Saturday, March 30, 2013

Adventures with Sheep Revisited

You may remember my first experience with a sheep in Morocco. The one who I was riding along side with in a car. This next experience didn't involved sheep riding in cars, but did involved nail clippers. 

This all started when I decided I wanted to get some raw sheep's wool and hand spin in into yarn. (More on this story as it unfolds) I started myself on that journey by searching "sheep farms in Jackson" and it led me to Richard's Family Farm. I got ahold of Sand and Don Richard's via email and for just over a month we spoke about my coming to farm to pick up some "wool in the grease" I learned it to be called. Last Saturday Sand had me out for a tour of their farm and I got to see the sheep with their full winter coats on. She's a very talented fiber artist so I got to see some of her work spinning work and she gave me some wool in the grease to get me started. She invited me to come back a few days later when the sheep were going to be sheared. Wanting to get the full experience I was more than happy to accept. 

I attended the sheep shearing with a few other of the Richards' friends who also came to help. I watched the man as he sheared off the sheeps' winter coats to get them ready for spring. Don had asked me if I was getting the entire experience I wanted. At that point I was merely an observer.  He asked me if I would like to try clipping the sheeps' hooves and give them their medicine. Slightly nervous to try something new, but I knew I should never pass up an opportunity to add to the list of "things I've done."

Don and his brother Brian (the expert sheep manicurist) showed me how I would be trimming the over grown part on the sheeps' hooves, which were kind like fingernails. They held the sheep down for me as I trimmed. Once the sheep were down they didn't put up too much of a fight. I got right in their a used the big clippers to trim up the hooves, hoping the ejected parts wouldn't hit me in the face! Later gave them a shot of heartworm meds into their mouths. 

After all eight sheep were freshly sheared we went into the house where Sand had prepared us some lunch. We sat around the kitchen table, eating beef stew, and I had a fantastic time with perfect strangers. I found out that Brian, Don's brother, harvests maple syrup at his home in Pinckney.  He put an offer on the table to come out and see what it's like, and again quickly I agreed. 

I am hoping to do some more work with the Richard's at their farm. Last summer you may remember my stories from McLaughlin farm, where I first started this small farming hobby of mine. As one thing leads to the next I won't be one to say no to an opportunity  that generous people would like to give me.