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Baby Watch while we sort fleeces

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We are again on Baby Watch here at the farm – Mamie is due to have her baby on the 25th! Our cria, Jackson, is desperate for a little friend, and he is just as anxious as we are for the new baby to arrive! Llamas gestate for nearly a year, so Mamie will be glad when the baby is finally here, too. She is the picture of patience, though.

On Saturday, Tabbethia will be vending from 1 – 8 pm at the Fisherman’s Fair at Ashawagh Hall in Springs. This annual event has run for more than 80 years and benefits the Springs Improvement Society. The Fair features crafts, East End musical talent, seafood, the 49th annual Springs Invitational Art Exhibit, and a Kids’ Area. The Long Island Livestock Company booth will have yarn and skincare for sale, along with pillows, tote bags, horseshoes, blankets, and finished knitted, crocheted, and woven items.

A lot of time this week has been taken up with fiber sorting. Before the mill can make us the exclusive LILCo yarns you love to work with, the raw fleeces must be skirted and sorted. At the time of shearing, Tabbethia skirts the fleeces, which means discarding the areas of a fleece that are not suitable for processing. This includes wool from the lower leg, groin, and belly, as well as dung tags. Here's a fleece after skirting but before sorting. Just look at that crimp!

Next the fleece is gone over by hand on the sorting table. LILCo’s table is handmade, a wooden frame of wire supported on sawhorses. We pick up a large handful of fleece, and pull it apart to loosen the fibers, picking out pieces of VM (vegetable matter, usually small pieces of straw or hay), and removing “second cuts”; the short bits of fleece that result when a shearer makes a second pass over the animal. These are too short to be spun and are discarded so that they don't form neps in the yarn. We shake the fleece over the table to remove more VM and some of the dust.

The fleece is then stuffed into long narrow bags by color, weighed, and sent to the mill where it will become the next unique LILCo yarn!

Our biggest event of the summer is coming up – The Hampton Classic Horse Show! It runs from August 28 – September 4 and we will be there all week, with a booth full of all our wonderful products in the boutique area, as well as providing the animals for the petting zoo. We will be bringing a pair of llamas, alpacas, sheep, angora goats, an angora bunny, and our own personal celebrity, Pansy the pig, is rumored to be making an appearance! Alert the media! Here she is, being chauffeured to last year's Classic, sporting her Coach shades!  Hope to see you there.