My Wool Picker!

My husband finally got the wool picker built!

Let’s rewind a little bit. When we bought our rabbits back in March I noticed that the guy who was selling them also had an ad out for some 55 gallon bins of wool. I asked him about it, bought the rabbits, and told him I was still interested but doesn’t have the money for the wool just yet. He texted me a week later and asked if I still wanted it, and offered to come down on the price. If course I said yes, it’s Navajo Sheep wool, so it has long fibers, and would be great for spinning. When we went over to pick them up, the guy opened the drums to reveal these marvelous fleeces. 3 black, 2 gray, and 1 white. They stunk to high heaven! They had been tightly packed into these steel drums for nearly a year. When we unpacked them it filled the entire bed of the pickup, and each had to be put into its own garbage bag until I could process them.
Because I’m difficult, and I never do anything the easy way, I started with the white one. I boiled a bunch of water in the big canner pot we have, and added it to the tote with the fleece. I did it in the kitchen initially. Big mistake. The whole house smelled like stinky sheep pee. It was gross, so I gently moved it out onto the lawn, luckily not spilling any of the putrid water. Then I boiled some more water and added some Fels Naptha to it (I use it in my homemade laundry soap, so I have plenty on hand). I added the hot soapy water and let it sit overnight.
The next day it was a murky, dingy mess. I gently tipped the type to drain the water, and results it with cold water to rinse. I let it soak again, this time gently agitating it in the cold water so that it would pass through the fleece but not felt it.
We repeated the process 2 more times until the soapy water was clear the next day. A lot of the vegetable matter floated to the top, and after the last soap bath we took it out for one final rinse.

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This is sadly the only part I took a photo of, and I’m sure that some of you will probably cringe at my somewhat primitive process of cleaning the fleece.

At this point we created a drying rack out of some fence, and left it to air dry. It’s fluffy, clean, and doesn’t smell anymore!

Here are a few shots of the wool picker, it’s not the prettiest, but it should do the trick!

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This is the base, and the kids removed. You can see the tooth panels on both.

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Here is the lid on the base, my husband made a cool little handle it off some scrap wood for me.

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Here is the inside view of the toothy bits, they are spaces just far enough apart that they don’t touch, and look like the mouth of a monster.

So let me know your thoughts or your tips, if you have experience with these sorts of things. I want to be better at it!

Thanks for popping by!

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