Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Road Trip on the day March goes out like a Lion!

This is what it looked like this morning out our back door - kinda wet - that big white thing is a snow flake falling in front of the camera lens - looks huge - they were, but we had places to go and things to do -

John had loaded up the back of the truck with bags of fleece.

We were off to Monroe - about 85 miles away take these fleeces to be processed at Gretchen's Wool Mill. Gretchen & her husband Rob raise Fresian dairy sheep - but more about that later... First we had to get out of town!

This is what it looked like at the service station - less than two miles away - snow was coming down fast and furious - but remember we were in a truck!

First stop was the Fairhaven Plant Sale - the first "sale of the season" - it literally heralds in spring - today it looked like it was heralding in winter!

Regardless of the fact that there was no room in the back of the truck because it was full of bags of wool, The Shepherd pulled out his trusty umbrella and did a quick walk through of the booths - luckily he didn't find anything he couldn't live without.

Off we went - the freeway alternating between bare and wet and VERY SNOWY!!! This near white out conditions shot was taken in what they call the Northwest Convergence Zone - an area that seems to have it's own particular weather patern - and if there is snow to be found - it's in this area. The roads weren't particularly bad tho, so we kept going. It slowed us down some - we were about 1/2 hour off our preset appointment.

First thing we got to see was the new baby! This little one was just an hour or so old - a single to a brand new mom. Gretchen explained that Friesians are very prolific in the lamb department - often having triplets, quads or even occasionally quints - They are good mamas though.

I thought they were exceptionally pretty.

This is Gretchen and one of her older ewes.

Compared to our Shetlands they are HUGE! But they seemed very laid back and friendly - even the mamas in waiting came up and sniffed my hand. The Wilsons milk their sheep, using the milk for cooking and drinking as well as to make yogurt and cheese.

Her shop is very nicely set up with four big tubs for washing fleeces and a huge drying rack area with 4 racks. One was covered with this yummy white Leicester Longwool fleece - I wish I had taken a picture of it - lusterous with locks like mohair... and soft - we agreed that it was too bad that the owner was having it all run thru the carding machine - I may have to keep an eye out for that kind of wool when we go to Black Sheep in June.

John & Gretchen brought all the bags of fleece into her shop and they sorted out what he wanted done with them. We are having Anna Dee fleeces and Regina's fleeces for this year and last processed together so there will be enough to make a sweater vest from each girl's fleeces for The Shepherd.

By the time we got back down into Monroe - the pavement was dry - no snow to be found - there was however, a Ben Franklin Store! We were astonished and I had to take a picture of it. Maybe I can talk The Shepherd into stopping there when we go back down in a month to pick up the finished fleeces.

So we headed back home - stopped in Marysville for a dandy lunch and in B'ham for groceries. All in all, a very fun day! Thanks again to Gretchen Wilson for showing us her flock and her wool mill.


Yvonne said...

My goodness - An outing on a day like today! I'm glad you made it back safe & sound. I'd love to hear how your fleeces turn out. Did you come home with some of Gretchen's wool?

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Do they use the Friesians' fleeces, too? I plan to take some of my fleeces to BSG and look for a processor to take them, saving postage one way. The goal is to get SOME of my fleeces processed myself BEFORE BSG!

vlb5757 said...

Tina, I will be interested in seeing how the fleeces turn out when you go back in a month and pick them up. I have five fleeces under my bed that need to be roving for my spinning. I will be going to Maryland Sheep & Wool to drop mine off there for processing. I have never let anyone process my fleeces before so this will be a learning experience for me. Please show us pictures! Love the snow. We really haven't gotten much this year, which by some is a blessing. I am not included in that group. I saw some of you wool at Luni's site. I can't wait to see what she does with it.

Sharon said...

We have a similar snow here last night with the same outcome, but I had no idea you get snow in Bellingham. Gretchen's lamb is adorable. I love their little voices.

Kathy said...

I hope we still get weather like yours as we can still use anything we can get.

Looks like you both had a great outing and I can hardly wait to see the outcome of Gretchen's handiwork.

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like Glenn and I were not the only folks who had the opportunity to make our way thru snow storms this weekend! We had snow Friday afternoon when we delivered to Spokane and another two" at the kids place. Chris had five inches at his tree farm in Cinebar on Sat. AM. Spring has certainly sprung in a wacky way!

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Franna said...

Oh, you got spammed on Blogger, too. Darn those people.

It wasn't only the convergence zone that got snow last week.. unless it came a lot farther south than usual. We had about 4 inches hang around for 24 hours or so, then several smaller snow/ice storms over the next few days. Today, though, was fabulous!
- Franna