Farm Life, In Various Stages
April and May are the two busiest months here at the farm. It is a time for wearing many hats.
First, there is the growing hat.
We start our vegetables from seed, and they are in various stages of growth, from babies to teenagers.
I guess we even have some pre-babies. Those are the potatoes and turnips. You can't see them yet, but they are there, just waiting to break through.
We also wear our fiber hat. April and May are shearing months. But the fun doesn't stop with the shearing. In fact, it's just getting started.
From shearing, we move on to skirting. Skirting is when we take the newly shorn fleece and move it to a mesh table. Then we give it a good shake to let the dust fall out and begin taking out the less than "perfect" fiber -- fiber that is too short, too coarse, too dirty or that doesn't match the rest of the fleece.
Don't tell anybody, but I secretly love skirting. It's like spring cleaning, only with fiber. O.K., maybe by the 20th fleece or so, I don't enjoy it quite as much, but skirting can be great therapy.
From there, the fleece goes down one of several paths. If it will be mill-spun, it goes to large boxes and is shipped off to the mill.
If we are selling it as raw fleece, it goes into a nice paper bag and is put into the store for sale.
If it will be handspun by us here, it gets a bath.
This fiber is ready for washing by hand and then it will be layed out to dry. If you look closely, in the background you'll see Moose, lying on the floor exhausted from a long day of "helping."
We seem to have that effect on dogs. Dewey is exhausted from "helping" with the shearing.
If you find the humans lying on the floor or on a nice soft bale of hay, you'll know it's April or May.