Sweater weather

Posted May 2, 2022 at 7:30 pm by

With aver­age tem­per­a­tures more than ten degrees below nor­mal, it has been an unsea­son­ably cool April. And if you’ve been lay­er­ing on wool sweaters, you’re not alone. Cady, the lamb, has been too.

It was shear­ing day when we vis­it­ed Oak Knoll Farm and the barn was noisy and bustling with humans, sheep, a guardian lla­ma, and a ded­i­cat­ed sheep­dog. The new­ly born lambs are close to their moth­ers, secur­ing their bond and learn­ing each other’s calls. With long, wob­bly legs and huge, fluffy ears, it’s hard to get much cuter than a new­born lamb. Except when you put a sweater on one of course.

Sarah Pope and her fam­i­ly took over the his­toric farm in 2017. Estab­lished in the 1970s by Joan Roberts, Oak Knoll and the flock of North Coun­try Cheviot Sheep had dwin­dled when Sarah and her fam­i­ly were called to take it over. It was a steep learn­ing curve becom­ing shep­herds, but they have revived the flock and now have around 120 Cheviots, Finn Sheep, and Finn crosses.

The lambs don’t always have to wear a sweater, Sarah told me. But Cady, named after Cady Moun­tain here on San Juan Island, was born small and need­ed a lit­tle extra care to make sure she main­tained a good body tem­per­a­ture her first few days of life. I asked Sarah how to find a knit­ting pat­tern for a lamb sweater. She told me she pret­ty much invent­ed this one but you can find many pat­terns for dogs that will fit a lamb. Alter­ing an old sweat­shirt can also work and two babies born Thurs­day night donned this style.

Asked if there are oth­er ways she feels like a sheep moth­er, Sarah laughed and said she is def­i­nite­ly a sheep doula, try­ing to be there for each birth of a new lamb and help­ing the moth­ers if need­ed. If there is a prob­lem with get­ting milk, the lambs are bot­tle fed. “Bot­tle lambs” are more com­fort­able around humans, which is evi­denced when we vis­it the pas­ture. A cute lit­tle guy fol­lowed us and nudged our hands to check if we had any­thing for him.

It’s clear that Oak Knoll and the Cheviot breed that Joan Roberts fos­tered have been giv­en a new life with lov­ing care­givers. You can find their fiber and yarn and more about their sto­ry at SanJuanWoolWorks.com.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Around Here

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0