Life after Work

Sheep is Life in Tuba City

We got up at 5 AM after almost oversleeping because I accidentally had set the alam clock to 4.45 PM. Luckily John has been turning into the human alarm recently! Driving up North was pleasant and we arrived at the Sheep is Life celebration in Tuba City around 9.30 AM. As we approached, John said, “If this is it we’ll be here for all of 5 minutes!” It was much smaller than we expected. However we still had a blast for a few hours. We visited with the sheep and goats that were hanging out in pens waiting for contests or sale, watched the judges scrutinize beautiful rams while the owners hung on to their massive horns, and chatted with several people. While I was hanging out next to pen where the lambs were being judged, John called me over to a stand with several piles of raw churro fleece. He pointed at one particular pile and nearly told me to buy it, because he loved the coloring. It was pretty clean, not too greasy – and for churro, very soft. Twist my rubber arm!!! For $20 it was mine and I carried it off to the car before venturing out for more buying. I ended up picking two more lamb fleeces which had a very similar, beautiful coloring and were in a very good condition. I don’t really know how to pick fleeces properly so I just squeezed them in different places to get a feel for it, then separated some locks and pulled on them to see if the fiber was brittle or not. I hope some day I get to choose raw fiber with an expert to see how it is done right.

Soon, we became very hungry for lunch so we followed a local’s advice and headed on over to the flea market down the street and ordered Navajo style lunch of roast mutton, stew, and fry bread. We also sampled a local delicacy, mutton fat wrapped in intestines which is then grilled. It is called ach’ii. It was a food challenge I have been curious about. The small piece that I tried was pretty good and muttony at first but after a couple more bites the flavor became kind of bitter. Naturally, ach’ii is also VERY chewy.

After lunch we did a short round of the flea market and picked up a few food items such as apricots, banana bread, and dried corn. On our way out of town we passed the historic trading post and stopped to take a look inside. We ogled the rugs, one of which was a pictorial with Santa Claus and presents and Santa’s beard were locks of fiber. Really cute! There were also two other rather modern looking patterns which I want to ask Sharie (our weaving instructor) about. In the general store at the back of the trading post we spotted a number of Brown Sheep wool skeins hanging from the ceiling rafters. We couldn’t resist and bought a few more for future rug experiments.

We finally left Tuba City by way of the Hopi Reservation. The skies were beautiful with a surprisingly large amount of clouds and hints of rain in the distance and the desert was relatively green. We had dinner on the way home and arrived around 8 PM. All in all, a grand day out.

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One Response to “Sheep is Life in Tuba City”

  1. rebeccawip

    Sounds like such a fun day and neat experience! Can’t wait to see what you do with those fleeces you picked up! And that lunch sounds scrumptious (I love lamb!) but I don’t think I could have done the ach’ii. You’re braver than me!
    I’m smiling just thinking of the wonderful family day you guys spent together!

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