Ahhhh, stuck at home with puppies, lambs and some very needy fleeces. Sometimes I wonder just how long I can keep this up. When I don't want to do something it's the Devil's own job to get me going. I worry that I won't want to pick fleeces any more. It's a nasty job and people just don't realize, unless you raise sheep yourself, just how much work goes into preparing these fleeces for sale. Forget about raising the animals first. I dragged some old (last year's) fleeces into the apartment to work on in front of the TV. Gosh, I know how to make a mess, but it has to be done. My Bluefaced Leicester wool is labor intensive in that it is so buttery soft it attracts all kinds of debris that must be picked out, and the teeny tiny crimp must be pulled apart before washing to get the lanolin and dirt out. The BFL fleeces are not the fluffy, open, large crimped Romney fleeces I used to work with, but there is no wool as creamy and soft as this lovely breed with its amazing elastic quality. Winter is the perfect time to fire up the dye pots. I bought an old electric stove for $100 out of the paper five years ago and use it for dyeing fiber. Two burners, incredibly, are still working. When I have the giant pots simmering with wool, angora and mohair, they heat up the milk room where all my plumbing is. The barn kitties actually lean up against the warm pots to thaw themselves out. We haven't had any real cold yet, but I think January/February will see some good freezes. In the mean time, some cuties are keeping me company and they think my raw fleece on the floor is just peachy.