Somewhere the wool for Tup's fly has been confused with urine soaked wool from the scrotal area of the ram. Actually, farmers would paint the back or the ewe with a yellow paint and look for that stain on the ram to see if that ram had been taken care of. I bring this up since on another board they brought back an old post from a member, who also happens to be a recently retired pastor who is just part time with a congregation now. Not wanting to link to a long forum post I'll just post his story.
"Okay. So. I have been hanging around with some interesting characters since I've undertaken our beloved sport, and I've seen some pretty incredible things, but today MIGHT have been the pinnacle of MY "Dumbest Things EVER" list - according to my wife. In a long, detailed, point-by-point narrative. Here's the skinny.
Last fall some kind soul said something to the effect that one of the main ingredients for the original Tup's dubbing is urine-yellowed wool taken from a ram's scrotum. Really. I'm not making this up. Anyway, someone from this forum found a place that even sells it. Really. I'm not making this up. By the time I had read that, I had already checked online for such a thing from quite a few sheep farms. Not a few didn't respond to my queries. Several said: "Really? Urine-yellowed wool from a ram's scrotum? People BUY that?" A couple suggested mental illness (on my part - I had to agree). A couple said, "Yep. We DO sell that. Fly tyer, right?" BINGO! Game on!
So, last October, I made the purchase and received a baggy of the stuff. Let me be clear: a couple of farms will SELL it to you - NONE will clean it for you. None. Now I know why. So, I opened this baggy, last October, and got a whiff of this nasty, bedraggled, full of crap/urine/hay and other, undetermined flotsam and immediately closed 'er back up. "HELL NO!" I said to myself. So, for some reason only known to NOT ME - this morning I said to myself: "Why not?"
I KNOW better than to listen to me, but no, I went for it. Really. I'm not making this up.
My wife had to run some errands this morning and I decided today was the day. What could it hurt? I dug it out and followed the cleaning instructions to the letter. I heated water to the boiling point/with Dawn dish detergent in an OLD pot (the only thing that saved my 35 year marriage!) and opened the bag up and dumped her into the water which was laced with Dawn dish-washing soap. IMMEDIATELY my kitchen/entire house was filled with an aroma that resembled nothing so much as a sheep shed - on a hot day.
My life passed before my eyes!
And, then I heard my wife pull into the drive way. I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ 9 separate times before she came into the house!
She opened the door and, ex-Navy Commander that my love-dumpling is, said, in a VERY commander-like voice: "What in the name of heaven has died in MY house!" (So, on the good side; I get to see Jesus sooner than I had planned because: Uh-oh! I'm a GONER!)
She came into HER house, frowning, and asked me what I was cooking! Now, friends, I was really insulted (I am a trained chef - though from long ago)! I said, I wasn't cooking anything! But, before I could stop her, she leaned over the pot and took in a healthy whiff and said, "What is this crap?" And, I said, "Only partly... The rest is urine-soaked wool!"
Apparently, my wife has some trouble with hearing the truth because my bride of 35 years is still not talking to me. HER house still smells like sheep-fold - and we have company coming shortly - which, in my defense, I DID NOT KNOW about in advance. BUT, what the heck, I LIKE the quiet, and after 3 washings/soakings in hot water, I have about 2 or 3 batches worth of the urine-soaked wool from a Ram's testicles that is a beautiful, subdued yellow. As I tried to tell my wife, it was for US. No dice. Then I admitted that this was probably the dumbest thing I had done to date and she said: "Until the next time." When she's right, dang it, she's RIGHT!
I tell ya, friends; this fly fishing stuff just MIGHT be the death of me. It damned near WAS today! REALLY! I'm not making this up!