Spring IS coming, but we keep cycling back into winter. We aren’t the only ones waiting….
But we were determined to shear this past week…the fleeces would have begun to be shed if we put it off any longer.
It rained hard from noon on the first day; thank goodness we could be under cover for shearing. And since our sheep lost their fleeces, we have had 3 snow squalls (one just now as I am writing) and lots of cold rain. To be fair to the weather-gods, there has been a little sunshine too. The sheep have been fed outside when we could, but in the barns when we have had to. They seem fine with all this…finer than I am!
We are grateful that the temperatures are no longer frigid. But even so each year after shearing, they are given extra deep bedding, all the hay that they will eat and kept penned close together during the nights..to share their body warmth. How I wish we didn’t have to shear so early, but we wouldn’t trade the Shetlands for another breed who didn’t shed their fleeces!
The sheep were calm on their shearing days, some knowing what they would face, some oblivious.
We had such good help from our friends those two days. As usual, it was tremendous fun for the humans involved. We solved most of the problems of the world while we skirted fleeces.
I doubt that the sheep felt the same way, but they tolerated it well.
Our shearer, Clint Goodwin, is the best shearer that we have ever had, and completely understands how shearing wool sheep differs from shearing the meaty types.
Our fleeces come off the sheep in wonderful shape (even if the sheep are “in the rise”). Shetlands can be more difficult to shear than most sheep, but he is gentle and quick.
We are very fortunate that he is willing to travel from his home in northern WA to shear our flock each year. Thank you, Clint!
Since we shear in the open at the upper barn, Houdini is temporarily ostracized from his flock to avoid interference on the shearing floor. But he keeps watch anyway.
Here is our friend Mark bringing in the last fleece of this year’s shearing…the 93rd! We were all tired and this was a welcome sight.