We’re back (and judging by the influx of inquiries: not missed)! Our original ambitious blogging plan was victimized by our house redecoration which rendered my main computer unreachable (and my “pocket camera” battery charger has disappeared somewhere), plus the wedding countdown is on (3 weeks from Saturday!) along with caretaking 100ish beasts, shooting weddings, gardening and generally making hay while the sun shines. But we received a call a week or so ago from Melissa Buote of The Coast who wrote a truly lovely article published today focusing on this farm blog. Its dormancy made us feel more than a bit disingenuous so here’s our admission of guilt and a quick check in.
Harrier Hill is alive and well! The summer started off hot (which is probably why we were still blogging regularly… to escape the heat!). As things cooled down in the second half of summer the long to-do lists were looking even longer in the shortening days and the optimism that arrived with spring turned to fear with each flip of the calendar and the things that remained to Get Done. Through it all, lambs grew, chicks hatched, Bean became slightly less grumpy looking and with fall we’re officially thinking about marketing wool, shipping lambs, breeding ewes and filling the freezer. I even managed to get a few dozen winter squash put away from our weedy jungle/garden. I think I saw a rhinoceros in there yesterday. The weeds are 4 feet high in the middle. I haven’t been able to visit its depths since June.
Yesterday I was skirting and packing wool to reclaim my shed/workshop. Having two gigantic totes of wool was seriously cramping an important work space that in the best of times walks a fine line of disorganization.
Christine wasn’t here to photograph the shearing this year (and I was busy chasing evasive puffballs in need of a clip) but it looked very similar to last year. There is not much money in wool for the shepherd, even for quite good fleeces the likes of which we have. It doesn’t help that I lack the skill and experience to efficiently add value to the product without help. Having it milled would cost north of $6/skein which doesn’t leave much margin to sell significant quantities of yarn and get any return for the wool and time invested. Wholesaling it is worth very little so the exact plan for it remains a subject for further marketing subcommittee meetings.
Enough blah blahing. Here are a few pictures Christine took of the sorting/skirting/rolling/packing yesterday. Processors don’t like vegetation in the fleeces. Mine were quite clean but I picked through them further, pulled off the particularly dirty bits from the sides and bottoms, and rolled them. Paddie does some quality control. Her verdict: tasty but could use some bacon fat.
There will be more farm animal pictures soon. I know that’s why you’re all here.