With the onset of winter and frosty days I’ve been busy wrapping up my gardening business for another year. This means I get a lovely rest, oh, sorry, that was a Freudian slip, I meant so say, this means I will have more time to start the Big Winter Feed Ritual for our woolly friends, in other words, keeping the sheep feeders full of hay.
The grass is low nutrient and provides little nourishment for the sheep during the winter. The hay meanwhile was cut at its peak in July, and contains plenty of flowers, it smells of summer and the wafts remind me of Swiss mountain villages from when I was a small girl. The sheep love it and can get quite overexcited each morning when they see the bales coming their way. They actually make filling the feeders quite challenging as they pile in like a bunch of frenzied five year olds on Christmas morning.
Winter also means I get to dive headlong into rug production. Making rugs is very time consuming, during the summer one rug can take two weeks or more to put together as I’m running about doing other things. In the winter my days are spent between the hay shed and my girl shed. My girl shed is fabulous, I love it! It’s actually the summer house and just a stone’s throw from the house and the kettle. It has power which means it’s toasty and warm and more to the point, makes the felting process actually possible.
In the last week I’ve made two rugs; “the Molly rug” and “the Ursi rug”. The Molly rug (see here) was made using fleece from our friends’ flock. They have a friendly family of Mules, Herdwicks and Texels. The Molly rug was made using the long fluffy locks from one of their Mules, (the offspring of a hill breed mother and lowland breed father). I love the way the Molly rug has come out, it is creamy-white with long, powder puff locks and just invites you to cuddle into it.
The second rug I made using fleece from our own flock, from Ursi actually, (see here). Ursi is a big gorgeous girl, naturally friendly, always up for a back rub and a chat. Ursi has a pale grey fleece with beige and cream running through it. I made a big rug from it as Ursi is a big girl with lots of fleece. I’m very happy with the way the rug has turned out, it’s soft and bouncy and the colours are just beautiful, just like Ursi herself.