Sunday, August 17, 2008

Getting fleeces ready to show!

Today I got 5 fleeces ready to show at the Hookstown Fair. The selection and preparation of show fleeces actually begins on shearing day. As the sheep are sheared, we take notes on the condition of the fleeces and note which fleeces are suitable to show. Each fleece is stored in a separate bag and tagged with each ewe's ear tag number. Potential show fleeces are set aside and are then heavily "skirted" right before they are taken to the fair. In the bottom picture, we see the fleece from our Dorset ewe #103 as it was dumped put of the bag. The fleece is opened up on the sorting table and areas of heavy vegetable matter, dung tags, and short belly wool are sorted off or "skirted" from the fleece. Note the pile of dirty "scrap" wool in front of the skirted fleece in the picture second from the bottom. The fleece is then rolled up and tied with paper twine for the show. In a well skirted fleece, quite a bit of wool can be skirted off to provide the cleanest possible wool for hand spinning or washing. Finally, we see the same fleece tied inside out for judging in the wool show.

This year Wild Rose Farm is showing 5 fleeces ---- 1 Rambouillet, 2 Dorsets, and 2 Commercial or crossbred fleeces. They were dropped off today at the fairgrounds, but they won't be judged until Friday August 22nd.

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