"Better Late Than Never" has been our family motto for many years. It is however a lousy way to run a blog. Apologies to anyone out there reading this stuff. June came in warm and sunny, but just about the time I wanted to shear my sheep, the June Gloom hit, with just enough rain that nobody could mow a lawn, or shear a sheep. I caught my shearer, Wendy, just as the sun was breaking through the clouds one morning, and two days later we did the dirty deed. She had some trouble with her equipment, her favorite shearing tool had broken, she was waiting for parts, so she'd borrowed an assembly from her brother. I not only learned all about how pin drives are different from worm drives and how all shearing equipment is not necessarily standardized, but I also learned a couple of really educationally rude words to save and utilize at the next truly frustrating occasion. Wendy finally did get up and running, and we sheared my tiny little downsized flock of twelve. Yes, folks, my sheep diet finally worked, I managed to ship off all the old, the multicolored, the animals with horns, and now am down to a stable core flock of all girls, all black (well, one token white and one token brown), hornless Shetlands. After shearing they all look like little goats, the Shetland breed isn't truly a meat sheep, they're small and bony and delicate. On the sheep front I've also got one bummer (orphan) lamb of indeterminate breeding that I'm still feeding on a bottle, he was nearly starved to death when Bill brought him to me from the feed store, and it took months to get him to willingly take a bottle. He preferred to be force fed. I'm glad he finally comes running to me instead of having to chase him down. He won't be joining my flock, we'll either sell him as a pet or... well never mind the "or".
And we had a fabulous month, all month long at the outlet store. Apparently the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar is so low that it's encouraging European tourists to come and vacation here, most are from cold countries and know the value of wool. We've had people from England, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Norway, it's very fun to get them talking about their homes.
Best of all was the Black Sheep Gather in Eugene this year. We went on our usual Sunday (bargains can be had, people!) and found someone demonstrating the rolling felting machine we'd been dreaming about, and for 1/3 the cost of the one we knew about. They're hand built in Idaho, and we pick up our machine at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (again, go on a Sunday, folks!) in Canby in September. I can't wait. Cindy has been making these fabulous rugs that resemble Flokati rugs. This will help bring the price down to affordable.
And of course, wool, wool, wool. Everyone is shearing, and we're gathering and washing as much as we can while the wind is blowing and the sun is shining to help dry it. I can't help thinking that freshly washed and wind dried clean wool smells heavenly. I guess I'm well suited for my job!
Good Wool To You All!