Jane Dryden on Growing Wool
One of the things we love doing most of all with WOVEMBER is celebrating the many stages of work that go into the production of WOOL; this is one of the reasons why we loosely theme our WOVEMBER posts around Growing Wool, Harvesting Wool, Processing Wool, Working with Wool and Wearing Wool. Of course many projects fall under several of those headings, but there is nothing quite like meeting the sheep behind a particular wool to really bring that wool to life! This evening, in line with our aim to profile more small producers on WOVEMBER this year, we feature a tale of lambing from Jane Dryden of Home Farm Wensleydales. Home Farm Wensleydales is situated between Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, and operates out of a refurbished farm house where Jane Dryden lives with her family and a flock of 300 Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester sheep; this is the story of the lambs born there this year.
On a fabulously sunny afternoon in mid March 2015 we were greeted by the first of our 2015 lambs, beautiful twin Bluefaced Leicesters born on exactly the day that our scanning man had predicted.
We could not believe that we would be lucky enough to have any Black Bluefaced Leicesters (very rare) and so were delighted when our first (of only 5) blacks was born.
And so, the hard work and excitement begin.
There is not a better time of year at Home Farm than lambing. Lambing starts off tremendously exciting, with each new lamb born there is a real buzz. But don’t be fooled, by the end of lambing we are absolutely exhausted having worked 20 hours a day for 6 weeks – with the odd ‘lie in’ when my husband helps at weekends!
I can deal with most difficult labours but this year for the first time we had to call the vet out for a cesarean section where he delivered bouncing healthy triplets – what an amazing experience.
This year, Jason (who helps me at Home Farm) and I successfully lambed 120 beauties, giving us 80 fabulous Wensleydale shearling fleeces for 2016 and 40 beautiful shearling Bluefaced Leicester Fleeces. This brings our flock size up to 340.
Thank you so much for sharing these lovely lamb photos from your farm, Jane! We look forward to hearing more later in the month and shall be writing about some of your wool because we are swatching it for the Knit British Breed Swatch KAL!