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Sunday, May 27, 2012

baa baa black sheep......

Yesterday, Paulette and I and two friends from work went to the fiber show in Wooster, Ohio. Our first stop was to the barns to visit the goats and sheep. The man who was bringing the angora goats to the show was a professor from the University of Delaware where he was in charge of the botanical garden. He raises the goats solely because his wife likes the fiber for spinning! What a trooper. Encouraged to pet a few of them, we noticed that the horns were very warm. We learned that horns soak up and then dissipate the heat and that keeps the goats cooler. I remarked that I could use something like that. Oh dear. 

When we got the the sheep barn, there were some interesting sights to behold. We guessed that the coats were used to keep the sheep clean before judging as was the extra trimming going on all around us. The fellow with the shears was from Montana. He mentioned that he brought 10 rams and a few females to show and hopefully sell @ $1,000 each. He left 1,200 sheep at home! Those are raised for their fiber-sold to a commercial site in Texas for wool for carpets, not for any spinners.

He was really patient as I asked more questions about the value of getting a first place in the ring. Turns out that the first place winner is the first to be auctioned the next day, which is an advantage.

We sat in the stands to watch some rams being judged. If you are raising sheep, you only need one or two rams to service, ahem, about 100 females (I can't remember what a female sheep is called) and so you need to be really picky about the ram you buy.

We also saw some cute puppys in the pens right along with the sheep.

Before we hit the vendor booths, we stopped to admire to other fiber animals: angora rabbits and some alpacas.
Ron sent me on a birthday/anniversary mission to select a carder as his present to me next month (June 4/June 13) The one I chose was the Strauch Mad Batt'r. I had a LONG email from my Wise Woman, Bonnie, with detailed instructions on what to look for and what not to get, so I simply handed it to the vendor from Ashland and we went over every detail to be sure I was getting what Bonnie thought would be best! Of course, I really need to have Bonnie show me how to make creative yarn bats, but, I did buy a book, The Ashford Book of Carding: A Handspinners Guide to Fibre Preparation by Jo Reeve.

I also stopped by the vendor where I bought my fleece last year, Promised Land and Livestock Co. of Fresno, OH. Moose, a large female sheep, is doing well and had a ram of her own in March. I showed them the cabled purse I was making from her fleece of last year.

We noted that she is much lighter in color than last year. Anyway, they invited us to their  farm open house "load and go" sale on July 21. Starter flock packages available. They have both Blue Faced Leicester and Lincoln breeding stock. I plan to say hi to Moose and thank her personally for her fleece.