Wednesday, June 13, 2007

shearing sheep....

Let me introduce you to the new writer of the house, Tussi the kitten! A great helper for DD2 when playing computergames-LOL!He is 3 weeks old, an "only child"(he had 4 siblings, but they are not anymore).He lives in the basement with his mum, Lady Grey. And the kids bring him upstairs for some cuddling. Mr.Black, however, is not very fond of him...I don't let them stay alone at all! We've been busy this week, shearing our sheep. The race is Old Norwegian Sheep, They are small, with horns, their wool is multicoloured, and they taste good. We slaughter some at home every autumn, and we have meat the whole winter. I also use the blood, liver and heart. I've got a really good recipe for liverpaté, and I usually make some to give away at Christmas. I also make a bloodpudding- old recipes that I have inherited from my grandmothers through my mother. The meat is cut into steaks, some is grinded, quite a lot is salted and dried. A few years ago every farm would do this themselves, these days most of the sheep are bought by the slaughterhouses, which gives us (sometimes) a decent price for the sheep...

Back to the shearing...We also have Spælsau, a different brand, they are bigger, with better wool,almost always white, and they stay in the barn all winter. We walked them to summerpastures a couple of weeks ago. Those sheep are usually sheared by a professional person, because I have big trouble figuring out how to use the electrical scissors...Also my back doesn't agree with that kind of work:-(, mostly due to lack of experience and lack of skill....

The Old Norwegian Sheep usually looses all of it's wool in one big fleece, like the one in this picture. One of the kids are holding it, while I just rip the whole thing off. However, this was the only animal we could do this with...it is probably too early. Later the wool just loosens. It's weird.

The problems with the non-working el.scissors, wool that would't let go, and the fact that it has been too long since we did this the last time, forced us to pick up those normal scissors...I have no picture, but believe me, that is a lot of work! Thankfully I had the kids helping me, holding the sheep, and also cutting. I would like to do it all over again this fall, maybe being able to avoid those large felted fleeces that are no good at all. For craftpurposes it would be wise. I haven't learned how to spin, but it would have been fun trying it with my own wool.

Quite another topic: DD2 and her class- 20 10-yearolds..., went on a fieldtrip today, and I decided to join them.There are many places nearby that the school uses for outdooractivities,which is great. Today we went to a settlement which is used only as a summerhouse. The owners are trying to keep it in good shape, and it looks quite good. There is no water or electricity.We kept company with a few sheep on our way.The kids were playing, building "cabins" out of driftwood and whatever they could find. We grilled hotdogs, they ate fruit and bisquits, and had a grand time!

I am still amazed at the stamina of the oldtime farmers! See this path? It is made of flat stones that are laid out to make an easy road to follow. It leads from one settlement to another. The people out here moved about 40 years ago. They and their ancestors had made a living out of a steep hill, building stonehouses(because there were very little trees avaliable), keeping a cow and a few sheep, cutting gras for hay wherever they could fin a straw, they were fishermen, both for their own household and for sale. The kids had to walk to school, it takes an hour each way-at least! On rocks like this. In all the weather they got. And they always showed up at school in time.

But what a struggle. What big changes there has been. We have no idea.
This settlement is on a beach filled with round, smooth pebbles/stones. Every single one of them is a piece of art, unique. They may look grey. They are actually not "just" grey. There are beautiful shades of greys, whites, greens, sometimes even a hint of blue, or a stripe of red.

As for knitting, I'm on my second RiverValley, and they look good. The first one also fits perfectly! Hopefully there will be some knitting done tomorrow, these last few days have been filled with the raw wool instead of beautiful yarns and needles...

5 comments:

Tracy said...

Tussi is a sweetheart! Very interesting to see/read about the sheep shearing. Happy Days! :o)

Rani said...

My mother-in-law would love this blog. She was born in Iceland and loves all things sheep - including, as you mentioned, liver and blood pudding!

The field trip sounds idyllic and heavenly. Exactly what children should be doing.

PS. I can send you Kool-aid!

Janice said...

I love all of your photos... Makes me dream of visiting your country someday.... We finished shearing all of our llamas a month or so ago. Looks like a similar process. We had a girl from Mongolia live with us for 1 1/2 years. She spoke of butchering and eating sheep quite fondly! She said she was a stomach girl, herself. Not overly appetising to me, I must say...

Kristy said...

I never knew that a sheep's fleece would behave like that. That is amazing! I feel so enlightened.

I love your picture of the rocks. What a nice outing with the kids!

lillysmuul said...

I can't belive you have not learned to spin! It's so much fun. (but also highly addictive!)You have your own wool,you can mess around with it as much you can.......