My adventures in the world of handspinning

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sheep and I

Growing up, I didn't have much time for sheep. Mum and Dad had a dairy farm so cows were our strong point. Sheep were used to graze the orchard areas and of course to add variety to the freezer by means of homekill. I don't ever remember talking to them or spending much time thinking about them.
Twice a year though they needed shearing - and that was when the fun and games began! The woolshed (which Grandpa had built years ago so maybe there were more sheep around then?) was a few paddocks away from the orchard and house area.
You see programmes on TV of high country sheep mustering, there are dogs and people on horseback. Whistles, barking and eye dogs seem to effortlessly move those sheep from mountain ridges back to 'the homeblock'. Hundreds of sheep moving en masse in the right direction.
Not so on the Denton farm. All hands on deck. Running, yelling, swearing, sheep darting off in all directions, us sprinting to turn them back, arms flapping, more yelling and swearing oh and plenty of sweating. Those of you who have worked with sheep will know that if one breaks free, all the rest follow - like sheep!
Each time Dad would think he'd set it up properly, more gates strung up, cunning plans made to get those sheep from A to B with the minimum of fuss. In my memory, those plans never seemed to work!
Apparently I did take notice of the sheep we had! This photo (and the 
one above) was dated 1976.
It's strange then that when I was farm working after leaving school I decided to buy a black ram so that I could have coloured fleeces to spin. Two problems, one, poor old Dad would have to look after my ram as I had nowhere to run it, and two, I didn't actually know how to spin. To my knowledge I'd never yearned after spinning until I saw that ram for sale...obviously my crafting genes were stronger than my 'sheep are silly creatures' genes!
I have this odd memory that I may have named the ram Hercules?
Fast forward a few years, I got busy going to university for a year, farming, marrying, more farming and having children. Hercules was busy siring coloured sheep all over the place. Lambs with spots, sets of twins with one white and one black. Very cute. Never once did Dad tell me what a curse it was having coloured fleeces mixed in with the white at shearing time. Never once did anyone ask me if I was actually ever going to learn how to spin.
Looking back, what a patient and tolerant family I have.
33 years later, one of Hercules' descendants.
I feel another post about 'my' sheep coming on but will leave it here for today.
Thanks for reading along, see you another time.
Raewyn, a spinningfarmgirl


  1. I can't wait to see what you spin from your OWN sheep!

  2. Lovely story chicky and thanks for sharing xxxxx

  3. Lovely story chicky and thanks for sharing xxxxx


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