One thing these hot, sunny days are good for is drying wool. I'm starting to wash fleeces in preparation for dyeing and eventual felting and spinning into yarn. The Leicester Longwool fleeces are so gorgeous once all of that red clay is washed out; there is so much shine in each lock I can see why my sheep are called one of the "luster" breeds.
I'm always struck by how different this wool is from the more common breeds of sheep. It's not only beautifully lustrous, it is very strong. Garments made from it can last many years, which might not be something that could be said about some of the very popular, soft wools. Susan Gibbs talks about hard-wearing, long lasting yarns in her blog: http://www.fiberfarm.com/2012/11/the-big-announcement Susan's blog of Nov. 20, 2012 resonated strongly with me since I raise sheep that grow that strong, hard wearing wool for the type of yarn she talks about. I also enjoyed reading about her shearer/friend, Emily Chamelin, who also sheared at our farm one year. She was then traveling with Kevin Ford, the Master Shearer who has sheared our sheep for 13 years.
With the importance of the "eating and buying local" movement, I wonder if more people are becoming concerned about where the fiber for their garments comes from. Most wool apparel is manufactured with fine merino wool from Australian sheep. Global wool production is dominated by that country, as well as New Zealand and China, so lots of our wool yarn and garments are shipped from the other side of the world. And Australia has issues with animal welfare; some major retailers such as Gap Inc, Next and Liz Claiborne choose not to buy wool from the majority of sheep growers in Australia. As people continue to educate themselves on the source of their food and other things they buy, maybe more will look to small and local farms for their fiber also.
The lambs are growing fast; they're weaned now and enjoying all the green grass from the recent rains. They are all very curious, following me around the small pasture they are in.
Summertime farm chores keep us busy with weekly checks of the lambs for worms and biweekly for the ewes, mowing pastures before all those weeds go to seed, trimming everyone's hooves, giving the lambs their first immunizations, filling water troughs - it all gets done. The morning leading of the sheep and Holden out to pasture and shutting them in at night gives a rhythm to my days. Things can become very busy; I try to remember to admire the summertime flowers in my gardens.