Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Year's Worth

The calendar never really starts or ends for a shepherd.  One aspect of husbandry overlaps another and seasons go by but there's never a time when nothing is happening.  The closest we get is mid winter when everyone is hunkered in and eats their way through the cold, dark months.  But then....


A year's worth of nutrition, proper housing and care is harvested in the form of beautiful wool.  Taking the coats off the sheep is like opening Christmas presents.  We shear in batches of ten to fifteen sheep and can get through about 45 a day without turning it into an unpleasant marathon.

 "Is it any safer on that side of the pen?"

"I don't think so.  We can't really run OR hide."

We postponed the starting date twice due to weather and circumstances.  It was a very un-springlike day but the sheep had been penned the night before and so were dry.  Shearing wet sheep is miserable for the shearer and awful for the wool as it will mildew no matter what kind of bag or container you put it in.

It snowed all day.  :-0  

But indoors is was a steady accumulation of pretty fleeces.........

Curly color!

....and in white.

Longwool crossbreds

Glamour shots........

Salsa is a moorit who has faded greatly over the years but apparently this freckle's worth of wool follicles didn't get the genetic message.

And this is why we coat.  This is Peanut with her coat removed.  The grimy wool to the left is on her neck, which wasn't covered by the coat.  It will wash clean for the most part, but it sure looks unappealing now.

And these are her big, shiny, CLEAN curls.  :-D

This is one of the colored Cotswolds - Pixie, maybe? - who has a very high luster fleece in gray shades.

She looks like she's made of tin foil.

Daisy was pretty sure I had alfalfa pellets in my pocket (aka 'snack hole') and kept trying to work her nose into it.


"You aren't getting any ideas about shearing DOGS, are you?"

No need, dear doggie.  We save all your brushed fur for spinning and you make plenty - no need to cut it off!