Friday, July 10, 2009

An evening with Inky

Looking ESE over the barn.

Last night as the light faded, I headed down to the barn to do chores. Since Rick still wasn't home when I finished, I decided to tackle an overdue task - "shearing" Inky. The old gal came with lots of VM in her fleece last year, and has added even more to it here. She is also very greasy and has a lot of what looks like skin flakes, so I knew this was not a fleece I would be keeping. I tied her up in the barn aisle, grabbed my spring-loaded Fiskars and a stool, and started snipping. Fortunately for both of us, Rick got home before I got too far and helped by holding both Inky and a flashlight so I could see better (the barn lights weren't sufficient illumination for my middle-aged eyes and Inky's jet-black wool). It took about an hour, and the results looked much less ragged than I expected!
I knew Inky was thin under her matt of dirty fleece, so there was no surprise there. I've never seen her shorn, so it was nice to get a good look at her structure. I really like this old ewe, and who can argue with her production (17 lambs raised) or her jet black coloring at eight years of age? This year's micron test results aren't too shabby, either: 28.9 AFD, 6.4 SD, 22 CV, 11.4 CEM, 30.7 maximum micron, 0.75 SD along staple.

With her fleece covered, perhaps I'll get a useable clip from her next year. Even if I don't, she is loved and appreciated for who she is and for the two good-looking lambs she gave me this year.Thanks again to Susan Kimball for letting me have her!

That's it for now from . . .

7 comments:

Claire said...

Inky looks lovely! I wish my hand shearing on the llamas was as even and attractive as your hand shearing job on Inky. She looks very dapper in her new coat. What an elegant lady she is.

Kathy said...

I think Inky is definitely the Grand Dame of Boulderneigh. She's my fav. Give her a hug for me next time you're in the barn, will you? :)

Tammy said...

Don't you just love the old girls? There is just something about them. My old one here is Rouen, also a black ewe. She is is nine this year and has produced 16 lambs over her lifetime (her first, for her former owner was full breech, only butt presentation, and before the owner could react, she popped him out on her own. She also refused to have anything to do with him! :-) Since then she has been a fierce loving mom). She was suppose to sit this one out this year, but got involved with the ram escape and gave me two little ewe lambs. She is skinnier than the rest, but not too bad and she gets special eats. She is very proud of her girls this year. I have to snare Tabitha one of the other ewes and give her a trim too. I hope it looks as good as your job! I'll be using scissors too, and cutting off the rise.
Tammy

Franna said...

The old girls are so endearing. I guess if they last that long at any one farm they have to be "special". We have one who came with an attitude - you can't catch me and I won't like it when you do! She just turned 10 this spring, and gradually decided that we are okay, and has become a sweetie. She's earned her retirement here, as "auntie" to the young ewes.

MiniKat said...

Inky is my favorite ewe that is still at Boulderneigh. :-)

susan said...

I wish I had saved Inky's lambs fleece, but I sold it at one of the show and sales that I entered it in in Dixon. She had won first place in the fine wooled colored class.
Were did you send your fleece samples. I still havn't made that step yet, but would like to try this year.
You should look up the photos that they have of Green holme Holly when he is older. There is one photo I remember seeing were he is tied to a fence on some green grass, you could really tell that she was his granddaughter.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Susan, I get my micron testing done at Texas A&M (address below). It gives you SO much info, and is SO reasonable. It has been $1.25/sample, although I was told they are talking about raising the price. Still, even if they quadrupled it to $5/sample it would be well worth doing, IMHO.

Send samples to:
Texas AgriLife Research
The Wool and Mohair Research Laboratory
7887 US Highway 87 N
San Angelo, TX 76901-9714
Phone: 325-653-4576
Email: c-lupton@tamu.edu