Today was even warmer than yesterday. And it was the day for Wool Grading 2017 – Hebrideans. Yes, black is the new white!
Credit is due to photo-phobic J : he pulled on shades and hat and set to work : but no shorts and sleeveless tops for him!
I did wonder, though, whether there was some kind of hidden agenda : there was a constant stream of comments, from happy-sounding mumblings to gasps of astonishment, all on the theme of these being the best Hebridean fleeces we’d ever produced, the best Hebridean fleeces he’d ever seen, the best quality of fleece known to man, and general expressions of heartfelt gratitude and admiration for the person who had wielded hand-shears with such skill and dedication. I wonder who he’s referring to there.
Hah! – only joking! To be fair – and strictly accurate, he did mention, a few times, that he thought this was indeed our best ever clip from our own Hebridean sheep. And, for the record, I think he’s right: Quantity up ; Quality up ; No secondary-cuts at all, and most fleeces still in one continuous piece, textbook fashion … I have to say they really are something to feel a wee bit of satisfaction in.
Anyway, he seemed to be doing a good job : so, as yesterday’s stint with the Cheviots was mine alone, I decided to take some time out and watch the sky in case any alto-cirrus drifted by. It didn’t.
Tabatha was enjoying the shade under the grading-bench. The two of us exchanged smiles: a purrfect day.
It’s that time of year again. The wool is piling up, and the point comes where, if we’re not to be overwhelmed by the stuff, sorting the great and the good from the condemned-to-the-compost-heap has to start here and now. Here’s Denise sorting and grading the Cheviot coming in from an Eriskay neighbour. She has the skills at her fingertips! I merely set up the make-shift grading table, and do all the heavy lifting. And supply long cold drinks. It’s a warm day for warm work : mid 20s in the shade, and here at the front of the house is a south-facing sun-trap. But D likes it hot!