Winter Wardrobe


Wednesday morning Holly rounded up the lambs and ewes and grabbed the buckets of clean sheep coats. The gang is really putting on wool at this time of year and we had been noticing quite a few jackets with snug fits. 

We're also transitioning now from pasture to hay feeding. There's still grass out there, but as the earth hardens with each frost it gets more and more difficult to set the stakes of our temporary electronet fencing into the ground. I've learned from past experience not to wait too long to take down the electronet. Mike and I once tried extending grazing right up to Christmas. While there was no snow, we had to chisel each and every stake out of the frozen ground. No fun at all.

Sheepinholdingpe n

Here's a closer look at the gang in the huddle. Personally, I hate crowds, but sheep for some reason are most comfortable when they are nearly on top of one another (at least in a handling situation). It's the prey animal, safety-in-numbers mentality, I suppose. Anyway, they absolutely hate being chased and it's much easier this way to grab them one at a time .

They are good sports about the coat changing procedure. I hold them by the chin while Holly lifts one hind hoof at a time and slips the rear leg straps. Stopping to admire the fleeces, we pull the coat up and over the back and wriggle it free from the neck wool. Next comes a fresh new coat, a size larger. 

The sizes are marked with colored bits of cloth sewn into the front seam. The small lambs who had been wearing yellows are upgraded to reds. The larger lambs in reds are ready for tan coats. Most of the ewes are already in tans. To make room for their expanding fleece we up-size them to silvers. 

An hour later, the coat check is complete. Here they are looking pretty spiffy in their clean white jackets, exiting the wardrobe.
Sheepinnewcoats exit


On Saturday, November 29, you can stop by to meet this wooly gang. I am hosting my one and only Open Farm/Open Studio event for the year. The lambs will be in the carriage barn, and you can also meet Gypsy, my new Angora doe (who, as you can see from this photo, is a free-spirited nudist). If you want more details, like how to find my farm, click here.


Tomorrow I head west on the Mohawk Trail, round the infamous hairpin turn to Williamstown MA. I'll be attending and vending  Clara Parkes' Knitters Review Retreat this weekend. That means today I will be very busy wrapping things up in the dye studio . . . 

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