That's Leonidas on the shearing board. He was quite skittish as a lamb, but he has settled down considerably. Usually lambs are terrified their first time being sheared and misbehave accordingly, but he took it like a champ.
Despite a lack of teenage boy power, because they were away at a 4-H teen conference (and having an absolute blast), we managed to make it through the day. However, we could not have done it without the help of really dedicated family and friends, the kind of people that when you say "can you please show up on a cold Saturday morning and pick fleeces with your bare hands," respond "sure! what time do you need us there?"
As you might imagine, this is a very short list of people. It included the core members of our farm's chapter of the International Society of Professional Sheep Poop Pickers:
Plus fellow 4-H leader Amy, unfortunately not pictured, who offered to lend a most helpful hand when she realized the boys would be gone. She was inside the barn, sweeping off the shearing board in between each shearing and capturing wayward sheep.
The other one who stepped up to the plate, more or less, was Terzo. It helped not being in his big brothers' shadow. It also helped that I offered to pay him in Legos based upon his degree of helpfulness. What can I say, desperate times call for for bribery.
His first job of the day was bringing in his 4-H lamb, Lambykins, who proved that she still knew the purpose of a halter. She was not so well behaved while being sheared, see lambs and first shearing above. However, she did give us the most beautiful fleece, so she is forgiven.
We ended up with lots of gorgeous fleeces this year, thanks to a better job of keeping coats on the sheep. One girl managed to evade us all year, and her fleece was so bad that I was going to toss it on the mulch pile. Hoyt asked if he could take it to the wool pool instead, so off it went with him. I am actually quite excited, I have never had a fleece go to the wool pool!
Even more exciting... Drum roll, please... All six of the ewes were bred. Leo did a bang up job, no pun intended, his very first time out of the gate. The first possible due date is in two weeks time. I better start banking up my sleep now.