There was a beautiful rainbow over the farm the other night as I went to bring in the flock. By the time I got my camera out of my pocket, and swatted a few mosquitoes, the clouds had begun to move in. Still, it was a beauty.
It inspired my to reprise my Koigu Rainbow Socks.
In the pic above I am just completing a heel in KPPPM mixed rainbow colour P822. The kind folks at Koigu made this colourway at my request, incorporating the specific dye colours in the colours I selected for my rainbow stripes.
The individual colours are:
Red - P816
Orange - P 603
Yellow - P521
Green - P 819
Blue - P451
Purple - P809
Size Small, knit with the 54 needle cylinder and 27 slot ribber dial on the Legare 400. 1x1 Ribbed top and rest in stockinette. Heels and toes reinforced with Wooly Nylon.
There are no rainbows today - totally overcast and a cold raining drizzle. So its nice to at least be working with sunny colours.
The dog crate rode in the back of the truck, while Jonah rode in the back seat, as usual.
We picked up two passengers at a farm down country.
At home in their new pen at the farm.
These girls have been weaned for about two weeks, and weigh about 35 lbs each. (Their mama was pretty close to the size of my truck.)
Their job is to clean up the lambing barn.
At this age they will be on full feed, but as they get older and learn to root, they'll find much of their sustenance in the 18" bedding pack left at the end of lambing. There will be all kinds of treats for them in there - bit of spilled or undigested grain, seeds from the hay and straw.
When they are all done, the stable floor will be more than a foot lower, and what is left will be like peat moss and easy for me to shovel out.
This used to be a standard farm practice, back in the days of the small family farm. Now, not so much.
The girls don't have names yet. I'm thinking on it...
A few shots of ewe SHV 11 A. (SHV =farm purebred letters; 11 = her tag number; A = born 2013.) Now tagged as 560NT (new tag) since she lost her tag in the page wire fence.
This shot taken in her lambing pen this year, May 3.
About a week later on pasture:
And June 16, a few days after shearing:
This amazing ewe is the one I called Perfect Mom in an earlier post (middle pic) because her lambs are always right with her. They still are, and look at the size of them just a little over a month later.
Both lambs are females and have a beautiful solid fleece colour (except the underbelly which is discarded as a matter of course during shearing).
I hope these daughters continue to thrive and join the flock as breeding ewes. So many valuable traits!
(If Bill is reading....the ewe is daughter of Bloomfield x Seasonal)
Shearing is now over at the farm. Of course it had to be during the day, and the time of day, of the heaviest rainfall of the year. Thankfully the rain wasn't accompanied by heavy winds, so it fell straight down instead of blowing through the gaps between the siding planks on the barn. So the sheep were actually quite dry.
Here is Don tackling the first ewe:
You can see that this is back breaking work. Everything from a stooped position. It makes my back hurt just to watch!
And here is the first fleece after I scooped it up from the shear floor and thrown it on the skirting table. To properly throw a fleece you pick it up in a clump from the shear floor, in a certain way, and throw it so that it lands spread out as in the photo. Took a few years, but I'm getting pretty good at it.
Note that this is the fleece shorn of the ewe in the first two pictures. See the difference in colour of the exterior of the fleece on the table with the colour of the sheeps back and the inside of the fleece as its being shorn off. The difference is sun bleaching.
After skirting, each fleece is folded over in thirds lengthwise, rolled up and put in a clear plastic temporary bag. Over the next while I will pull each of these fleeces out and sort them into colour groupings for spinning. Those groups of fleeces with then be re-bagged in burlap (breathable) sacks for shipping to the mills.
I have to say it was a fantastic day, rain and all.
On the other hand, I didn't get the strawberries picked...