Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Shear Surprise

Last Tuesday a surprise call at 6:00 am changed my plans for the rest of the week. A shepherdess friend was on the other end of the line with an unusual question, "How would you like your sheep sheared today?" Her shearer had made the trek down from Missouri but her sheep were wet from rain and snow so the shearer was sitting around with nothing to do (waiting for wet sheep to get dry is like watching paint dry!). A quick glance outside assured me that the precipitation had not yet reached my sheep so all I needed was a truck, a trailer, some hired help, a barn to shear in and some co-operative sheep! Most days those things don't align at once, but on Tuesday they did!

Thanks to Brayden, Rhayna, Sam, Dennis, Alfred, Jose and Molly (our sheep herding border collie) everything fell into place.

The girls waited patiently in line for a new 'do. We sheared 39 sheep for almost 6 hours, but the results were well worth the hard work. Despite the burrs in some fleeces from dog attacks and neighborhood roaming, we were able to save 20 of the fleeces and have great hopes for even better numbers in the fall.
Don't laugh! They will look beautiful again in a week!
Since they don't have mirrors, the sheep just know they can scratch their backs again!
Now the real work begins. We will go through each fleece to pick out burrs and other unpleasant things, then wash the fleeces. Once they are sparkling clean we will card and spin the fleeces to make them available for sale as roving (wool for spinning), yarn, and knitted garments. Each skein has a picture attached of the sheep responsible for the wool so you can put a face with a fleece!

Over all the years of farming, I have learned that I am merely the helper. Just as I help my chickens get their eggs in the cartons and my cows get their milk in the jugs, I help my sheep get their wool to you, their friends and fans!

1 comment:

  1. They are so funny! Looking forward to seeing all the new wool.