2020 was a tough year for everyone, particularly for us. The beginning of the year was definitely hard, but not enough to wane our enthusiasm and our desire to work. Weather-wise, though the start of the year was great, which helped us to stay happy and fully motivated.
The spring was exceptional, with all the rain leading to verdant pastures and fast-blooming oak trees. This provided ideal conditions for our flock, which produced an exceptionally good wool with long and fine fibres.
The spring was followed by a hot summer, in which our recently shorn sheep enjoyed the abundant water pools and the shade of our holm and cork oak trees. As you well know, caring for this oak grove is essential for the well-being of our herd and the maintenance of our ecosystem. Seeing as the early autumn was going to be ideal for repopulating our farm, we got to work and planted 2,200 new cork oaks as our grove is quite old and needs to be regenerated. What’s more, the heavy rainfall in autumn and winter meant that the sheep were able to enjoy plenty of grass and acorns.
There were also some changes in our fleece washing process. Unfortunately, the plant where we washed our wool had to close as it couldn’t cope with the crisis. In Spain, it was the only plant that used the open-width scouring format, which is essential for weaving our blankets, so we had to go in search of another one. In the end we found one not so far away, in the Portuguese town of Guarda. We’re sure that its output will be of very high quality.
As you can see, it could be said that last year was good for us professionally. However, at the end of the year, Javi told us that he wanted to leave the project. He was having a few health issues and his body was asking him for some rest. We thought that the issues would only be temporary and that he would get better. However, a few months later we received the terrible news that he had been diagnosed with cancer, which he was sadly unable to beat. We want to thank him for all these years of hard work and commitment. Moheda would definitely not have been possible without him. We were devastated by how quickly everything happened, but we’re sure that he’ll be looking down onto us from heaven to help our pastures flourish and our sheep thrive.
After such sad news I decided to take charge of Moheda with the unconditional help of Jose Antonio, Bernardino and Javi. The weather has been phenomenal so far this year, so Javi must be helping us from heaven to water the fields. Thanks to this ever so rainy spring, our sheep will be able to graze for much longer and the planted cork oaks will grow stronger.
Last week we finished shearing and we’re very happy because it was all rolled and the wool is of a very good quality. We’re now branding the sheep so that we can easily identify them in case they mix together with our neighbour’s flock. After marking the sheep, we’re going to start making firebreaks with the tractor, as the summer is very hot and dry and there are few precautions against fire. In the summer we’ll be very focused on monitoring the sheep for possible ticks and watering the newly planted trees as it’s vital for them to have extra irrigation in the first year.
I don’t want to go without thanking Javi once again for all the years of dedication. We’ll miss him a lot but we’re sure that he’ll be guiding us from heaven.
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