I will be playing hooky this weekend by taking two and a half days off from shepherding as I enjoy the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin. This is an annual event that combines pretty much everything that has to do with sheep, wool, and fiber — including herding dog trials, a big used equipment auction, three big buildings of vendors, shepherding classes, two large fleece shows, fiber arts classes, and more. This is one of the larger US festivals, drawing nearly 10,000 people, depending on weather. It’s an event I try very hard not to miss, since it’s always such a good time!
I think the best part of the weekend for me is always the catching up with old friends and the meeting of new ones. Many years ago, we friends had a spur-of-the-moment gathering for dinner on both Friday and Saturday nights. That first set of dinners became an annual tradition that’s open to pretty much anyone who wants to “talk sheep.” Sometimes we end up with only four or five of us at dinner, while on other nights we might be sharing a table with fifteen or twenty! And because the event draws from so many different walks of life, the group is always interesting. The one thing we have in common is sheep, but not all of us are shepherds! We’ve had dinner with llama breeders who supply guardian llamas to sheep flocks and with dog people who breed and/or train herding dogs. We’ve eaten with fleece judges and fiber artists. With so many different people interested in sheep — and from so many different angles — the conversation is constant and always so very interesting!
Thankfully, Rick always volunteers to hold down the fort while I go and play, so I don’t have to worry about my flock as we draw close to the beginning of breeding season. I know they will be well cared for, and that I may even come home to find various projects completed in my absence.
Because I will be traveling to the festival, there will be no blog on Friday, but I’ll be sure to take pictures and report back on Monday. Meanwhile, have a great weekend — and if you happen to be at the festival, come and find me at the fleece competition. I’ll be wearing my Peeper Hollow Farm logo T-shirt!