When the hay is ready, it is cut and placed into long rows called windrows.
The field in front of our house is about 10 acres.
The grass, legume, and forb mixture was beautiful and tall.
Our neighbor, Mr. D., cut the hay for us.
One of the legume species we planted several years ago is called sainfoin (pronounced san-foin). It is a non-bloat legume and produces beautiful pink flowers.
The east field is about 20 acres
After the hay dries, it is baled.
The yield was tremendous!
While the hay was drying, we experienced several rain showers. Although the rain has a modest negative impact on nutrition, it really bleaches the nice bright green color out, leaving a more drab olive color.
As the baler works, the bales seem to just pop up.
Soon the fields are covered with bales.
The bales leave beautiful geometric designs in the fields.
Soon after baling, a fellow farmer brings his self-propelled bale wagon over to pick up and stack the bales. He can drive through the fields at speeds approaching 30 mph!
Although it is 40 years old, the machine is still a marvel to watch.
After stacking, it is important to cover the bales to prevent damage from rain storms.
Doug and Sally work to tie down one of the hay tarps.
All done...! The hay is stacked, tarped, and ready for sale! We ended up with 2,707 bales from our first cutting!
"I've spent the whole weekend spinning up Bluebell's fleece. There's still a lot to do but I couldn't resist the temptation to swatch a bit. I wish you could see how beautiful it is. I'd send a photo, but I doubt that the picture would do it justice. The yarn is a rich, deep black with threads of silver running through it. It has such a lustre--it looks like anthracite. I'm finishing a winter cardigan for the grandbaby but as soon as I'm done, I'll be starting one for me using this awesome wool. "
This gray fleece came from, Bernie, our oldest Romney ewe. At eight years old she is still producing quality, soft wool!
Even though Bernie's staple length is shorter than average for our flock, her wool still spins into beautiful yarn.
Bernie is one of our vegetable and fruit eaters! We take our vegetable scraps out to the sheep and call, "Bernie, Bernie." She comes running over with big, wide eyes to see what we have for her. Bernie's favorite goodies are carrot peels, pears, and soft apples!
Here is the feedback we received on Bernie's 2010 fleece:
"Bernie's fleece arrived today. It is every bit as gorgeous as last year's fleece. Thanks so much for taking the care and time to provide us spinners with a quality product. I'll be in touch with my requests for next year's clip!" - M.J.M - Montana
Belle produced this beautiful fleece for our February 2010 shearing. It is a striking black color with silver strands; the silver intensifies the natural luster. One of our customers from Arizona purchased Belle's fleece and here are a couple photos and her comments about the project so far.
"I can't tell you how great it is to be working with such a beautiful fleece! I knew I wanted to do something special with this fleece, so I will be spinning this into yarn during the "Tour de Fleece" (on Ravelry) this summer. My end goal is to have 1400 yards of worsted weight yarn to knit into a cardigan for winter wear this year. "
"As you can see from my pictures, I've only spun one 2 oz skein so far (100 yards), but I am thrilled with how well it's turning out! I still have about 1/3 of the fleece yet to scour, and then I have to pick and card into batts, but it's going so well, I am tempted to start the spinning before the tour starts!!"