The lambs are still growing like weeds! And that’s saying something; the weeds around here are growing at astronomical rates. The sheep clearly aren’t eating the weeds fast enough. They need to eat more grass and take fewer naps.
The view from the back porch, showing the growing sheep, the growing
jungle pasture, and the growing barn-to-be, which will hopefully be finished by the time next year’s lambs arrive. Next year’s lambs for which I have done almost no planning. I’m still recovering from this lambing season, I’m not ready to start planning next year yet.
Rotate 90 degrees to the left, and the view changes considerably.
“I brought you my frisbee! Play with me! Play play play!”
Watcher is happy that Mira has moved out, because now he gets a lot more attention and play time. Frisbee is his favorite game, but he won’t go get the frisbee if it lands too close to the OuchyZappyFence. He had an unfortunate experience a few weeks ago when he tried to mark the electric fence, and now he won’t go anywhere near it. I’m sure he’ll lose his excess caution eventually, but for now he has to put up with me snickering at him every time he pointedly stays very far away from the fence.
Little John ate a crunchy treat from my hand the other day, making him the first (and so far only) one of this year’s boys to do so. He was very enthusiastic about the whole idea, but he’s a bit confused about what crunchies actually are and thinks I’m what he took a bite of. Now every time I crouch down to give Mira her bottle, Johnny comes running up and starts gnawing on my arms, my clothes, my fingers, anything he can reach. Hopefully he gets that misconception cleared up quickly; even though sheep don’t have upper incisors, being repeatedly bitten by one doesn’t feel good.
The Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival was last weekend, and it was a lot of fun as usual. I told myself very firmly to stay away from the fleeces, as I had plenty of fleeces at home. Then I saw a vendor selling beautiful naturally colored alpaca fleeces, and I suddenly realised that alpaca fleeces are not at all the same thing as sheep fleeces, and I had no alpaca fleeces at all, which of course meant I needed to buy one. The fiber collection is growing to keep pace with the lambs and the weeds and the barn and the number of sheep bites reported to farm management.
My camera setting were incorrect when I took the picture; the fleece is actually very dark, about the color of fancy dark chocolate. The fleece has about a 4-5″ staple length, and weighs 1lb 9oz. It’s from a Huacaya alpaca, which means it’s the crimpy, soft fiber type as opposed to Suri alpaca, which is the long, silky type. I keep running into very strong opposing opinions about whether or not the spinnable stuff grown by alpacas should be called wool, so for now I’m just calling it alpaca fiber.
I’ve never processed or spun alpaca fiber before, so this should be an adventure. I’ve made things from alpaca yarn before and loved it, but commercial alpaca yarn is far outside my crafting budget most of the time. If I can process and spin it myself with a reasonable degree of success, I’ll be able to feed several fiber hobbies at once with less cash investment, which will make me very happy. I won’t be able to do anything with it until I’m finished combing Liam’s fleece, but I enjoy looking at it in the meantime, and since my arm has finally quit hurting Liam’s fleece shouldn’t take me too much longer.
Now I must sally forth and exhaustively research how one goes about processing alpaca fiber as opposed to sheep wool.