Watch the Fleece Fly

Move over Paul Mitchell; take note Vidal Sassoon -  the stylists at WoodsEdge are getting ready for the annual shear-a-thon! Once a year, the crew here at the farm takes quite an interest in sharpening their blades and oiling up the shearers to harvest our fleece. While most farms cultivate their soil in the spring and pick their crops in the summer – we grow ours in the fall/winter and harvest in the spring.  For those of you who think all I do is lie around and eat during the winter months – you are pretty much correct, but keep in mind – I’m growing your next pair of socks!

Each year the barn is transformed in to ‘WoodsEdge Salon de Beatue’ with spa services offered - cucumber infused water, warm, fresh scented lemon towels and complimentary neck massages.

Now, there are a few of my fellow pasture mates (I won’t name names) that aren’t so happy about having a little taken off the top as they say and a few tears will be shed.  So, when you are here watching the stylists work their magic – there might be some spit flying and some squealing – rest assured it doesn’t hurt (well maybe just their pride).

The WoodsEdge Field to Fashion beau-ti-fica-tion process starts by getting a one-on-one consultation with the hair dressers. To insure that each fleece harvested does not become contaminated with the other colors, shearing is done in a color order – all white fleeces will go first, then fawns, browns, blacks & greys.  One by one we are carefully restrained and the transformation begins…….

Our fleece is collected and sorted in two ways 1 – by color and 2 – by grade. The fiber that is around our mid-section is the best and is what we call “firsts” (used to make items like sweaters & scarves). This is the time when all my winter hard work at the gym is exposed – this year I wasn’t as motivated as years past and my abs are - well – there is no 6-pack going on just yet (I still have 10.5 weeks till summer). Then the fiber that is collected from our neck and hind-quarters is sorted in to “seconds” (which makes socks and gloves). And finally our leg and belly fiber and other clippings are sorted in to “thirds” (used for insoles, rugs, bird nesting balls). Yes that’s right – we also help to furnish birds’ nests with our fleece.  

As the shearing comes to a finish we are treated with a pedicure, and a dose of vitamins and de-wormer are given. Once I’m pretty much nude, this is the time I really notice all of my wrinkles – um I mean laugh lines. Now if I had my way, I’d agree to a little Botox, but I’m pretty sure that it hasn’t been perfected on llamas just yet.  The saying around here on shearing day is – the difference between a good haircut and a bad one is……2 weeks. Here’s to hoping I don’t have to wait 2 weeks!

It’s quite a process to see, so if you have never experienced it in-person you should visit WoodsEdge and see where your clothes come from (no they don’t come from the mall!). 

I will be making a cameo appearance and you can watch me get shorn at 1 p.m. I’m not promising that I’ll be the best behaved – but I will be sure to put a smile on your face and some socks on your feet!

Mark your calendar and watch the fleece fly on Saturday, April 1 from 10am-4pm! This is a free event open to the public, rain or shine. The WoodsEdge Farm Store will be open and plenty of my favorite alpaca & llama chow will be available for purchase.

Hope to see you there (with food in hand)!

XO Larry