Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Pines Farm, Maple Valley
I went on a field trip today with my mother. A few days ago, I started an email conversation with the lovely owners of The Pines Farm based in Maple Valley, Washington.
They are registered pure bred dealers of Romney sheep. Can you tell why this is exciting? Let me give you a hint.....ZOMG SHEEPIES!!!!! Did you see the sheepies?! *Squeee*
The field trip began as a quest to procure about 1000g of Romney roving in order for me to spin a sweater's worth of yarn, with plenty left over to play with. I was greeted at the door by Al, who is the nicest sheep farmer I've ever met, and his grandson. Both were eager to share their knowledge, and I can tell you, I was just as excited to learn!
Next, after talking for a few minutes, Al offered to take me on a tour of the farm. I think I nearly squee-ed with excitement at the prospect. :D He explained that they also raise Angora goats (one of which looked about ready to pop out a kid!) and then took us on a tour of the barn, birthing chambers, and around the fields. I got to see the rams, the yearlings, and also the ewes, which are kept separate in the pastures. Al even showed me the crazy accurate notes that they take during breeding season.
It was great! And then it got better. I got to see where they skirt the fleeces (yes, Al does his own shearing. You've gotta respect that!), keep the raw fleeces, for those spinners who like to spin in the grease, and also where the picking and drum carding take place. The best thing ever was seeing all the ribbons that these prize Romneys have collected over the years. Including those that were upstairs, there were hundreds posted on the walls where the washed fleeces are stored. I was blown away!
Not only do the lovely farmers at The Pines Farm deal in whole fleeces and roving, they even make blends of colors, dyeing in house, and creating beautiful colors for our handspinning pleasure. I am told that once they get it all photographed and uploaded, you will be able to see the different blends that they are capable of making, on the website!
All in all, I came home with 35.7 ounces of roving, and a whole new appreciation for those people who are amazing enough to provide us handspinners/knitters/weavers with the glory that is wool. Please, visit the farm, or visit the website, and show The Pines Farm that you appreciate what they do.