I have been counting sheep in my daydreams for the last year. I’ve even begun reading about sheep in my waking moments too. I’ve read Hit by a Farm and Sheepish, and now I’m buried in the Accidental Farmers. I briefly went a little sheepy and had reserved five other books about raising sheep before I came to my senses and left with just Hit by a Farm. I sometimes need to reel myself in a bit. At any rate, I have been enjoying my non-fiction sheep-related adventures even if actually owning sheep are far off (or perhaps never) in my future.
I’ve enjoyed wool since I started knitting when I was an undergraduate, and I have even more wool in my eyes since I started spinning last fall. I particularly like woolen shirts when I’m in the backcountry… or around town for that matter. I like the smell and the texture of wool, and I love daydreaming about owning a real honest-to-goodness farm even though such an endeavor would result in significantly fewer trips to the backcountry.
I recently discovered a local sheep farm that’s on the edge of town, and I hope not to become a pest there. The owner sometimes invites people onto the farm for special events, and she had an event for sheep shearing on Saturday morning. I attended and quickly volunteered (as tribute, no less) to help out however I could. My job was to weigh the sheet and to record the year and the weight of the sheet on a scrap of paper. Then, I waited while the shearer buzzed away. After the shearer sheared the sheep, the owner wrapped up the fleece in the sheet. She handed me the wrapped up fleece, and I weighed it and made more notations on the paper before tucking the paper away in the package.
I enjoyed helping out on the sheep farm, though I didn’t feel like I did much. Mostly, I just enjoyed watching the sheep, hearing their bleating, and seeing them freshly shorn and chowing down on alfalfa. I plan to purchase roving from the farm and lamb. I don’t eat much meat, but now that I’ve seen how the sheep have lived and heard the owner discuss her priorities for humane treatment and good processing, I definitely plan to occasionally purchase some meat. I can’t wait to find some good recipes!
In the meantime, I’ll keep daydreaming. And maybe volunteering some more at the sheep farm.