After weeks of "waffling" about whether or not I was going to attend the local wool festival, I decided to go ahead and try it again. Last year, both my friend, Melanie, and I went and both did really well. But this year, I only had fleeces to sell.
While we were located in the same spot as last year, next time we/I go we'll move to the other side of the building where more booths are set up. I only got the chance to really walk about once and noticed that, while we were very protected from the winds where we were located, most of the activities were elsewhere. The were quite a few alpaca people with booths. I think ours was the only "sheep only" booth in the whole place. But, we had more traffic on Saturday when the festival had the sheep herding demonstrations across from us. Sunday the sheepdogs weren't there for some reason.
I can't complain about sales. My fleeces sold out within the fist two hours of the show on Saturday. The bobbin lace makers having a display on Saturday could not believe that someone in Arizona actually had real, honest-to-goodness Shetland fleece. One of them called her sister in Phoenix as she was standing at the booth wondering how many they wanted to split together. Plus I had repeat customers seeking out more Shetland for their "wooly-habits".
Now I have a quandary. I had planned on sending this year's fleeces out to be processed into combed top and roving to have available at next year's wool festival. But since they all sold so quickly I will only have fleece available next year if I go. With customers looking for Shetland fleece now coming to the farm to get it right off the sheep at shearing, I won't have surplus to sell at the festival. Hmm. To be honest, I like the farm sales much better. I think the customers do as well. They actually get to see their fleece come off the sheep of their choosing.
While I like going to festivals and shows and getting our name "out there", I also have to admit I don't have the energy I once had to keep up the pace of the summer shows. Now I have come to a time to reflect and find the balance between promoting the farm, getting the jobs done at the farm, and spending my time doing pursuits I enjoy.
Maybe it's time to have a bit of a "wool festival" here at Sheep Thrills. I know Hizzoner, the Hired-Hand-With-Benefits, wouldn't mind burning a few hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. And with this summer's more mild temperatures the sheep have been growing in fleece both thick and long already.
(Or are my fluffy sheep a portent of things to come?)