Sunday, May 16, 2010

Farm and Garden Weekly - week of May 9

The big farm news this week is sheep shearing! I wrote about this event three years ago, telling the history of our shearer. At that time, our original shearer's son had taken over the work. Since then, the torch has been passed again. The shearer's daughter is now the official shearer. In the spring she drives all over the state visiting farms. She has another full time job at the family business. She's a wonderful young woman in her early twenties who loves her work.

Here is a picture of the fleece just after it was removed. Can you see the shape of the sheep?

The sheep are in one big stall while the shearing goes on.

And here she is in action! You'll see a nick, but it is impossible to avoid. Overall there were very, very few cuts on the six sheep. She is a wonderful shearer, and I told her I've never seen the sheep so calm. She grinned and said, 'sheep whisperer.'

Here is a closeup of some fleece. Isn't it beautiful? And as soft as can be.

Fleeces.

After they are shorn, and we let them out into the pasture, the sheep baa and baa for a good part of the day. I think they're happy to be free of their heavy winter coats, just as we are.


The garden is coming along just fine despite our cool, cool month. I froze 16 1/2 cups of rhubarb this week. It snowed a bit last Sunday morning. Didn't really land, but still... ah, May in the north! Not for us the bluebell wood and soft air.

Onion sets, and those amazing chives! The latter are perennials that come up early.

Leeks

Garlic we planted last fall.

Tiny carrots

and spinach

There is no sign of the sweet peas yet. And the lettuce hasn't broken through the ground either. We just need a few warm, sunny days for everything to really take off.

The mint which is thriving.

Violets are everywhere.

The monkshood has started its climb up the little trellis.

The honeysuckle have bloomed


And the first lilac flower. Our lilacs are all over the land, and they blossom over time. This one is right next to the terrace and gets the full south sun and warmth of the stones to make it the earliest bloomer.

If you are interested, there's a book giveaway going on through tomorrow!

10 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful picture of a northern Spring. Aren't sheep the most perfect creatures? Are you going to spin that wool yourself?

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  2. I have seen sheep shearing before. It is hard work. You would need those chairs that are pictured on your header after such work. Do you sell your fleece? Your veggie garden looks like it is going to be yummy soon. I could eat a piece of rhubarb pie right now. Mmmmm

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  3. Thanks for coming by and leaving a note, Pamela and Lisa. If you click the link (the word, 'wrote' you'll find the explanation of why I don't spin and what we do with the fleece. Tom tried shearing once, and it took him ages to do one sheep. From then on, we left it to the experts. :<)

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  4. It's nice to hear the shearer is kind to the sheep as well as skilled and efficient. Some things are best left to the experts. Her back must get awfully tired in the spring.

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  5. J.G., she really is wonderful. She gets to rest between shearings as she drives from farm to farm and back home again. :<) She told me she did 60 sheep in one day, though!

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  6. That fleece looks beautiful. I used to spin also but now I stick with just the knitting. I also love the look of your garden.

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  7. Margot, it is a gift to be able to each of them. If you saw the link, you'll know that I can't. :<)

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  8. ...love your header, love the farm photos, love the process you share of the shearing, love the garden photos, love the rhubarb recipe...love it all!
    Joanne

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  9. Joanne, thank you so much for your always encouraging, kind words!!

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  10. Marcia, it sounds absolutely beautiful. Why should anyone feel dismayed at such loveliness.

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