The day we spend our year preparing for has arrived! The shearing.
Our shearer, David Hinman, is due to arrive at 9AM and Jack and I have a short list of preparations. After 10 years of preparing for the shear I have learned one thing, don't disappoint the shearer! Organization is paramount to his arrival. By 8:30 all of the sheep are in the handling area, fleece coats have been removed and the shearing area is clean and ready. We don't feed the flock prior to shearing as it is more uncomfortable for them if they have a belly full of hay. I like an early day shear for that reason. Here is Jack with the flock as we settle them into the handling area. Sheep, as with any other animal (or heck even us human types!) hate change and they know something is up. We do our best to make the experience as pleasant as possible for them. After each sheep is sheared we put them in a new pen with fresh hay and a clean coat while they await their freshly shorn comrades.
Here is David bringing a ewe out into the shearing area. What you can't see as his face shows, is the effort it takes for David to coerce the sheep into the shearing area. His hand with the sheep is firm and kind.
Betsy of Crooked Fence Farm arrived to help me skirt and bag the fleeces.
While Jack and David worked the shear, Betsy and I worked away on the skirting table, preparing the fleeces for their final destinations. The morning was cool and brisk but the sun was delicious and warm. By 11am the fleeces warmed as they were prepped on the table.
Here's David shearing Memphis. She is the face on our logo. A very special ewe and a lady in all respects. Not to mention a divine fleece with a 22 micron count.
The work for Betsy and me piled up quickly ~
Sights of the fresh fleeces ~
By 12:30 we gathered up the flock and took them back to sheep headquarters at the winter barn where they found racks full of hay and fresh bedding. The day was lovely but the weather forecast calls for cold nights through Tuesday. Although they are "just sheep" to some we consider our flock more than that. They deserve peace and comfort for all they do! See those heels kick up! They feel good!