Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ranch Journal ~ January 3, 2018

Three posts in three's a fluke. 
Please don't get used to this level of regularity. 
I suppose I need to prove to myself that I'm not frittering away 
my newfound time. This shall pass.

I spent my first day of retirement washing windows 
and loving every minute of it. Seriously, one of my 
retirement resolutions is to keep my windows clean. 
It was a bit cold to do the outsides, but all the insides are done. 
I feel so much better. Except they still look dirty and I won't know 
how awful a job I've done until I get to the outsides. 

See? I've bored you already. Continue at your own peril.

I've been sitting on the above lamb pelt since I purchased it in 2009,
at the farmer's market in Santa Fe. That would mean it hasn't been washed in...
I'm still counting...almost nine years.

The only time it looked this fluffy and white was the day I brought it home,
when Smooch was just 3 years old.

Smooch has aged better than the pelt.
This picture does not do justice to its filthy, matted condition.

Amazingly, I still had – and found! – the laundering instructions given to me at the market.
Since it would require several washer cycles and significant shepharding,
I thought that washing the pelt would be a good thing to do whilst inside washing windows.
I suppose one might draw a corollary between retirement and this cleaning frenzy,
some deep metaphorical cleansing of workplace memories to make room for new ones.
But it's more like I could barely see out the windows,
and the dirty lamb pelt was an affront to the décor.

Besides, it didn't end well.
The darned thing spun itself in half during the rinse cycle.
Oh, well. It won't go to waste.

The feral beast is back there eyeing it for his room.


  1. Sorry your pelt went into destruct mode, but it looks like it was meant to be. One piece for Johnny, one piece for Smooch. I share your cleaning/organizing interests this time of year. Nothing like a fresh start to a new year. Please keep us in the loop of your efforts and methods. I feel inspired reading of your progress and seeing your productivity! m

  2. thanks for the morning laugh.. sorry for laughing but that last photo set off my giggles.

  3. So stitching it back together? Funny, I have a synthetic sheep's skin that actually belonged to my great grandmother who went to heaven almost 50 years ago! I am certain that they no longer make the fabric this is made out of as it is indestructible. It still has the original White Knight tag that says it is washable and autoclavable! It has had many uses, including a dog bed and it still looks like new. Now after seeing your post...I will try it in my office chair.
    Love the updates! Lisa G in TN

  4. Oh no! Sorry about the pelt, but I do see maybe pillows in the future...

    NE Okla

  5. Maybe a good reason to go to the Santa Fe market this spring! Friends gave me a sheepskin rug they had washed. They didn’t want it because the hide part had dried and become crunchy. Three weeks of dog, cat and humans walking on it and the hide no longer was stiff.

  6. I Agree , sounds like a good reason to go do Santa Fe, or shopping in general :)

    Suggestion, avoid the Woolite.
    I never use ii on anything, including silk and wool clothing. It has brightners.
    I use ORVUS (WA Paste). The label says live stock shampoo and fine washables. (I laugh each time I read it).

    Baby shampoo would work also. You need a 'mild' shampoo. I don't know what a conditioner would do to the skin side, but conditioner would probably not be an issue on the fiber side.

    I have never washed a pelt before, but there should be some suggestions from experienced folks.

    #1 I would not wash in the washer on a normal cycle. (Bath tubs or large rubber maid tubs in the bathtub).
    the wool(fiber) needs to be wet at room-temp and gradually increased to warmer water so the fiber doesn't felt.
    #2) Agitation is a NO NO.
    Fill the washer and stop it. Let the pelt / wool soak. Hand agitate, slowly.

    Spin as slow as possible during the draining process. Its a heavy pelt and the unbalanced washer probably helped tear it apart. You may need to put a towel or two in with it to balance and pad.

    Rinse ... once again, don't SHOCK with extreme water temperatures. Fill. No Agitation. Hand swish, slowly.
    Drain and spin slow.

    May take several rinses.

    After the last SLOW spin, you may need to have some towels on the floor ... lay the pelt on the floor and roll
    up in the towels to absorb any extra water.

    Lay flat to dry. Tumbling raw wet wool in the dryer will likely FELT it.

    M in NC
    (who has NO experience with a pelt, but I have washed plenty of wool sweaters ... and a little mohair).

    PS: :) :) happy to see you posting with some regularity !

  7. I think JCC is going to love his new bedding. And you'll enjoy a new shopping trip to Santa Fe.

  8. I washed our sheepskin from Australia and it too fell into pieces. But my husband carefully and methodically sewed it back together and you can't tell that it was in pieces. Now I hang it over the couch and no animals are allowed to sit on it. I'm thinking about just hanging it on the wall as a decorative piece.

  9. "Since it would require several washer cycles and significant shepharding"---I see what you did there.
    I think the sellers make you think you can wash something so that you'll buy it. Better make a trip to the Santa Fe market to get another one. JCC will love his new bed and be able to thumb his nose at Smooch.

  10. Diane K. Eastern NC1/4/18, 4:54 PM

    I had a real sheepskin saddle cover that I road on for years. when it got dirty I washed it in the washing machine and dried it in the dryer. It came out perfect every time. It finally bit the dust just because the holes the leather went through to hold it on the saddle finally split out after about 10 years of heavy use. I loved that thing.

  11. Oops. I guess those washing instructions didn't consider the age of the pelt and the wear and tear it had been through.

  12. I'm going to agree with M in NC. Never use Woolite on wool. Couple thoughts if you go there again. Not sure what you have but I'd think if you are going to wash in a machine, it must be top load washing machine. I've never washed a pelt, but I've washed plenty of fleeces and I think I'd try washing it fleece style with a good soak with detergent (I use Dawn on dirty wool and Mrs. Meyer's on sweaters and blankets), a little hand sloshing around probably wouldn't hurt, spin out with the fleece side facing out, a second good soak with a little detergent if needed and then a couple good rinses and throw some fabric softener in the last one. Here is a link to a washing post:

    I think I'd also look into just hosing it off in the driveway. The way wool fibers are constructed and with their built in "soap" (suint), they are sort of self cleaning on the sheep. A good steady rain will really clean them up by basically pushing all the dirt from inside out to the tips. Like I said though, I've never washed a pelt. Just some thoughts. Go support a local shepherd and buy another one :-).