One evening last week the phone rang. Oh surprise!!! The English accented voice on the other end of the phone line came bearing good news. The wool processing was done! Hurray!! Hurray!! I made arrangements for the day and time to make the drive to pick up my wool. I was a bit anxious to see the results of my first wool harvest, once it had been washed, picked and carded into roving's... ready for hand spinning. The English accented gentleman assured me the fleeces were a pleasure to work with. My mind scrambles... "That must be a good sign, right? Or was he just being polite?" Remembering now, how I labored at being so aware of where those clipper blades traveled along the sheeps body, not wanting to cut the sheep, the heaviness of the clippers, and the thick wool. This phone call brought back memories.
Perhaps I should give a bit of background leading up to having the wool processed. Prior to my shearing, I was told by various experienced sheep breeders not to have high expectations in my shearing. In fact, the hand spinners that I had spoken with, who also owned their own sheep flocks, did not shear themselves. Many just smiled and some actually laughed at my decision to shear my own sheep. I was told a beginner could not shear a quality hand spinners fleece with out second cuts. I was further encouraged that many first time shearer's begin the task, only to give up in the middle of the shearing.
Even though I only heard alot of discouraging words, I continued to focus on my goal. Shearing day came and went early in 2008, and is now a long ago memory. I do recall vividly doing the following: After shearing the wool off the sheep, I laid the fleece out flat to do what is called skirting (removing dirty wool and any vegetable matter). Next I placed each fleece separately into bed sheets and tied them gently and labeled with the sheep's name and date of harvest. From there I placed them in a card board box for storage. I walked away from those storage boxes that day, feeling very uncertain about what I had just done... the accomplishment of my first shearing experience. After all, it was my first time.
The results of my labored perserverance and staying steady in prayer resulted a hand spinners dream of luscious, splendid Romney wool roving's. The thing I regret the most about my first shearing, is I didn't take photo's of the fleece after it had been shorn and skirted. The locks of wool and colors were so extremely beautiful.
After arriving to pick up my wool that day, I further questioned this life long wool processors thought regarding my wool. In his English dialect he voiced that my process of growing and harvesting the wool was right on target and this was some very beautiful wool.
I look forward to harvesting my wool in 2009.
Glories to the Lord!