Shearing at the Timm Ranch

Here is where Colleen (Fiber Confections) and I spent last Sunday. I first got fleece from the Timm Ranch, just a few miles from here, last year in preparation for my show at the Artery. Here is a blog post with info about the ranch and photos of the blankets I wove with the wool. DSC_4616This is a view to the northwest taken while driving through the ranch.DSC_4601Much of the 2700 acres is leased for cattle grazing.DSC_4595The last gate before the ranch headquarters.DSC_4497There were about 90 ewes, several lambs, and five rams to shear. One group of sheep was already in the barn when we got there but I helped with the second group. IMG_3631These are a “ranch mix” developed many years ago and are a blend of Rambouillet, Targhee, and Polypay.DSC_4511

DSC_4556The sheep are brought into the barn (on the left)…DSC_4575…move along a lane in the north side of the barn…IMG_3653…and end up in the pens in the middle where they are visually contained by burlap drapes. DSC_4491 The shearer pulls the next sheep to shear through the drape and when he is finished the sheep is released and…

DSC_4525   …it walks out the door to the back.DSC_4566The wool is pushed through the window of the barn into a pile where it is later loaded into a wool press that compresses the wool into bales.DSC_4572These bales can weigh 300-400 pounds.

DSC_4561   In this case Colleen and I diverted many fleeces to our piles and inspected, bagged, and weighed them. I had bagged up my predetermined amount of 200 pounds and was ready to leave (having been battling a cold for days and at this point in the day had completely lost my voice). But then it was time to shear the five rams.DSC_4541I figured that I’d been there this long. What’s another half hour?DSC_4547

IMG_3671I’m glad that I stayed.

DSC_4586   The ram fleeces were gorgeous. Whereas the ewe fleeces weighed 5+ to 8 pounds the ram fleeces I bought weighed 12 pounds (two mature rams) and 8 pounds (the yearling ram with the horns).

Last year I had the wool spun into yarn and put on cones (easy for weaving).  I think that I’ll have this year’s fiber put into skeins because of the appeal to knitters. Last year’s fiber tested at an average of 23.5 microns. I think I’ll send some more samples in from this year’s wool.  Be looking for this yarn in a few (several?) months.

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