Spring Wool Harvest and Various Reflecting Thoughts...

Last month was a busy one for us. We continue to start various seeds every week. Some recent starts are Flat Leaf Parsley, Thyme, Purple Broccoli, Waltham Broccoli, Snowball Self-Blanching Cauliflower, and a variety of onions: Flat Italy, Bianca Di Maggio, and Copra.

I have also been elbow deep in wool. My spring shearing has been completed. Yippee! One huge weight has been lifted. I have been sorting wool, preparing it to take to the processor.

~Natural Colored and White Romney Wool~
~Waiting to take to the processor~

Shearing has gone well this year. This was my third year to shear. This shearing season, I experienced feeling a bit more comfortable, which is a huge blessing, as shearing for hand spinning fleece is intimidating to me.

Back in February, I actually talked myself out of shearing. I told myself, 'Just call someone to do the shearing, everything would be much easier.' But the battle inside me, did not leave. Calling the shearer was the easy way out of not facing my fear. Last year, I really disliked shearing. I love the sheep, but struggled seriously with the shearing. I had more than 'several moments' of frustration and tears. The sheep have become much bigger, heavier, and stronger, than my first 'easy' year of shearing them.
Shearing is not an easy task for me. It takes what feels like brute strength, to muscle around a sheep that outweighs me. Not to mention, the heaviness of the shears (clippers) after a while. My arms soon feel like they can't hold anything, and then I add, 'Do Not Cut the Sheep!'

So with these thoughts gathered in my mind, I think, 'Who would want to take on this job?' 'Me!' I answer to myself, 'You don't get anywhere running away from your fears!' I remind myself of the little black bucking pony I first learned to ride on, when I was eight years old. I can remember to this day being so terrified on him, yet I loved horses. Through tears and injuries, I overcame the fear, advancing on to another level of learning and riding.

~Natural Colored Romney Wool with sun kissed tips~
So I found with the help of my husband's encouraging words to 'keep trying' and 'don't quit', along with his assisting me in handling the sheep, I am able to complete the task. I am very grateful. Shearing is just learning 'how to'. It is nothing more than what we have been doing for the last five years in preparation for our move. It is just a different topic. My husband would do the shearing in a moment, if I asked. However, we purchased the sheep as a hobby for myself, after my horse was put down. I needed a stimulating hobby again; something that would be a challenge. And that challenge I have received. ~grin~
~ White Romney Wool~
(The darker brown tones in the wool above, is lanolin, which rinse easily out, becoming pure white wool.)
~Love the crimp in this fleece~

I spent one weekend (in the evenings), and several nights after work sorting fleeces in the barn. One night the tiredness just hit me. I had become so fully engaged with my sorting, and did not realize just how worn-out I was feeling, nor the time. I thought, 'hmmm, I guess I'd better quit for tonight.' As I came inside the house, I imagined the time was about 8:30 p.m. To my shocking surprise, it was 11:30 p.m. No wonder I was feeling drained.

~Natural Colored Romney Wool~
I used to know what feeling 'tired' was like. These days, I believe my husband and I are functioning more in the sense of exhaustion. We do burn the candle at both ends. There is no lie in writing that. We know it is not a good thing, and we are trying to remedy it.

Spring is always a busy time, especially when you've taken the steps to supplying as much of your needs as possible. Last summer, my husband and I talked about my going back to school. By going back to school, it would be favorable for our future farmstead venture.

We continued to talk about how much we already do here. Could we find any more energy in taking on one more item of focus? School will take three to four hours every day, away from what I (we) am (are) doing here. Could we manage it?

With our food preparation from scratch, seeding, growing, harvesting, preserving the foods we grow, weeding the growing plots, mowing lawns and pastures, daily livestock care, maintaining household chores (house cleaning, laundry, unexpected house repairs, etc.) an unexpected injury or sickness of either livestock or human, and of course our off farm jobs. Could we find a way to do it?

In last summer's conversation, we agreed starting school in the fall would be the best, as my husband said he did not think he could not do all the planting, harvesting, and weeding himself, along with all his other normal chores. So, it was agreed that the fall would be the best time for me to start school.

