Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shearing Day!

What a great day for shearing! The weather was perfect, the sheep were not too badly behaved, the shearer was awesome, and it turned into a party. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

This year I was lucky enough to get on Kevin Ford's shearing list. He is the pre-eminent blade shearer in our area and one of the best anywhere, IMHO. My neighbor down the road, Schuyler, had used him and invited me to add my sheep to his list. Thanks to him, I realized that I still have a lot to learn about my Icelandics. (Surprise!) They typically are shorn twice a year, as the winter fleece tends to felt. Yes, indeed. And, they don't jacket well, as ALL their fleece then tends to felt. Yes, indeed.
One of the benefits of blade shearing is that a nice short layer of wool is left on the sheep - this is very handy when the temperatures go down into the 20s at night. And I was very happy to find that three of the four ewes showed no signs of internal parasites - only Juno needed a drench (and a shot of Vitamin E/Selenium, just in case). This was also an excuse to invite all my farming women friends (and a husband and son) to lunch afterward. There is so much good, vital energy amongst these women. The conversations are animated and interesting, information is passed around (as are recipes). At one point during the afternoon, I just stood and looked at them all and felt amazingly lucky.

Kevin with Flora, my 9 yo ewe. She is the sweetest sheep. I kept her twin ewe lambs from last year, Juno and Freyda. Both of them were shorn for the first time. After I assured Kevin that both lambs were just like their sweet-tempered, calm mother, they started bouncing around like crazy things. He has a great 'way' about him with the sheep - he moves quietly and steadily and reassures them from time to time. It was fascinating to watch him in action.

Since I do not have the hang of the photo layout yet, I will post the "after" shots in a separate post! Just call me technically challenged.

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