Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Agatha and Violet.
This week, a pretty important fiber-y thing happened: I got two wool sheep!
I've been wanting sheep for a couple of years now. Back in the spring, I started looking into nearby farms and who had lambs to sell. In May, we randomly discovered that someone just minutes away had some wool sheep: Gulf Coast Native sheep (also called Gulf Coast, Louisiana native, etc.), and that they'd be willing to sell a couple of ewe lambs. So yesterday, months later, things finally lined up for us to go get them. (I also came home with two bags of alpaca fiber.)
I had never heard of this breed of sheep before, but they actually have an interesting history and they're a critical conservation breed. (Read more about them here.) And unlike most wool sheep, they're naturally suited to live in the hot and humid South. They're very resistant to parasites and foot rot, a fact that really impressed my dad. (He's the shepherd of the family and has a flock of St. Croix hair sheep.) I've only worked with a little fleece from this breed so far, but I like it. It's decently soft and easy to deal with.
Both of my lambs were born this year...one several months earlier than the other, judging by the size. I thought a lot about names, as you can imagine. :) Ever since I wanted sheep, I've wanted to name one of them Agatha. I think it's a name that looks beautiful but sounds a bit strange when you speak it. (So basically, a name that I like enough to give an animal but not a child, ha.) I'm a big Agatha Christie fan, so that was probably an influence. Continuing on with the old-fashioned British name theme*, the little one is Violet. (Because yes, the Dowager Countess is my favorite character on Downton Abbey.) They're both very shy and skittish around people, and as much as I just want to love on them, that hasn't happened yet and probably won't. When I'm nearby, they're either pretending to ignore me or twitching nervously. So I try not to bother them too much.
I guess this means I'm technically a fiber farmer? :)
*Remember, I named my cat after Mr. Knightley. I had good intentions, but sadly my Knightley isn't kind, honest, and dignified like his namesake. He's odd, hilarious, spastic, and a bit of a troublemaker. My boyfriend says Mr. Bean would have been a more appropriate name, which would be insulting if it wasn't so true.