Last weekend we were part of hosting a Lamb and Wool festival in our little town for the 17th straight year.
One component of the event is a sheep shearing school. This training provides beginning and intermediate shearers with hands-on, step-by-step instruction to handle a sheep with care as it is shorn.
Another thing that we do is offer a brief farm tour to discuss pasture and animal health. The questions that come from this tour help us consider things from another perspective.
However, quite possibly the best-kept secret of the behind-the-scenes festival organization is our vendor dinner. Each vendor is invited to relax and enjoy fellowship with a lamb dinner. This year Sherrie came up with one of the best menus (we probably say this every year and every year it’s true).
This is one easy dish for your household…or up to 75 of your closest friends:
In a skillet, brown ground lamb with taco seasoning. Set aside for placing into zucchini boats.
Trim the top and bottom from medium-sized zucchini, then slice in half longways, scoop out center contents.
Shred lettuce and cheese enough to top each taco boat, and serve with salsa.
We get a lot of questions about shearing our sheep. On our farm we shear ewes (mature females) before they have lambs, rams (mature males) in May with the spring lambing group and lambs at 3-4 months old. The ewes that are shorn in the winter are able to use a barn for shelter. As you can see in a photo from today’s 30 degree temperature, our sheep are still comfortable outdoors during nice weather.
Shearing promotes the health of ewes and lambs. Their health is improved because the barn is drier, as wool can hold a lot of moisture. Shorn ewes also make nursing easier for lambs because the udder is easy to find. An added benefit is that, if shorn when the ewes come into the barn, wool is kept clean before it’s harvested.
A friend recently asked what I thought about someone’s reflection of why she won’t wear wool. I feel pretty fortunate to know firsthand what it takes to raise sheep with healthy lambs and wool year after year. And because of that, I will share with you what five wool items made my Christmas list this year – but first, a video from our farm so you can see for yourself the care we take for our sheep flock: