Would it be possible to raise flax, interweave it with wool to make a natural fiber composite
Linsey-woolsey (less often, woolsey-linsey or in Scottish English, wincey) is a coarse twill or plain-woven fabric woven with a linen warp and a woollen weft. Similar fabrics woven with a cotton warp and woollen weft in Colonial America were also called linsey-woolsey or wincey. The name derives from a combination of lin (an archaic word for flax, whence "linen") and wool.
Travis Johnson wrote:Another underutilized resource I think is lanolin.
Judith Browning wrote:I think you've hit on linsey/woolsey, Travis
David Livingston wrote:Price of yurt 3,000 + thats a lots of money in my book No idea about how many fleeces but how would that compare with seven and a half jumpers ? http://www.yurtsdirect.com/buy-a-yurt-traditional-price-meters.html
raven ranson wrote:It seems like we are focusing on adding value to the wool after harvest. This is one method of adding value, but it also adds labour. When I calculate out expenses, growing wool is one thing, but everything after skirting and sorting the wool, is a whole different set of expenses.
Travis Johnson wrote: Then I stumbled upon Lanolin as an alternative and use that, putting the lanoline in the empty tins of Carmex. Granted it does not help against cold sores like Carmex, but I don't have that issue anyway, and it is equal too, or better then carmex/chapstick. I have used lanoline in this way for years. I cannot imagine that it would be a homestead breadwinner
What would be a general list of requirements for sheep on someone else's property?
The market for a pesticide-free, organic, eco-friendly lanolin is huge
Travis Johnson wrote:In a perfect world it would all be so seamless: milk, meat and wool, but it is not that simple. Sheep breeds that are excellent for meat have really poor milk production, and I am talking like half of what the dairy breeds are. Sadly the dairy breeds make poor meat sheep because they really grow slow and are smallish in size, and make rather poor wool. And of course great wool means less protein since it makes the wool brittle, which is not the ideal way to raise sheep for slaughter.
Milk sheep breeds produce perfectly usable good wool, just not the same wool as a merino. Meat sheep breeds produce perfectly usable good wool, just not the same as a merino. Merino is a breed that is currently only great at super fine wool and nothing else. AND. Merino wool isn't thee only wool or thee most perfect wool. Actually I really hate merino wool for many reasons. The main thing is that all sheep breeds are good at different things and all wools are good at different things.
As with the OP, herein lies the issue of educating people. Merino isn't the god of all wool. Just like angus isn't the god of all beef. And since I live in a rural area and right now every black cow, calf, heifer, steer, or bull that passes through the local auction is trying to be passed off as black angus.. and almost none of them have any worthwhile meat type.. and they all are black so the price will double or more what any other cow sells for just for that. It is really hard to educate people.
As to protein for meat vs wool what you state is not correct at all for wool. Sheep all need the same thing to thrive and do their best at whatever it is they are doing, be that making milk, meat, wool, or all three. If a sheep isn't getting enough of something their health will decline and they will not produce well no matter what the purpose of production. Be it protein or minerals or any number of things. That said, some breeds are much better at doing better on lesser feed. This is only after many generations of breeding and mostly found in the heritage breeds which are now used more for wool or small farm stock than for large production like in the breeds hay-days. That doesn't mean they can't be great producers.
raven ranson wrote: But this method involves culling and the thought experiment is how to raise sheep for wool without them going for meat.
In short my answer to this is, there isn't any reason **other than human delicacy or anthropomorphizing** to not eat/sell at least a portion of a flock, or really any livestock.
In detail here is my reasoning:
1) you cannot make the population better without removing the unwanted. If I want all superfine wool merinos I cannot leave the higher micron testing sheep with the flock. They will reproduce along with the flock and bring down the micron of the flock as a whole by having more and by letting them breed with the finer animals. From what I read and have seen so far in person when breeding sheep the wool will always be of a micron on the coarser side of the parentage. If I breed a fine wool to a medium wool I will have lambs that are finer than the medium wool parent but definitely not as fine as the fine wool parent. I have to remove the coarser wools to get a finer wool flock.
2) there is always undesirables to weed out. No matter what the cause for an animal being undesirable. This could be animals that produce poorly, that have fault in type, that are not as hardy, that have serious genetic conditions,...
3) you have to have at least minimal reproducing to keep up your stock numbers for wool production. Even if this is kept in very careful balance there will always be that year you have 13 ram lambs and 4 ewe lambs or vice versa. Even if you keep a predominately wool wether flock with just enough ewes to keep up numbers, you have to realize animals will all age and their production changes with age, and what you will do with the sheep when they become old gummers and can no longer eat. Very very very few people are willing to keep every animal until it may be 15 or 18 years old and dies of old age. On top of the fact that by that time the animal is becoming a cost in money and time and either not producing or producing wool that is of much lesser value or even use.
raven ranson wrote: Increasing the value of the wool. Adding value to the wool.
Increasing and adding to the value of wool depends entirely on the consumer you are marketing to and what you are marketing. This also plays ALOT on the education of the consumer.
Are you marketing raw fleeces? Are you gearing toward handspinners who want cleaner fleeces to hand process? Are you marketing to handspinners who want to buy multiple fleeces to be milled into roving? That in itself is two very different marketing goals, and I say that as a buyer and a seller. Are you willing to pay more for a better shearer/shearers? Are you willing to pay more to have someone with knowledge skirt and/or pick your fleeces? Are you willing to buy and put in all the extra work to coat at least some of the best fleece sheep? All of the last three would increase the value of fleeces to a handspinner looking at a raw fleece.
Are you marketing milled rovings or yarns? Are you skirting and washing the fleeces or paying the mill to do that? Or are you paying to work for you to do that? Are you dyeing the rovings or yarns? Are you marketing the yarns to indie dyers as one of their yarn bases? Do you even know that indie dyers are a thing to be marketed to?
