Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Now here are those lovely lamb pics I promised all taken before the lambs were 2 weeks old....in fact the white one and her black brother pictured here with their wensleydale mum were only a week old!
All the lambs were huge and all born very easily and quickly....I have concluded a Gotland x Wensleydale is a good idea!
I also want to show you some machinery.......that is very exciting!!
First take some weaving waste wool ends or old knitting wool, felt waste, insulation waste etc.....second take a chopper...thats the green machine dating from 1960 and feed in the wool and watch it shoot out of the end all chopped!
Next picture shows the chopped wool....different colour to the stuff I photographed going through the chopper....goes onto the wooden conveyor belt and is taken in through the rollers.....very well protected by a mesh guard as if you got caught in it ....you would come out in bits too....!!!
Third picture shows the other end and the beautiful web of blue it has turned into which can be made into batts for felt and insulation or tops for spinning or just fluff for blending with other wools and colours.
Final picture is a close up of the result.....amazing eh? We are the only people doing this as far as we can tell!

Get in touch quickly if you want a product made, want to make felt, want to recycle your wool, want to wash the wool from your sheep.....pics of the new solar panels powering the water for the washer next time.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gosh its nearly a month since I last posted.....where does time go?
I have finally decided to give up livestock, so have sold all.....yes all my sheep. Some have gone to a nice home in Gloucestershire, some are going to Hereforedshire (The whole Ouessant flock, as soon as they finish lambing) some are going to Yeovil to a big flock and some have already gone to Yeovil....more in a minute and one ewe and her lamb to Devon. The pigs have gone too.....to Wales and Somerset and the 2 remaining porkers depart for piggy heaven (and my freezer) next Thursday........why?

Well after 28 years I decided that it had to be my family and sanity first, business second and sheep...a very consuming hobby....had to go.
Some people have asked if I couldn't have kept a few about the place, but when its in your blood a few tend to become a few more and.....

I sold some in the market, where they were bought by a farmer I know well from Yeovil who has since bought the rest privately.....It was hard taking the ewes and lambs to market, harder than I thought it would be as I often buy and sell there. But this was the last time.....the last dance....the end of an era.....and I sobbed my way through talking to friends, eating my bacon buttie in the market cafe and washing out my trailer in the washout queue.

Some people dabble with smallholding for a while, its an experience they say, one we wouldn't have missed. But other of us live and breathe it.....very hard to put into words how it is....which is probably why many cannot put it into words and probably why the market is full of old ex farmers who just cannot keep away....who need their 'fix' who need to watch the cattle, prod a few sheep, talk of the old days, rue progress and the dawn of the new age of electronic ear tags and multiple choice trailer tests. At nearly 49 I am a young wipper snapper in the market and a woman to boot.....yet I am retiring from livestock......never again will I call my sheep in and watch them all run and jump across the fields in their race for the troughs and never again will I sit in the midst of them enjoying their appreciative company. But life must go on.....new beginnings and all that.....
All my equipment, collected over the years is being sold, some has gone, some is even going to France!......keeping it just in case would be like placing a glass of beer in front of an alchoholic...
So sad days......
But I will still be involved indirectly.....just think of the 30 tonnes of wool I will be processing this year.
I took some pictures of this years lambs before they went....I will post them soon as a final reminder and then the blog will update and move on.