On the 23rd Crae and I went up to Malta, MT to get my sheep wool insulation and we couldn't have asked for a better day. Usually driving across the state in January is a stupid idea, but this winter has been very mild and it was actually about 45ºF and sunny all the way up there. And boy was it a beautiful drive. I thought it'd be flat just like the rest of eastern Montana but we ended up driving next to the Snowy Mountains, the Little Rockies, and through the Charles M. Russel Wildlife Preserve. We also saw tons of pheasants and eagles, which was nice. Highway 191 up to Malta is a great drive to see parts of Montana most people skip over. We left at 7 a.m and got back by 5:30 p.m, so it can be a long day drive, or a nice weekend trip if you spend the night in Lewistown(which also seemed really cool).
Once we got there we met Thayne Mackey, the owner of Montana Green Insulation. He's a retired sheep farmer and jack of all trades. We walked into the shop(which they're in the middle of moving/renovating) and he offered us a cup of coffee and told us about the equipment they use. There are only three scouring trains in the United States like theirs and it was made in the 1870's, which is pretty cool. They also use solar water heaters to heat the water used to wash the wool and afterwards they recycle it. He told us in the summer they raise prawns with it and are considering putting in a large greenhouse in the next couple of years. I told him I was happy to find his product and he had good prices compared to everyone else I looked at and he told me that most wool insulation providers get their wool from South America, but he gets his from Montana and the western U.S, which I assume helps keep cost down. I was nervous meeting Thayne because I thought I'd be meeting an old, grumpy farmer but we sat down and talked for almost an hour and he is just a funny, very friendly, and open minded guy. After Crae and I left we both wished we had more time to talk and swap ideas and stories and Crae was even talking about getting some wool from him for one of her housing projects.
We got back to town just at sunset with 158 pounds of wool, and then I took a nap. But not after taking a picture of me and my new insulation. I'm so relieved and excited because I can actually start to make some big progress on my house now.