How much time and money are you willing to invest in making and marketing value? And are you adding in this to your costs to pay yourself or to pay someone to do it for you?
Travis Johnson wrote: Another underutilized resource I think is lanolin.
Not without boiling the wool. Making the wool unusable other than compost. The best I can stretch the idea is that you would have to process the wool into cloth wholly in the raw (shearing to fabric off the loom without having washed or wet the wool) and then using the fabric to carefully make a boiled wool felt to be made into coats. This of course would not happen at scale period because large scale wool processing has to have clean wool. This would have to be done strictly on cottage scale and would have quite a hefty price tag on the resulting fabric and/or coat.
r ranson wrote:Nicole, thanks for the list. Really neat stuff.
I'm curious about the pesticides and sheep so I googled around a bit. I couldn't imagine why anyone would feel the need to spray sheep. The scale we grow them locally (most flocks are less than 50 adults), I've never heard of anyone dipping or spraying a sheep. It seems rather expensive for the perceived benefit when a lot of these issues can be prevented with a little attention. At least on the smaller scale, we do around here. But the problem is the solution, and if others want to spray their sheep, then it's going to up the value for those of us who could make wool and lanolin without pesticides.
One of the problems is that sheep are commonly treated with pesticides and insecticides because they're susceptible to pests. A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study published in September 1992 discovered lanolin samples they tested contained several types of pesticide residues. Some of the types of pesticides they found can accumulate in breast milk.
To make the lanolin cream, lanolin is first recovered from shaved sheep’s wool. The wool is soaked in chemicals to remove parasites before the lanolin is scoured out of it and at the moment there are no truly organic options out there.
The United States Department of Agriculture requires that anyone who produces, processes or handles organic agricultural products must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier in order to sell, label or represent their products as "organic." To become certified, an organic producer, processor or handler must develop, implement and maintain an organic system plan. Most small manufacturers simply can't afford to jump through these hoops so they can legally call their products organic.
We receive frequent questions about "organic" lanolin. Other companies may claim that they sell organic lanolin but it is our view that there is no such thing. Sheep like to play and roll around in their open fields and while the sheep are having fun, their woolly coats accumulate insects. This necessitates insecticide dips once in a while that are essential to preserve the health of the animal and the quality of the wool. Currently, there is no alternative to these dips. In NZP products, our lanolin is purified to the point where insecticide traces are undetectable; however, this does not make the product "organic." Our view is that "organic" means never exposed to artificial chemicals, not that chemicals have been removed by purification. Is there an alternative? Probably not, because it would mean confining the sheep indoors and not in their beloved open fields; something we would see as inhumane and unimaginable. Our product is as pure as it can be with the most advanced purification technologies available.
The top 3 pesticides used on sheep in 2005 were permethrin, fenvalerate, and malathion, according the Organic Trade Association (3).
Currently, Lanolin is removed from the wool with chemical scouring. In conventional wool production, the wool is dipped in pesticides to kill any mites and parasites, and then it is chemically scoured to remove the lanolin. It is then put through a centrifuge, and then it undergoes a distillation process, which yields the finished lanolin. Conventional lanolin that you would find in your “all-natural” lip and body balm has been through this chemical cocktail processing. Current regulations call for it to contain less than 40 parts per million (ppm) of pesticide residue in order to be applied topically, but who is watching? The Organic Monitoring Research institute admits that it is not clear who is monitoring this 40 ppm of pesticide residue for compliance. You and I both know the answer: NOBODY!!! As of today, there are no International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) standards for lanolin production. It is a free-for-all and nobody is paying attention to the safety of the finished product.
Lanolin is exposed to a number of pesticides when the wool is dipped. A few of them are: Organochlorine, organophosphate, pyrethroid. Residues of these toxic pesticides in lanolin are well documented. Sheep also ingest low levels of dieldrin. Studies show that the pesticides bind to the lanolin due to its waxy consistency rather than to the wool fiber itself. The pesticides become concentrated in the lanolin.
... To extract the lanolin from the wool, processers use Methyl chloride as a solvent. There are numerous studies to the toxic effects of this chemical.
Travis Johnson wrote:
I was looking for some sheep handling equipment, and could not find what I wanted in the USA, but did in New Zealand and Australia and noted in those videos that they showed the equipment being used as they sprayed their sheep, and I was like, "huh, I guess they do that over there?"
the thought experiment is how to raise sheep for wool without them going for meat.
do you have any more details on how to extract lanolin. You mention boiling? Is there more to it than just boiling, or can it be extracted effectively by just boiling? Thank you so much!
To extract the lanolin from unwashed wool you boil the wool in water for a few hours, adding salt to improve the yield of lanolin. Next, you reduce the solution by boiling off most of the water. After you filter any undissolved solid material from the hot solution and let it cool, you should be left with a pale-yellow waxy solid floating on the surface of the water. This is impure lanolin. You can purify it, as we did on the show, by taking the crude lanolin and shaking it with a mixture of olive oil and water. The impurities will dissolve into the water and the oil, leaving you with a solid layer of off-white, waxy 'purified' lanolin suspended between the oil and water.
Step one- Fill a large pot with hot water (pot should be large enough to fit your wool)
Step two- Put the raw wool in a laundry bag and place in pot
Step three- Add salt (1-3 tablespoons)
Step four- Bring water to a steady boil for a few hours. Do not leave wool unattended. Add water as needed.
Step five- Remove wool from water and place in a container to dry. (Water is very hot so do this with gloves and tongs)
Step six- Continue to boil water until it all evaporates. What is left is the lanolin!
Step seven- Pour the leftover lanolin though cheese cloth or muslin. This will remove dirt and debris.
Step eight- Allow lanolin to cool then jar!