We don’t get snow often but we had a nice winter storm roll through last night. It’s not Reykjavik but it was down to 19° F or so. The fresh snow is light and fluffy, and the sheep are enjoying it. The dogs are going crazy, zipping around chasing each other.
It’s that time of year again when the great people at the Sheep and Goat research center in San Angelo have their annual Sheep Shearing workshop. This year Raphaela sheared for more practice and I took a 1-day Sheep fiber workshop. I met some really great participants including lots of fiber spinners, and small-scale wool producers. The message event was sponsored in part by Independence Farmstead Fibers, an artisan mill in Washington County, Texas.
Dr. Ron Pope taught the class on fleece, explaining how it’s genetic characteristics affect its utility and versatility. He and Dawn of Independence Wool extensively discussed the characteristics of wool fibers, and how they are poorly understood by the public, in part due to the hubris of wool-producers in the 20th century and poor marketing efforts. Dawn then gave us a virtual tour of her fiber mill and explained the complete process from Sheep to skein.
I strongly suggest that small-scale wool producers, hobby farmers, and anyone interested in artisan wool and wool crafts attend next year’s meeting. Registration is usually in October and ranges from $50 to $150. In return you’ll get lamb lunch, network with a lot of people with similar interests, and learn quite a bit. I think we’ll be back next year.
Loki, our year-old painted desert ram, is now officially registered with the United Horned Hair Sheep Association. We think this will make it much easier to register his offspring, and makes it clear to customers wanting purebred painted desert sheep to verify their genealogy. Loki has been running with the Ewes this spring, so we expect his first generation of offspring to be born in the fall.