Growing wool

DSC_0041Whenever we’ve visited my parent’s-in-law this winter, we’ve spent time lending a helping hand in their allotment, pulling up carrots, beets & leeks from the frozen ground. It’s a place we’ve always enjoyed coming as a couple and now a little family, with our boy bundled up against the cold and wet in layers of wool & welly boots. On some days, as I dream of harvesting this summer’s crop of tomatoes with L, I let my eyes wander to the adjoining field where my love’s uncle keeps a tiny flock of sheep to graze amongst the apple trees. And there my mind wanders to other dreams.

DSC_0055I have the tiniest of dreams that one day we might have our very own (tiny) flock. Because flocks of sheep grow into balls of yarn, don’t they? And I find there’s something incredibly appealing about the continuity that would come from slowly working from field to fleece to finished ball of yarn using raw materials that I had been responsible for growing.

DSC_0030That said, we are also realists and understand that caring for one sheep let alone a whole flock would be both an enormous responsibility & commitment. And yet somehow, coming up to Brittany and moving to this place has really felt like a step closer to this dream as well as a few others. There is ample space in the garden of our current abode for us to keep a couple of local Breton breed Ouessant sheep, and we had fully intended to be hunting for a pair of ewes with the start of spring. However unforeseen circumstances in our family mean that for now, that project (along with the chickens) will have to wait for another day. My love thought the disappointment would be crushing for me, but somehow even just to know it would technically have been possible is rather exciting. And whilst I wait patiently, I am content to meet as many local sheep as possible, and try out their fleeces (more on that later). To meet shepherds, sheep breeders and farmers. To talk to them about their many experiences of raising sheep in these green hills and gather their wool to transform into hand spun yarn and felt. And also gain some hands on experience at handling & living with sheep before we get some of our own.

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2 Comments

  1. I have the same dream dear Fran! I really want to have two sheep (one would suffice, but I think they don’t like to be alone?). We have the space outside, but need to build shelter for them. Our winters are long, cold and snowy. But finances are a little tight right now, so we need to wait. But some day we will both have sheep 🙂 Have a great weekend.

    • Hello!
      Thank you so much for your message! Somehow it got lost in amongst the spam, until now and I was so glad to read it just then. It is so wonderful to know we share the same sheep-keeping dream and I truly hope you will be able to realize it one day too. I wonder if there are any (very hard) breeds local to where you are currently living? And yes, apparently it is always a minimum of two sheep…or fail that a sheep & a goat – they hate to be alone!

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