Sunday, June 08, 2014

Shearing Day 2014

I have 48 gorgeous fleeces in two giant piles in the barn, thanks to the kindness and generosity of my Canadian pals, the Parkinsons.  I've been anxious to get the wool off the sheep and goats for a few weeks now, but events, and weather, conspired against it.  I cancelled an earlier date due to the long, cold spring we've had this year.  It takes a minimum of six people to shear my flock.  Ahead of time I book the shearer then order in the vaccines, clippers and wormers.    I have to buy the bags and make sure I have food and accomodations for everyone helping me.  Weather report was perfect for this weekend.  If not I would have kept the sheep in to make sure they were dry for the shearer.   The Parkinsons arrived Friday night and slept in Hannah's Celebrity Trailer.  Early Saturday AM we secured the sheep waiting pen with panels and wire.  Kim and Darryl got ALL the sheep in.  I would have loved to do the remaining goats that I didn't get to, but the stealthy critters got away up the hill.  Kim managed to get two hairy goats in with the sheep.  Big Jim Baldwin arrived and we were underway.  Darryl and Jared caught the sheep, one by one and passed them through to Jim.  He sheared the animal then Willie, my student put a lead around it's neck and brought it to me.  Kim scooped up the fleece from the shearing platform and took it out to the skirting table while Lindsay swept off the dirt.  Willie held the sheep while I administered wormers, gave shots, trimmed each hoof, hauling each leg up between my legs and holding it still while I clipped away the excess.  The sheep does not always cooperate with any of this so we have to be on our toes.  It's very physical and very tiring but satisfying.  We worked from nine to three and sheared 48 animals.  Now I have lovely black fleeces to take to Bouckville and white wool to dye lovely colors.  The animals are cool and comfy and walking better with no creepy crawlies in their bellies.  With bare skin going into the summer they are less likely to be afflicted with fly-strike.  They'll have ample time to grow new wool for the coming winter.  I'm pleased with the condition my sheep are in.  90 % of them are FAT and happy.  A couple of old girls are withering like they do, with bones showing. I love the old girls.  Little Cinco, born last May 5, is the youngest and a lamb no longer.  I have some very handsome black wethers who gave me hefty black fleeces.  Shearing day is the culmination of a year's worth of hard work and money invested in the flock.  This very successful and smooth shearing day was not only fun with good friends helping, but very rewarding and gratifying.  I love what I do - it keeps me fit and young.   No sedentary life here.

No comments: