Carding wool for one thing.
Most of our sheep are Katahdin (hair sheep no wool). Sometimes they keep what looks like a ragged blanket on their back. It is the winter coat that for some reason they don’t shed and the shearer hates to clip off because the hair dulls the clipper blade. But that is another story. Next time Elmer (the shearer) is here, I’ll be sure to get photos. Anyway, there is one ram that is a Florida Native and he does produce a thick coat of wool and Elmer did shear him for me. I wasn’t thinking about skirting which means cleaning all the gunk out or carding wool which is like combing it so it can be spun so it can be made into something. Did you notice how many steps there were before even thinking about what you want make with all that wool. And I only have one bag full! Since I didn’t pick it up or clean it that same day I got to clean out extra gunk. Now serious wool producers put “coats or sweaters” on their sheep to keep the wool clean. I think that takes all the joy out of it. Nope I don’t know how to spin and I’ll probably use what I have to make some comfy dog beds for Sugar and Yoda. But I had to try it at least once just to appreciate what our ancestors had to do just to put a shirt on their back or a blanket on their bed.
Whenever anyone comes to visit, I show them the hand-cranked carding machine and they all want to give it a try. It is fun to see the results of these first steps. We’re still picking organic matter out of the fleece as we card a second and third time. It does look pretty, even in its natural state. I’ve looked at some “How to” videos and some folks are really serious artist using the beautiful natural and dyed product.
Working on the quilts I started about three years ago.
It will be some time before they are finished. I actually only make the tops and send them off to be machine quilted. Many of my friends are skilled at hand quilting but I’m too impatient for that project. The two I’m working on are for a king bed and a rope bed upstairs in the Barn Room. The walls are barn red thus the name. It is actually quite comfortable and not too bright.
Planting pepper plants and other stuff on the deck garden.
I’m so proud of the success of the tomato plants. Some have already gone past their prime and others have taken their place. Now I’m adventuring into pepper varieties. I’ve also been digging up Mayhaw seedlings and potting them. Not all have survived but enough that I’m encouraged and will continue. I’ve deemed Jefferson County the Mayhaw Capital of Florida. No one else has claimed it so I’m getting there first.
The day-to-day stuff.
Well we have a full house this holiday weekend of mostly dogs and right now only one cat. It is fun to work with and see the varieties from 150 pounds down to 8 pounds. Not together of course. Our son Phil is here for a week working on his place. We lend him a hand from time to time but he does most everything himself. The blueberries he planted in May are doing nicely and in a few years there will be a great crop. It is all natural but he and Fran did install irrigation. All our ponds are still dry but the intermittent showers have certainly helped green the pastures.
It actually seems like a vacation to me even though I don’t go away. Coffee every morning on the front deck is a pleasant way to start the day. Digging in the dirt to pot some plants. Visiting and talking to the critters around the farm. Gathering chicken eggs and trying to discover where the guineas are hiding theirs. Some days a casual trip into Monticello for a meal at one of our local restaurants. It’s a small town so we always see folks we know. We can sit at a table outside on one of the main streets and give a wave to friends driving around the courthouse. Life is good.