October arrived and so did unexpected news of my favorite aunt being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Hearing the details of what she was enduring, had pretty much taken alot of my ambition away. I fought depression off and on. There was no way I could keep my attention focused on learning. So school had to wait. I was torn.

At the end of January, I began to get a feel that I could focus on school again. The shock of my aunt's terminal illness had eased, and I had come to terms with her expected passing.

I began to get excited about school again. Shortly, more unexpected news came about my husband's brother; the same brother who had taken ill with a stroke last March. Interestingly, his stroke was caused by a torn vein in his neck. My brother in law had worked through his physical disabilities caused from the stroke, and now was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Because my sister in law came to us very upset with the news of my brother in law's diagnosis, I offered my knowledge of health and natural ways of supporting the body for possible healing. I read many nights late into the morning. I studied as much as I could on the subject of cancer, a disease at times, that has filled me with anxiety.

I am not a doctor, but I truly believe what my brother in law was offered for treatment, was not going to give his body the support it needed to fight this battle. If he died, I did not want to look back, and think to myself, 'Could I have offered any knowledge to help save his life?'

As of now, my aunt is coming very near the end of her life. She is surrounded by her family. My brother in law is doing well at this time.

I have come to the acceptance, as much as I would love to blog on a regular basis, it is not going to happen right now. I just can't find the extra energy or time.

In our list of 'Things to Learn About', in preparation for our move, the list is getting small. Nonetheless, my schooling is an important part we need. It could actually be holding us back on our move. I'm six months behind, according to my timing.

Then again, if there is one thing I have learned with all of our homestead, self-sufficient preparations, this journey is all being directed in our Creator's perfect timing. I will keep faith.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit.

Have a wonderful day!


Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise' Ephesians 5:15niv

Update Note: After posting this, I feel a need to clarify my useage of "fear".  Fear = Failure. 


Mr. H. said...

I must congratulate you on your determination with the sheep. My wife has recently overcome and excelled at a few of her own challenging endeavours as I can appreciate the effort involved with the sheep, it looks like a lot of work. But oh how rewarding in the end.:)

It is very hard in this modern day and age to live in both worlds, living a self sufficient lifestyle can be most trying at times. I really hope you are able to go back to school and at the same time maintain the wonderful lifestyle the two of you have chosen to create for yourselves.

Our thoughts are with you as you undertake all of these tasks. I truly believe that God made us much stronger than we sometimes realize. Take everything in stride and you will surely persevere.

Take care,

Mike & Micki

"Trials, temptations, disappointments - all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of character but strengthen it. Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy.”

- James Buckham

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hello Mike & Micki!

Thank you for your very kind and encouraging words. They are especially thoughtful. :0)

I can't agree more with all that you have written! Your words are all very true!

Love the quote!

Blessings to you both!


Elisabeth said...

I can imagine that it would be hard to muscle those lambs into being still while you shear them. Do you have a stand where you can tie them up? My kids shear their lambs for 4-H and a stand is really helpful but they've also did it with them tied up but they may be more tame than yours.

I love the idea of the simple life, too, but as much as I want it, it does seem to be always just out of reach.

I'm sorry to hear about your relatives.

Elisabeth @ Treasuring the Moments

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hi Elisabeth!

Yes, taming the sheep makes a very big difference. When I got them, I did not know alot about sheep, other than their basic feed and care needs.

They were so scared when I got them, I wanted them to settle, and not be so afraid.

Looking back, I faulted in not being more aggressive, (such as handling them when they were lambs, 'even though' they were fearful). It was hard for me to 'take up' that kind of thinking, as in working horses, it's total opposite. Now I know.

The breed has alot to do with the 'tameness' also. As I have been told more of the meat breeds (example: Suffolks) are like dogs on leashes.

Ah yes, the 'simple life' was out of reach for us too. But at some point we just decided to 'go for it'. It became our 'daily goal', and still is today.

If the timing is right, and you 'really' want it, you can achieve it. It is a slow work in progress, however.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. I enjoyed your thoughts!