Monday, February 10, 2020

Maid-N-Meadows: Winter 2020 Update

   
  I hope everyone out there is getting as excited for spring as we are! It has been unseasonably warm this year. So much so that the daffodils bloomed 2 weeks early!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

An Easy Way To Wash A Fleece!

           Here I was with trash bags full of fleece from our beautiful East Frisians and I didn't have a clue what to do with any of it. It seemed a shame to just toss it in the woods or compost it. Surly the wool could be a valuable profit stream for the farm, but I was clueless and daunted, even, by the fiber world.

       I  started by watching YouTube videos on various topics. No one seemed to be taking wool from raw fleece to finished product without complicated processes. I did not want to invest in a carder or make roving or rolags. I just wanted to have some wool that was a pretty color and that was clean enough to felt. Felted shoes looked cool! But I need to do something a bit faster and more on my novice level. I finally settled on felted soap. I felt on store bought soap and on some of my homemade sheep milk soap!

         I don't know much about fleece, folks. I just know a little about what I have to work with....which is East Frisian. Once that wool comes off the sheep, I bag it up. When I am ready to wash it, I take off the big bits of dirt and cockleburs. I think this is called "skirting". Before I can do anything else, the fleece must be clean.

          My midwife recommends putting the whole fleece in the tub with as hot of water as can be drawn with the fleece in a netted bag. A large onion bag works well or just a netted bag. Just push the wool under the water and let the soap do its work. I use dish soap due to the high grease levels and a little laundry detergent.
          When the water is cool, lift the wool out and let it drip dry or repeat if still very dirty. The goal here is to remove dirt and some vegetative matter. But there will still be plenty of bits of dirt still left inside the fleece, even when it is "clean". The lanolin, or grease from the sheep, is what is most important to get out.

         Then I hang it up to drip dry. This can take awhile depending on the weather. Some people take it out and drip dry it in a more spread out form. You can squeeze extra water out if you are gentle and don't massage it. (That can cause it to felt into one lump!)
         Do you have an easy way to prepare a fleece? If so, give me a holler!
      

Monday, January 13, 2020

Married To An Ex Mennonite: Part 3

      Special note! Some of you may notice how delayed this post is. As we move into the nitty gritty of Daniel's expulsion, it must be understood that there is a weight that comes with the memories. It takes emotional energy to relay what happened because the experience of rejection never really ended. This telling is akin to the end of Daniel's experience in the Mennonite world and the beginning of a new kind of experience. The whole world opened up for him in the form of thoughts and ideas, while his family slowly became more and more estranged.
The only known pictures of Daniel in his youth are the ones he saved from old driver's licenses.