Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sheep Shearing 2012

Today I witnessed sheep shearing for the very first time. I had a great time on the farm with Marisa, Dorothee, and their families. It was fun to see dogs running around without leashes and sheep enjoying themselves in the sun grazing away. It was the perfect break from my go go week. The Hidden Villa Farm was so well kept, I was very impressed. The farm does sheep shearing every year at this time, so if you missed it and live in the area, I highly recommend it. The place was so busy today with tons of kids and families.

I saw a sheep herding dog in action today, and it was spectacular.

When they shear the sheep, they try to keep the wool in one piece. The hair was quite dirty with mostly straws, dirt, and grass tangled up, but I guess the sheep don't mind it at all. The trick is to make sure the sheep is comfortable and just do it fast! I guess it is normal for the sheep to get cut. This is because there are nerve endings on their skins, but they are not supposed to feel the pain. When the sheep do get cut, people on the farm will spray this special blue liquid over the cut. It's an antiseptic and prevents flies from laying eggs on that spot. Ewwww! I guess you learn something new everyday.

Fiber, anyone?!

See the sheep in the middle there? This is the "after" picture. She was twice as big before her hair cut.

The farm also has booths demoing how they dye, weave, and process these fibers into yarn. Let's just say I now have so much more appreciation for the balls of yarn already available for purchase at the store. The farm dyes these fibers with things they find on the farm: black walnut hulls, eucalyptus bark, lichen, jack-o-lantern mushrooms, etc.

I find the black walnuts so beautiful. 

 OK, this looks nothing like yarn!?

And of course, before I left, I had to pick up these organic eggs!

I finished blocking the Live Oak Shawl yesterday, I hope to take some pictures of it tomorrow. I need to pick out a good bag pattern this weekend. I need to get some fabric for it as well. I better hurry before Monday is here! Do you have a favorite bag pattern that I should check out?


Katie said...

It sounds like a fun day! I clicked on the farm link and wow! Such a beautiful place!

Kristen said...

I used to go to Hidden Villa frequently when I had a little one. Isn't it just a treasure? They always have a booth at the farmer's market and I get my eggs and bacon and some veggies there too. The kids that work there are so nice. Sounds like you had a nice day! Do you know if they spin the wool into yarn to sell? Wouldn't that be nice!

Snoodles said...

I just popped over from Sew We Quilt....loved your tutorial, and this post on the shearing is wonderful! I have a Great Pyrenees dog and I'm eyeing her for some spinning material! Their undercoat can be used if it's handled carefully to prevent felting. :)

Judy1522 said...

It has been a long time but I love to watch sheep shearing. It is amazing to watch how fast it is done and how the wool stays in one piece. Fortunately I have never seen a sheep get a cut during the process.

Audry said...

I didn't know there was a farm so close by. I think I will have to visit now.