beauty parlor. Since Hon and the kids were home, I knew if I needed an extra hand I'd have it. It started out pretty well. First up, Dandy's darker moorit and grey ewe lamb. I got her when she was eating...she didn't suspect a thing...sucker.
I decided since she's in with Fella at the moment, and he and I don't see eye-to-eye when it's breeding season, I would take her over to the other pasture where mild mannered Ramley and his ladies are. That way I could do the job without Fella's interference. Everything was going well. We don't have a shearing stand, so I secure them to a post and use hand shears. That way I can skirt away the parts I want to keep first and then deal with the real nasty stuff.
As I was cutting away, I noticed Ramley hedging his way over. Then he came up and started sniffing her. After that it's like all zippity doo-dah broke loose. He wouldn't leave her alone. In fact, he actually said, "Cool! Thank you for tying this lovely young morsel up for me so I can breed her without having to work at it." Next thing you know, he was doing his best to mount her, I was doing my best to keep him off, and I think every neighbor for a five mile radius heard me hollering for Hon. I tried to get her out of the pasture to continue the job, but when we got to the gate I noticed Hon had dumped out the trough next to it, which meant I'd have to drag her through mud and water, so that wasn't happening. I then tried to get her to the red barn, but it wasn't going very smoothly. The ewe was freaking out, while Ramley was trying his best to do what he thought was his job, and I ran interference. I felt like I was in a nightmare in the form of directions on the back of a shampoo bottle, only it was take a few steps, push the randy ram off, and repeat. We made it to the old turkey coop where I got her in there and then went to the house for backup. When I got in there I couldn't even catch my breath after the ordeal, struggling to get out the words, "Hon, get out there with me NOW!"
So enters Hon in the picture. He gets the ewe out of the turkey pen and into a stall in the red barn, as Ramley skips behind like a lovesick fool. I really think he thought we were setting up a stall of love. Next thing I knew, before Hon got the door closed, out comes the ewe running full on into the pasture...Ramley right behind, of course. Oops! Then we spent the next 15 minutes out there looking like total idiots trying to catch her. In the end, though, we always catch our sheep, and she made her way into the stall with assistance...and without Ramley. He hung outside making moo-moo eyes at her the whole time instead.
The nice thing is the ewe has been sheared, she stood real nice, and I love her wool, despite the chaos that I went through to get it. Ramley, on the other hand, isn't very happy right now. He didn't get the girl...but he, too, got to play beauty parlor with me.
Because Ramley is Kid's ram, he was out there with me while I gave the trim job. Ramley was an excellent customer until I got to his underside. Then he decided to get antsy, which isn't a good thing when I literally have his delicate parts in my hand along with a gigantic pair of sharp scissors. In the end, though, I always get the job done. Kid and I are now haggling over the fleece. He thinks he's going to financially take me for a ride since he's saving up for two different Boy Scout camps next year. I told him he had better cut me a break considering I did the shearing, and will also be doing the wool cleaning, and marketing. I guess we're still in negotiations.
So, there you have it folks. Today was beauty parlor day. I didn't accomplish everything I would have liked, considering the shenanigans we went through to get one done, but I've accomplished some of what I set out to do. I wonder what unsuspecting customer I'll get a hold of next! Smiling & Waving, Sharon
As I was at Wal-Mart in the craft section this afternoon I came to a major conclusion. I, Sharon Steinhoff, am a yarn snob. I had my suspicions, but as I stood there sweating over the lifeless man made commercial yarns that would melt to my skin in an instant if there were a fire, I could only do one thing. Admit it.
You see, I've been called many things over the past few years...from a fiber whore-der to fiberlicious, but in the end I'm a plain 'ole yarn snob.
Well, you know I bought myself a 4-harness loom, right? It's been going pretty good so far. I made myself a nice little piece that's sitting on my make-up table using some cotton commercial cone yarn that my friend, Cassie, gave me for the warp, and Icelandic handspun for the weft.
My next project in the Learning to Weave book is placemats. I decided that since it encompasses me making five of them, it will take quite a bit of yarn. I'm a bit short on time with spinning for myself at the moment, so I decided to go to Wal-Mart and buy some something that I won't cry over if I mess up. Also, thinking of placemats on the table that will need to hold up to the testosterone eating machines around here, I had better not put a lot of money into them. I figured they're only placemats, for crying out loud, and I'm learning, so I can do this. Hence, my sweating over yarn at Wal-Mart.
Somewhere over the years I wonder if my priorities have gone astray with regards to buying things, although I'm not quite ready to admit it yet. I will happily spend $40 on a small amount of handspun art yarn knit by a fellow fiber artist, something that won't make a complete project, but accent it, without qualm. I will spend at least that much on a dirty smelly fleece, and even $5 an ounce for Muga Silk fibers without batting an eyelash. For me, when it comes to creating yarn, the sky's just about the limit (I do have to put a little limit on it so Hon doesn't freak).
I will spend a good bit to take a fantastic art yarn spinning class from a friend, but about have a heart attack when I have to spend $ 10.98 for a 6 pack of underpants. Oh my goodness, that rinky dink steak costs $18.63??? GAK ~ head for the ground beef! Ohhhhhh, those handmade stitch markers are beautiful. $20, you say? Sure!
I'm getting off track. Back to the story... I've bought commercial yarns at high end shops, even though they're pretty lifeless feeling due to the extreme processing, without having too much difficulty, but they've been natural fibers. You know...cotton, wool, alpaca... I decided not to buy at a particular yarn shop in our area recently because 1) it would be a whole lot of money for the placements someone will inevitably irrevocably stain, and 2) I'm conflicted about their morals, but that in itself is another story. Hence, my trip to Wal-Mart.
As I stood there in the yarn aisle, I first noticed the death grip I had on my cart. Next I broke out in a sweat. As my hands were shaking, I reached out and grabbed the biggest skein of *gulp* acrylic yarn I could find for the warp. Then I quickly grabbed three smaller skeins of *double gulp* matching acrylic yarn from the same company. I dumped all of them in my cart, took a quick look over my shoulders to see if anyone saw me do it, and then tossed my jacket over them. I had to get out of there!
Here I sit, telling you my confession. Is it the fact that the yarn is commercial? No. I've done that plenty of times. Is it the fact that it was $5.97 for 744 yards? Nope. Darn good deal. What it comes down to is the feel of it. The fakeness of it. Oh gesh, and to top it off, as I type this, Eldest just saw my yarn purchase and said, "Woah, that's a big thing of wool!" To which I replied, "It's acrylic." GAK ~ I need to give him some serious fiber education!
So, there you have it folks. My trip to Wal-Mart for a good, albeit acrylic, value yarn. You might think this is a strange confession, but it's just one of a few hangups...like when I told you last week about Young'un losing his baby teeth...and of which he lost another of a few days ago. I'm sure the yarn I bought will make wonderful placemats...and I've seen many lovely items made from this type of yarn at the fair and around town. I just have to make sure no one around here uses them for evil, like when they took a few knitted dishcloths camping and put them too close to the fire to dry. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I'm the queen of our farm, although the animals wouldn't agree. My title is Head Chicken Wrangler, but most days I'm just called Mom. Life on a farm is full of family and hard work and I wouldn't have it any other way.