MASSACHUSETTS SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL – JUDGING THE FLEECES

26 05 2013

Hello

JUDGING THE FLEECES

In past  shows judging the fleeces was an easy job, there were clearly winners and  those that didn’t place.  I was pleasantly surprised yesterday.  There wasn’t one fleece that shouldn’t have placed.  Farmers have learned that cleaner and well skirted fleeces bring in more money.  The prices for fleeces went from a low price to over $10. per pound.

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While judging I met a wonderful person Alice.  She works with the sheep at the University of Massachusetts.  She and I are going to work on a skirting and rolling up fleeces day at the University Farm.  A chance for farmers to learn  to add more money for their fleeces.

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It tool me over 2 hours to do the judging.  Each Fleece has to be tested for strength and illness of the sheep.  If a sheep was ill during the previous year the fleece may be weakened.  Checking the length of the staple, the crimp of the staple and how clean it was.  People still have to work on skirting and presenting their fleeces but all in all it was a 100% improvement since the last time I judge.  On each fleece I wrote comments.  All of them were good comments about the fleece and if there was a flaw I would let them know how to fix it.  I feel there is no sense in just judging the fleece without helping people improve them.

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After the ribbons were put on the fleeces I came back from my booth and gave a talk about the judging process and answered questions.  There was a good crowd.  I felt good about the whole process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather was brutal.  Heavy rains and some winds with temps in the low 40’s.  Even though I had woolen clothes on I was chilled to the bone.  Cindy and the boys surprised me with a visit.     A hot bath and a warm bed revived me for another day.  Rain this am  and sun this afternoon with warmer temps.  Hope to see you at the fair.

 


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5 responses

26 05 2013
Mary Jane

What a nice thing for you to do, first to take the time to do all the judging, and second to leave everyone with positive comme ts and suggestions for improving the fleece. Good work!

28 05 2013
Anne Wilson

Ten $ a pound is amazing, in Ireland the cost of shearing is often higher than the value of the fleece, the last quoted price was 1.78 a kg. When we kept sheep our shearer used to take the fleeces in exchange for the job done but we only had twenty odd sheep.

11 06 2013
Bealtaine Cottage

Now this makes me quite envious…all that gorgeous wool! I wish we had events like this in Ireland…well, the North West of Ireland at any rate!

11 06 2013
wspines

I was quite surprised on my first trip to Ireland that fleece was so hard to find. Now you have such a variety of sheep that it would be wonderful to have a show similar to ours. And a money maker for the shepherds. It really has taken many years for the shepherds to care about the fleece, in my beginning times with the show they only cared about meat. Now they know they can make extra money from the fleece they take better care. Some farmers even sell shares of a fleece to people in the late summer. They pay $$$ to get part of a fleece. Can you imagine!!!

12 06 2013
Bealtaine Cottage

There is no care to the fleece here as the farmers say they are almost worthless. Those who spin will mostly keep their own sheep.

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