Friday, March 16th, 2012
The Forsythia blooms in the window, and after a week of Mister March's grey skies, angry clouds and wild winds today was a day of pure indulgence. Blue skies, soft white clouds, springtime warmth and a lovely stillness in the air. I raked more leaves, uncovered more bright green spears and knobs, and Charles tangled with the climbing roses as he cut back great long branches and brought order to small intricate forkings.
Of course we all know that this may only be a temporary reprieve, - there could be snow tomorrow in the high passes as Winter lays claim to the last few days the calendar grants him. He could be only resting before a final onslaught, - but there, let's all be positive!
I popped around to the store this afternoon and stopped to chat with a colleague from the Secondary School Library. Twenty years ago we worked together one summer adding data to the library software so that when school opened in the fall everything was up to date and digital. Now, of course, we are both retired, and she had just returned from New Zealand where she spent a month on a large sheep farm.
I thought this was an absolutely marvelous way to spend a holiday!
It was shearing time and as we talked I remembered all the excitement when the itinerant shearer came for the day (or sometimes two or three days).
We have a DVD of family memories, and part of it is devoted to the farm and in particular to the sheep activity.. It was usually my job to skirt and tie the fleeces with paper string, but in the video Charles is doing this part of the operation and he does it quite elegantly and much faster than I ever did.
But then he didn't have his eye out for special fleeces to put aside for spinning, and that takes time and adds great pleasure to the task.
My friend tells me that fleeces are no longer tied, but rather when they have been skirted they are classed as to quality, folded and rolled and tossed into relevant bins, where they are pressed down. She has promised to bring me pictures and I will be terribly envious of her experience and will reminisce about that part of farming that really appealed to me most.........