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Mama Sheri on Shear Madness

Mama Sheri on Shear Madness

nat4As you all know, I raise Angora goats. Beautiful beings whom we shear the fleece from and make into warm clothing and even cool clothing. The majority of the small farms in America that raise either sheep or goats are run by women. Run, worked, loved, slaved over, cried over – by women. Not only that, but the majority of those are not in their twenties. No sir, we are getting on up there in years. We wrangle, chase, flip, shear, cut hooves, deworm, tote many many 50lb bags of feed, shovel crap, de-lice, and we act as midwives to boot. Oh, and we’re half vet. It would be my bet that not only are we a bit on the older side, but we also have physical issues, like arthritis, muscle diseases, MS, lymes disease, ADHD. You see, we are women with issues (we’ve lived)…

 

Hear us ROAR!

 

Very few people see us doing this work, so it mostly goes unnoticed. Until now. Enter, Natalie Redding. Natalie was once a fashion model who had horses. She had fears of her children being hurt by the horses so she got out of that business and into a fiber business. She started with two sheep. She now has around 200. She also has Angora goats, Pygora goats and Cashmere goats, along with other farm animals, like cows, geese, chickens and, of course, the standard guard dogs. She has taken it one level further though, and she has herding dogs. What would take others possibly hours to do, she can do in a matter of a few minutes. A few commands and she has what she needs, in her hands.

 

nat3Natalie has been so successful at her business that she cannot grow enough fiber to fill the needs of her clients. She has to buy from around the world to fulfill those needs. I’d like to call her an entrepreneur extraordinaire. Her biggest seller by far, is the long locks of the Teeswater. Any longwool breed is a large breed. She has to handle these very large animals herself, get them to the shearing stand, flip them, then she shears them like a professional shearer, taking only a few minutes – what takes the rest of us hours! Before Shear Madness, she was best known in the fiber world for her Youtube videos of how to spin tailspun, or how to add feathers to yarn, etc.

 

But she wanted more. She wanted awareness for the women doing this work so she sought out a way. Enter NatGeoWild. They liked the idea and produced the show and now, the world has Shear Madness. To see, to learn from, to dream about, to wish for, to strive for.

 

Since it aired last week, we’ve seen Natalie go through a serious flock illness and have to put some animals down, and we’ve seen baby goats be both disbudded (dehorned) and castrated (wethered). And we saw her toss a sheep down and lay her whole body across it to hold it still. Dedication, people, dedication. We’ve seen her draw blood, give shots, give wormer, put a prolapse back, flush a goose’s wound, and we’ve seen a hint of the beautiful yarns she makes, hanging in the house. We’ve seen the Teeswater sheep’s long long ringlets be tossed in the air, trying to make us drool, of course, and we’ve seen ringlets to die for, being examined in the sun. We’ve seen her laugh, cry, get angry, worry, love – every emotion that regular people face. She is a real woman, with a real family, with real animals, making a real living. Oh, and she sells chickens too!

 

A woman. A role model. A mother. Natalie is, in essence, all of us small ruminant farmers. And we are her. We share a bond that is our connection to the animals. Without these animals, the world would be wearing artificial clothing, using artificial blankets, coats, etc. Sure, we can do something with cotton, but it’s not the same. Hmmm, a cotton ball or a Teeswater lock? I think I know which most would choose. I love cotton, but I’m an animal lover and these silky curls fill a space in my soul. I tried raising Teeswater myself, but I have too many fears and I was afraid of my lambs because they were so flighty. I now get my Teeswater fix by watching the show. We need to support this show, to support our fiber farmers. Another season or more of the show will only teach us more and more of what we didn’t even know we needed to know, which will, in the end, help you, the consumer.

 

nat2There is more to this story. Natalie is for a large part, having to advertise this show herself. The channel is helping some, but the word needs to go out if we want to keep her and this awesome fiber show on the air. Did you know that every Saturday, after the show, she does a LIVE Spreecast on the internet? You can go, listen in, ask questions. It’s a hoot! She’s willing to answer most any question! Or any question for all I know. Join in, won’t you? You can also tweet with her during the show at @NamasteFarms. Any support is welcomed. Even if you don’t like every single part of every show, please, support the cause. We are the cause. The raisers of the wool, mohair, angora, and the creators of yarn, clothes, warm woolies, and yes, even me, with paintings, we are the cause. We need this stuff like the flowers need sun and rain. Don’t we? So enjoy the show and be proud to be a farmer or a buyer of the products. You sustain us. And, if you’re a woman raising these animals, we, I, salute YOU.

 

Shear Madness airs Saturday nights at 10/9central. Spreecast after the show. It also airs again on Wednesdays at 9/8central.

 

Natalie can be found on Twitter at @NamasteFarms
FB… NamasteFarms
Don’t forget to follow me at my regular blog at www.yeehawranchmamasheri.wordpress.com.

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  1. […] it should be out and I looked for it. It was! Lots of good reactions and even good conversations! http://hoeggerfarmyard.com/mama-sheri-on-shear-madness/ Well…it’s bedtime for this bonzo…..tired I am. Night night sweet ones! 2:46am = 3 = […]

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