And only now are we coming up for air! Home Farm Wensleydales has had its busiest year yet and I’m not surprised that the last time I updated the blog was January.
Since then we have lambed 120 ewes and have 208 lambs plus ‘7 surprises’ skipping around our fields. Big thanks to everyone who followed lambing in the ‘party tent’ during February and March – thanks for your support and we hope to do the same again next year.
April was a lovely month for us – we had our own ‘orphan’ lambs – 30 of them – to look after. By orphan, we don’t mean that the ewe died – rather, she had 3 or even 4 lambs to look after, so we helped out. Its asking a lot for a ewe to feed more than 2 lambs, and if she does then usually she suffers for it. So although it’s very difficult at the time, it’s best all round if we help out by taking one or two of her lambs away.
The ‘lamb lounge’ was great fun and we had hired a monster milk machine so the lambs always had fresh warm milk on demand.
May was an important month – shearing time. This year we were delighted to have Josh Page shear for us. Josh is a champion shearer from Wales and it was a pleasure to have him stay with us for a couple of days while he was shearing. Incredible to see him start at 6am and still be shearing under floodlight at 10pm! My sheep felt all the better for it and I’ve now started to sort my way through a barn full of fleece. I always let the fleece rest before sorting as this gives a chance for any moisture to evaporate and the grease to settle.
In June we took delivery of our 4 ply yarn in the same shades as our DK. We are absolutely delighted with the quality and ‘squishability’ of this beautiful yarn. I take huge satisfaction in knowing that this yarn started with me delivering the lamb through to feeding daily to shearing, to driving the fleece to Bradford to be washed separately to then collect and take to Laxtons in Leeds for spinning. This is what I mean when I say ‘genuine’ on the label of my yarn and you really can tell the difference. Ps – the label is from Bradford and a big thanks to Steven who always rushes through the order in time for the wool spinning.
In July our thoughts turn to winter! And this year we seem to have got the haylage right – which is so important for feeding the sheep through the winter months. We tested the grass before cutting and again once the haylage is wrapped. Hoping for lovely sweet smelling haylage this year for our hungry girls. However, as I blog, I’m still wondering if we are ever going to cut the hay field! Fingers crossed for 5 days of good sunny weather in August.
We’ve had such a lovely time at the shows this year to date. Our first visit to Edinburgh Yarn Festival (http://www.edinyarnfest.com/) was amazing and we hope to be there again next year. The new fair Spring into Wool (http://www.springintowool.co.uk/) was a busy and incredibly well organised day in Leeds. Wonderwool Wales (http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/home.html) , Woolfest (http://www.woolfest.co.uk/) and Shipston Wool Fair (http://shipstonwoolfair.co.uk/) gave us the chance to take our sheep which is always a challenge but good fun at the same time. We have learnt not to take sheep that can jump a hurdle from a standing start! British Wool Show (http://britishwool.net/) was at its new location in Thirsk and thankfully our customers still managed to find us and finally Fibre East (http://www.fibre-east.co.uk/) was a lovely weekend, very busy and, as always, fun. Since we live close by, it was lovely to have
Amanda and Dave from Joe’s Toes (https://joestoes.co.uk/) stay with us at Home Farm.
Looking towards our next show, we have Yarndale - (http://yarndale.co.uk/).
This is new for us – and we are really excited to be part of this popular event in Skipton on 23 and 24 September.
But for now – happy Summer to you all …