May 2016

Sheepskins

30 May, 2016 - 13:30 | Lara Pollard-Jones

http://www.photojoiner.net/image/eoRzoQEt

Though not everyone keeps sheep for meat, those who do will be aware that there are by-products from the abattoir which in most cases do not come back to the producer.  The most obvious are the skins, along with horns and offal usually.  Abattoirs sell these products elsewhere into the relevant trade but is possible to get skins back for tanning.

There are a few areas of red tape that have to be considered when sending sheepskins to the tannery.  This is mainly due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, along with strict rules regarding movement, skins were no longer permitted back on the holding that the animal came from.  However, since then the Animal By-Product Regulations came into effect which allows individuals to collect fresh skins from the abattoir.  In most cases an AB117 form needs to be complete to ensure that your skins are returned to be tanned.

Mules and Mashams

23 May, 2016 - 11:00 | Lara Pollard-Jones

Mules and Half Breds are the most common type of sheep in the country and make up a large majority of our commercial flocks.  They are good mothers and can carry twins, triplets or even quads!  They produce fast-growing, lively lambs which makes them perfect for the commercial meat market.  As well as this, some types of Mule also produce high-quality fleeces due to the rams that have been used as sires.

http://www.photojoiner.net/image/DhBlnmV9

Teeswater x Dalesbred = Masham

New Ideas in Farming

16 May, 2016 - 13:30 | Lara Pollard-Jones

Farming is both a very traditional and a very experimental and innovative activity.  On the one hand, we are inevitably tied to the land and its attributes, whether they are constraints or benefits.  On the other we have experience, science and happenstance to provide new ways of doing things – as usual necessity is often the mother of invention and, of course, most farms are almost entirely held together by baler twine!

The innovations started when moving from nomadic to pastoral and then to tillage systems and the first important innovations were the plough, followed considerably later by the mould-board to turn the furrows more effectively, and of course the rotation of crops to eradicate diseases and feed the soil.  Originally we were all “organic” and it was only following the discovery that some intensive farming practices might be destroying the soil that the Soil Association and the current organic systems appeared during the twentieth century.  This recent period has also seen accelerating innovation in terms of the controversial genetic engineering or modification and cloning.  

Wonderwool 2016

9 May, 2016 - 13:30 | Lara Pollard-Jones

http://www.photojoiner.net/image/NMtSbbxy

Wonderwool 2016 was (in our humble opinion), the best one yet!  The weather over the weekend behaved itself (mostly) and we got the opporunity to catch up with many friends that we hadn't seen since the shows last year.

Shows are also a chance for us to see what out customers have been up to.  Sometimes they bring us items that they have made from the Blacker Yarns ranges and other times we find them on their own trade stands!

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