I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Kristin's farm this weekend and again early in the week to watch the sheep shearing festivities. The farm is a lively mix of three sheep (Luna, Pheobe, and Cocoa), a dog, four cats, and around nine chickens at last count. It's situated in Northern Virginia on a slope that catches the sun going down just perfectly behind the barn on top of the hill.
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Part 1 - Prep Day
Kristin is a very talented spinner, artist, and kindred spirit when it comes to the love of fiber, color, and animals. She was gracious enough to invite me over while she prepped and then watch the sheep being sheared by one of the best in the business, Emily Chamelin. To learn more about Kristin's farm and where to buy her yarn and fiber, visit:
She has some ameraucana chickens and I was pretty excited to take home some beautiful different colored eggs.
Bob keeps an eye on the farm although he is a bit older now. He's very sweet and quite a handsome fella.
She's done a beautiful job planting various flowers and vegetables with some of my favorites coming up now that spring is here.
Part 2 - Shearing Day
Emily arrived in the late afternoon and the sheep were in the pen ready to be sheared. The sheep are actually pretty relaxed and are in good hands with an experienced shearer. It takes strength and understanding of their anatomy and technique to be able to shear quickly and well without stress to the animal and to minimize second cuts of the fleece. It's like getting a haircut and doesn't harm them at all. In fact, because improved types of sheep have been bred to have continually grow fleece, it is a necessity. A fleece can weigh anywhere from a couple to a dozen pounds so on a hot day it must be nice to have all that wool come off.
There are various positions and precise cuts that the shearer uses to remove the entire fleece in one single piece. The sheep are held in place and relax when moved into position. Sometimes they make funny faces.
Afterwards they are free to go. These ewes were chatty after their new haircuts.
As the sun went down it was time for me to go home and get a couple last pictures of the chickens. I'm so grateful to have such generous friends to allow me to share these fine days with them chatting about sheep and spinning.