The girls are home! I went and picked them up on Tuesday and we enjoyed an uneventful (that’s code for pee-free) ride home. I put down the rubber mat, as usual, and a net full of hay as well as some goodies (grain and treats) and hit the road. Getting them from the barn to the car was the tough part, as I thought it might be, but once they got in the car they seemed to settle down, even lying down, in Cinnamon’s case. This is major progress! Not that I need to have them learn or progress in their car riding habits, but it had to be more relaxing for them, too. I think they recognized me (well, they had to know me, but giving me any sign that they cared a whit for my reappearance in their life wasn’t going to happen). Little Pebbles munched on hay pretty much the whole way home (Cinnamon had a few nibbles as well) and there wasn’t even a poop from either of them. I don’t mind the poop so much – it’s not carnivore poo, after all, so not very smelly and super easy to clean up (dry little raisnets, like deer poo) compared to the pee. That being said, my car still smells like ripe sheep. The girls had spent the last month with a ram, after all, and while the stink isn’t the funk of a buck goat (billy), they definitely had a little Eau d’Ram going on. Hopefully that means they spent “quality” time with the ram, Jocko, and all the right, ahem, connections were made. From the looks of the “wear” to their fleece, I’m thinking I can mark the calendar in 5 months’ time. I’m hoping I’ll have some sign before they drop their lambs, and I’ll be watching like a hawk…er, make that an expectant shepherdess, for sometime between April 20 and May 27. I’m hoping I’ll get a couple of ewe lambs, and I would love to get some more greys, like Pebbles. I think her fleece is lovely and of course she’s the tiniest of all, so it would be great to have more of it to work with.
Speaking of working with fleece (and the fact that I haven’t yet), I took a great felting class at The Weaving Works in Seattle last month. It was taught by Faith Hagenhofer, and we bonded immediately over sheep; as the class participants went around and introduced themselves we each had a chance to share why we were interested in felting. I explained that I raised the natural product and needed a way to use the five bats of processed wool in my loft (last year’s shearing) that would be easy and fun. It turns out Faith raises her own sheep as well and has a moorit Shetland that looks a lot like my Cinnamon (and sounds just as feral). I really enjoyed the class. Besides being an inspiring artist and enthusiastic feltmaker, Faith is a also great teacher and we were each able to create a scarf using different techniques (felting onto silk, needle felting, etc.). I’m ready to sign up for the next class (Big Felt). Squeezing the class time in during the busy month of January might be a trick – I have something going on every weekend this month, and several weeknights (and doG knows I like my down time) but since I won’t have time to work with my own wool until sometime in February (almost shearing time again!), I may as well learn a bit more technique before I get out the bubble wrap and liquid soap.*
I neglected to take any pictures during the class – there were some wonderful creations by my classmates, and the process is a fun, active pastime. The clerks downstairs said they had several customers ask if there was an aerobics studio upstairs, when we were ‘throwing’* our wet felting wool onto the tables. My own creation is humble, though I have to say that my “lima” green was popular with my classmates – nearly every one of them came to borrow some of it (we each shopped for the one ounce of roving from a rainbow of colors downstairs). It was such a lovely match with the natural color of the base wool, and I was happy to share. And I grabbed a few bits of the berry and grape color, as well as a wisp or two of orange, from others. So, don’t laugh, here’s my finished product – a sampler really.
*These two YouTube video links are unrelated to the class I took but show same general process.