I learned how to spin when my father bought a small herd of angora(ish) goats, and only later did I try sheep’s wool when we bought two sheep. They were a male and female, not fully grown and when they arrived on the farm I stared into their eyes and named them Knit and Purl. Unfortunately I should have stared at the other end because I named the ram Purl, something he would not forgive me for! I later learned that rams should not be treated like pets, which is what the previous owner had done, making Purl dangerous.
So it wasn’t just my name that made him turn on me one night when I was putting him in his corral. I was lucky he was not fully grown, or with horns, and that when he charged he hit me below the knee and not on the knee. Not so lucky I was next to a cement post which is what he smashed my leg into. The worst part was how terribly scary it was, (I can’t imagine a dog attack), and how persistently he tried to continue when I had climbed out of his reach.
He did not do too much damage; my leg was scratched and bruised, but nothing broken, just my pride. I felt I wasn’t capable of keeping animals, and I was not being responsible or smart. It took me a year before I was comfortable around the sheep, and shearing that first year was not pleasant. Even now I am cautious around them, which is probably better.
We slaughtered Purl a week after he attacked me, I couldn’t risk him hurting anyone else. We replaced him with Shaun, who is much gentler. However he is big and I have seen him charge the cows when thinks they are getting close to his ladies, so caution is still needed. As well as Shaun we have 6 ewes, and 13 goats.
I don’t know what breed of sheep these are, and there seems to be two types. Some have a woolly face and some have a clean black face. This week I have been trying to spin some of the sheep’s wool, but after working with bought wool it is frustrating. It is very dirty and greasy, and even when I manage to clean the wool, it is full of neps and short bits.
Maybe I will have better luck when I shear this year, because in the past I have spun a very nice bouncy yarn from these mystery sheep.