I have been accused of being a sheep magnet.....I think I found the lodestone...... Eastern Oregon!
I had paid deposits on a Shetland ram from Stonehaven in Halfway and a gulmoget ewe lamb from Call of the Wool in Enterprise. As I had no vacation time left I had to plan the trip for a weekend. Round trip it is close to 1,000 miles (989 to be exact). I decided to leave work a little early to try and get to Halfway before dark, but even with leaving at a little after 1 pm I didn't make it until after 9:30 pm, and that was with giving Kylie only two potty breaks and my truck two gas stops.
Brook and Lois greeted me in front of their house, their three Border Collies, Angus,Toby, and Finn greeted Kylie. I got to stay in their great guest room which is over the wool room. It is decorated with wool in mind....spinning wheel, loom, Navajo herder/weaver pictures, wool mattress cover. It is no wonder I fell asleep so quickly.....counting sheep.....:)
Kylie had to wake me up in the night to let me know "something" was going on and she didn't want to face it on her own. There was flashes of light outside the window, one right after another, lightning. We finally drifted back off to sleep and were awakened by the sun streaming in the window. Through the window we were greeted with a magnificent view of the mountains.
Kylie had a friend waiting down below the window calling up to her to come down. I think it was Angus, though I think Kylie was infatuated with Finn. It did remind me a bit of Romeo and Juliet....Kylie standing looking down from her window, wagging her tail.
At this point I have to apologize for not having taken pictures...it was such a whirlwind trip that I didn't even have time to remember I had a camera along!
Lois and I spent the morning meeting the sheep...rams, ewes and lambs. There were SO many beautiful sheep in SO many luscious colors, it was hard for me to make any kind of quick decision. I begged for help from Lois and between us I picked out a beautiful black ewe named Flora and Ilse a stylish Musket ewe. Fortunately for me I think, I only had a small trailer as I wanted to keep picking out more!
All the rams had good temperaments and were handsome. Lots of gorgeous colors there as well. I met Duncan, soon to move his address to Wrensong Farm, and I was hoping he wouldn't be too disappointed with less acreage, girls and male company!
I met Poppy, the llama out with the ewes. A very inquisitive, friendly girl. Loved being pet and definitely wanted to be the center of attention! She kept stepping between Lois and I so we'd have to look around or over her to talk to each other.
Brook and Lois had decided that they would like to take me to Mimis in Halfway for lunch. I got to ride in my first Hybrid car, their Prius. Super quiet car. Kylie got to go with because of the heat and I didn't trust her enough to leave her anywhere but inside my truck.
Mimis was wonderful, too many choices! I chose one of their specials, a Poblano chili stuffed with scrambled eggs, onion, chives and tomato. A huge helping of all kinds of fresh fruit came as a side with some delicious toast. There were homemade preserves to put on the toast too! Kylie was very well behaved (for a change) and just laid under the table in the shade. She was comfortable enough to lay on her back with her feet in the air.
Back to Stonehaven and Lois asked if I wanted a crash course in spinning and knitting. Even though my head was still "spinning" from all the sheep and information I had been given earlier I agreed.
We went back in the wool room and I asked Lois a bit more about skirting fleeces as she had one spread out on a skirting table. I also asked what roving was (yes I know, what a neophyte!) and was shown bags of wonderful fleece in sinuous roving.
Lois picked out some grey, took out a drop spindle and started to show me how to spin on it. She made it look SO easy, and I made it look SO hard! Lois said there is no such thing as bad yarn......so my lumpy attempt has nothing but character!! :)
Next up was knitting.....Lois said "We're making a washcloth, so it's usable even if it doesn't look perfect" Goooood thing! I couldn't have felt clumsier if I was trying to knit with my toes.....as a matter of fact it might have helped if I could have used my toes. It started to get a little easier, and hopefully I can remember how to pick back up on this when I get home.
I got to see Brooks shop where he makes beautiful handmade guitars. Go here to see them: www.brookmooreguitars.com It made me wish I had taken more guitar lessons in my teens!
It was getting late and I had to still drive to Enterprise to meet up and stay the night with Briana and her family.
Lois had Angus and Finn move the ewes into the barn so we could separate out Flora and Ilse. Flora still needed an ear tag so Lois brought the tag and tagging tool with us into the barn. Then all of a sudden the part of the tag with the number was gone! Brook looked high and low for that yellow tag in that yellow straw......finally it turned up....Lois found it outside. Meanwhile I'm hanging onto Flora that has just about had enough of my hanging onto her. She went to make a break and spins me around in a circle but didn't manage to break my grip. Love those little "sheep rodeos". :) Tagged and ready to go, Flora and Ilse are separated out.
Next comes Duncan. It's always funny how animals seem to know when you are scheming about something. The rams weren't too sure about cooperating. Finally deciding that they didn't have anything to be concerned about they went into the pen. Yup, no one had anything to be concerned about......except Duncan. Lois put a halter on him and we took him out of the pen. She handed me the lead rope and he walked right along like we were going to the park. Lois said he probably thought I was bringing him to some girls for breeding. True, I was bringing him to some girls but there was no time to think of breeding as there was an exciting trailer ride ahead!
To be continued..........