Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Only four days late! Shearing day always knocks me out for at least a week, exhaustion-wise, and the time change that night didn't help matters. I am just now coming up for air.

As these things go, it was a relatively smooth shearing. We had a bit of trouble getting the ewes penned up into the barn that morning. After months of an uninterrupted run of the back fields, they sensed something was up. Sheep are not stupid... The first crew got them all the way from the back fields right to the barn door. Accounts differ as to whether it was unseasoned sheep wranglers (one of Secondo's friends kindly lending a hand) or Dusty, but for whatever reason, the entire flock turned tail and ran all the way back into the field where they started. Two more people on the job and we finally got them turned around and headed in, except for this stubborn cuss, who had to be dragged all the way:

That's Jenny. She has been wild since the day she arrived almost two years ago, but then again, she doesn't really give us much trouble health-wise, so we feel we can't complain. She refuses to be broken to halter or even to go where all the other sheep are going, so moving her around can be a chore.

Shearing day always goes by in a giant blur. I am so busy trying to remember all that has to be done, that I barely have a memory of who is here and what they are doing or even what I am supposed to be doing. Luckily the shearer knows exactly what he is doing.

Same with our chapter of the ISPSPP*, who are well-versed in their art, even though they were forced to operate without one of their charter members. My dad was feeling very poorly at that point and stayed mostly in the house, though he still insisted on cooking the entire brunch; yes, I felt properly guilty when he was admitted to the hospital that night with pneumonia. (He is out and on the mend now, thank goodness.)

I don't know what we would do without them. They are right there to catch the fleece up as the shearer is done and get it properly laid out on the skirting table, while offering helpful comments to me about the state of the fleece and its former owner. Rumors abound that farms in other states are trying to convince them to lend their mad skirting skillz to other shearing operations; that's how good they are.

They certainly did a masterful job, and I have plenty of fleeces ready for their second, more thorough skirting, though I can't even think about that just yet.

Meanwhile the sheep have spent the past few days getting reacquainted. Every year, they suffer same confusion as a virtual stranger is popped back into their pen. Sans fleece, they have no idea who the intruder is and beat up on her until a critical majority is similarly de-fleeced. Then they wander around sniffing each other and working out the pecking order all over again.

The rams even went so far as to lick one another during this process.

OK, so maybe sheep are just a little bit stupid.

* International Society of Professional Sheep Poop Pickers

1 comment:

  1. I have the same experience on shearing day... Can't quite remember all the details after the day is over. Glad you have a great crew! We are very lucky also in that way.