January is on the way out, the very last day of my favorite month. January seems so fresh and clean, the start of the new year, with the months stretching out luxuriously behind, all the time in the world.
With the all-too-good weather, I decided to shear all the sheep at the Eames farm, where I take my old girls to retire. John Sanchez was available, and he and I met and sheared them all. There is no barn on the property, so I need to choose a time without rain, which as you know, wasn't difficult, more's the pity, and we went to work on a crisp afternoon.
The flock there includes the old girls who I take out of breeding because they are older, and older sheep tend to have the same kind of complications in pregnancy that older human moms do, and those sheep who don't have good mothers. Lester's mom was one of those. You may remember Lester, shown here inside with Kassie, my beloved golden who died this fall. Kassie was the super mom, who always took care of any kind of baby. When we fostered puppies from Canine Companions for Independence, they always slept with Kassie.
Lester's mom was a first-timer, and she was totally nuts after the birth, and wouldn't let Lester come any way close to her, so in the end, I had to take him away as he wasn't getting anything to eat. I raised him for a week, and then he went off to a foster mum, Susie, who loves lambs and takes exquisite care of them. He grew up and now lives with Mary, who will keep him forever high up on Sonoma Mountain.
Marlie deSwart came over to sort wool and we worked for two days, first skirting the fleeces, and then choosing the fleeces to make two blends, one the very popular black tweed, and this year, a brown tweed. We are on the second year of our new endeavor, Local Pastures Wool, using wool from Windrush Farm and from other small farmers who have just a few sheep and don't know what to do with their wool.
As you can see, there is wool everywhere, an embarrassment of riches. Shearing time is the harvest time for shepherds, and it is exciting to see all the different fleeces, the colors, from black, to gray, to brown to tan and white. The smell in the room is a country smell, rich perfume to my nose, a sheep smell, with overtones of sunshine, misty mornings, and grass. Truly time to be grateful for being a farmer.