Friday, March 14, 2008

Shearing Time

Another year has past and it's time once again to get out the shearers and unzip the sheep from their coats. On Wednesday Bob took a vacation day and spent it holding sheep for me. Actually we didn't get going until 10 am once all was set up but from then until just after 4pm we plodded along. Plodding really does describe it because I shear with the sheep standing and skirt as I go along, each sheep takes about 30-45 min. Good thing we have a small flock, eh? Here's a picture of Bob and Faye who was the first. He sits on the front steps mostly and I manuevre around with the shearers, scissors and hoof trimmers. We set up a pallet floor and then I throw the fleece over into three piles on another board that's swept between sheep. My piles are prime, second and compost pile. This is a picture of her "prime". Once we're done with the shearing, she gets a treat of cracked corn whilst I trim hooves and then back into the front paddock where the rest of the flock is.

Here's a picture of Mr. Darcy's "prime":

This is a picture of Teacup's rump after I've made a couple of passes. Look how freckled she is under there! And her fleece is heathery grey half way going to cream. I've not seen that before; that's going to make a very nice handspun yarn

I'm pretty pleased with the cleanliness of the fleeces too, keeping the pastures clipped so that the weeds couldn't seed out really made a nice difference and then feeding the hay out in troughs rather than free choice from the round bale also made a tremendous difference. Since they get 2 meals a day, they are eager to eat, eat it all and don't waste it over their neighbor's back. We've spent almost $500 on hay this year and expect the prices to double for next fall so every little bit needs to be eaten and not wasted getting into someone's fleece.

So 4 sheep finished and 14 more to go, rain is forecasted for Sat. and Sun. but just a light rain so we may get a window to do a couple of more before that much needed moisture actually comes in. If not then we'll be fencing the garden in that rain since I need to keep the hens out. This afternoon's project is getting the dividing fence between Ranger and Mr. Bunny arranged better. Ranger has been able to hop over to visit Mr. Bunny and that was looking ok until this morning when I found that they had actually been fighting which resulted in Mr. Bunny getting slightly hurt. So they aren't getting along as well as it had originally had looked. Right now Mr. Bunny is hanging out in the bathroom and I'll fix up that fence and fill in some holes.

Hope everyone's weekend turns out well and is productive too.

PS: the fleeces are for sale! I'll have all pics and prices on the web site as we shear. In the meantime adult Dorset is $5 a lb, adult Jacob $8 and the few remaining available hogget fleeces either Dorsetx or pure Jacob are $12. This is for the raw, skirted fleece and if you'd like to have it sent to a mill directly that can be done too. I'll charge actual postage, no handling fee.


Cyndi said...

and are these for sale either as fleeces or roving???

Liese said...

Thank you Cyndi for the reminder! The raw fleeces will be for sale and can be sent to the mill of your choice. I added a post script and we'll have all available fleeces listed on the web site asap.