Hooray for some nice weather! Wool is getting washed and the garden is going in. The wool is some from the giant bag of wool I got last year. Most of the wool is VERY gross and full of stickers and a lot of it is ending up in a compost pile in the pasture. But some of it is coming clean and is lovely and soft. I have been working on a new to me method of washing the wool. Because lots of it isn’t worth saving I haven’t been too picky about the wool. I have been grabbing chunks or a fleece (however it ends up coming out of the bag), skirting the really gross stuff off and the big sections of burrs and then throwing it into a tub out in the yard. At this point I run a hose in and just run cold water through it. No soap, no hot water, no spin dry, no extra anything. Fill, soak, and re-fill. I’ve been letting each batch go for a couple of days like this. Not for any special reason but simply because I have lots of other things going as well and I’ll walk away and forget that I had wool going. I know. Not terribly responsible but it does make it easier than stressing about it.
So far the only real downside is that washing wool takes a ton of water. That is true no matter how you do it though. At least this way it is helping to water the plants, and with all the sheep poo it is fertilizing too. The wool is coming reasonably clean. At least to a point where I can pick over it again before washing it with any sort of soap and in smaller batches. For the most part it probably isn’t really worth doing all the work. I certainly wouldn’t have paid for this wool. It was free though so it is just costing me time, water, and power for the well pump.
On a similar note, I was looking at some old sheep shearing photos on Modern Farmer the other day and comparing the bags of wool to my bag of wool, my bag may be as much as 500 pounds. Well, it can probably hold that much. I’m going to guess that it wasn’t quite 500 pounds in there, but it was full and did take two people to move on and off the vehicle.
I’m feeling happier about the way things are going now that the weather is cooperating a bit more. I would like to get that big bag of wool processed by the end of the year. I also have an alpaca blanket that needs washed as well. I tried spinning before washing and the yarn just didn’t come as clean as I would like.
All that has to happen in between trying to get the last of the garden in. I am finally reasonably sure we won’t get hard freezes now that it is almost June. My place is still about two weeks behind the valley floor though. I am noticing things like the choke cherries up here are just starting to bloom and down in the valley they bloomed almost a month ago. Amazing what just a little bit of elevation will do to you.
One day I’ll build a little wool house with attached green house for my back garden. I would really love a solarium attached to the south side of the house. A place to start plants in the spring and a warm sunny place to spin in the winter. That would be lovely. For now that is just a dream. Now I’d better get back to my reality and work on getting the last of my tomatoes in along with the flower and cucumber seeds that need to get planted. As the farmer’s market is only two weeks away those two weeks are going to be super busy.