I went to visit a beautiful farm that I’ve visited before. I was running low on Clun Forest and Cheviot fleeces and I heard they had just sheared and so I made an appointment for a visit. It is only a little over an hour from my house and so it’s kind of fun to go there and see how the sheep are doing. this farm has Cheviot, Clun Forest and Colored Merino.
I stayed longer than I had planned and talked and talked and talked about sheep.
It was my lucky day. When I got there one of their cheviot ewes was in labor and she delivered during my visit! I had never seen a truly newborn sheep before. The closest I had gotten was within a few hours. It was wonderful and the mom took care of everything she needed to.
There is the little girl. Within 30 minutes the mom delivered another tiny ewe lamb and everybody was happy!
Here’s a different mother with her twins. I just love Cheviot sheep and their wool. it’s not one of the ones I chose to focus on my book and I keep wondering if that was a mistake. The wool of the Cheviots is one I would put in the Down types category because the crimp is helical and when you look at the locks there is usually no distinct crimp that shows like in other breeds like Romney or Corriedale. It is a very bouncy wool that is kind of medium in fineness, ranging from about 27 to 33 microns. That makes it soft enough in some cases for next to skin wear but it also is a wool that will stand up to hard wear.
Also, I just can’t resist those ears that stand straight up.
The other fleeces I got are from Clun Forest sheep. That’s the black faced girl up there. Clun Forest Sheep are listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy list in the recovering category which means they have reached more than 2500 annual registered animals in the US and more than 10,000 animals of the breed world wide. So that’s happy news.
The Clun babies are born black and then their wool grows in white but as you can see, their faces and legs stay black. the wool is dense and has a micron count of about 28 to 33. Similar to the Cheviot but the wool feels a bit different to me. I might also place these sheep in the Down Types again because the crimp is more spiral in nature and the bounce is tremendous.
The staple lenght on both of these breeds is generally in the 4-5 inch range. Everything about both of them makes their wool easy to work with and desirable for a wide range of products.
Finally we went to see what the yearling ewes were up to. That’s two gorgeous Clun Forest Ewes and 3 fantastic colored Merino ewes. Merinos have been bred to only be white but once in a while a colored sheep pops up. they are not allowed to be registered but they are truly 100 percent merino and their wool is very lovely.
Anyway, my Easter isn’t over yet but this was surely a highlight!