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. This is a view to the northwest taken while driving through the ranch.Much of the 2700 acres is leased for cattle grazing.The last gate before the ranch headquarters.There 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. These are a “ranch mix” developed many years ago and are a blend of Rambouillet, Targhee, and Polypay.
The sheep are brought into the barn (on the left)……move along a lane in the north side of the barn……and end up in the pens in the middle where they are visually contained by burlap drapes. The shearer pulls the next sheep to shear through the drape and when he is finished the sheep is released and…
…it walks out the door to the back.The 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.These bales can weigh 300-400 pounds.
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.I figured that I’d been there this long. What’s another half hour?
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.