Sunday, April 15, 2012

Take it Off, Take it ALL Off!

 Last Monday was Shearing Day, a day to be celebrated by the wooly beasts and me too. It's always nice to have this chore behind us. When Farmer Anne arrived, I told her that I have a bad knee and she'd probably have to go in to get them, which I always help with. She said that she has a bad back due to being thrown on the ground the day before by an ornery alpaca. So I had a a little lecture for the girls in the pen. "See here. We are two old ladies in our 50's, one with a lame knee and one with a bad back, so you all better be on your best behavior. No shenanigans!" They looked at me attentivley, nodding along, so I thought we had an agreement. 

I only have them sheared once a year now, which is too long for a couple of them.
 For example, Mocha, my Rasta sheep. I don't know how she could even see, with those dreads hanging in her eyes.

 Farmer Anne got right to work.

But Mocha was a handful, apparently hadn't paid attention at the lecture, and kicked (what Anne calls the 'bicycle move'), twisted about and was just a bad girl.
Ann had to pause to catch her breath. The girls are still at Ann's pasture so we sheared in her barn, with Sugarloaf Mountain in the background and horses grazing nearby.

I cold hardly lift Mocha's fleece. This is just a third of it. (notice the green water bottle near the top to give you perspective)
 Sparkleberry was much more relaxed...

...until the blades started. She wasn't as bad as Mocha though. But Anne kept running into dense lanolin in the fleece, which just grips the blades and she has to push and push to get them through the wool. She's seen this a bit this year and doesn't know what causes it. She went onto a shearing forum to ask what do when this happens. The answer, "Shear the sheep and have a beer!" Well, when we got done with my 7, it was definitely wine-o-clock! My knee held out (I even went in to pull the sheep out), Farmer Anne's back held out and us two country girls got the job done. And the ewes feel soooo much better!

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