Shearing was a week ago but I haven’t been able to write about it because all of my computer time has been spent on the Dreaded Bookkeeping Before Tax Day.
I’m ready for something else, so I’m going to share Shearing Day. You’d think that with Farm Club members doing all of the work on Shearing Day I’d be able to get some decent photos, but I’m not winning any photo awards with these. However, they tell the story.
More rain (and heavy) was predicted for the day. We’d had an inch in the last 24 hours, but it was sunny that morning. It has not rained on Shearing Day since I can remember and the rain held off until about an hour after everyone left.
The shop was open thanks to dedicated Farm Club members who helped there so I could be in the barn.
John Sanchez is our shearer and everyone loves him. Before he started he talked a little about his equipment and answered questions.
Peyton, the BFL ram was first up. While we were waiting for John to get here we brought Peyton and his Jacob wether buddy to the shearing area and decided to weigh Peyton just for fun—273 pounds!
We wanted to get all the boys over with first. That way we don’t have to remember to warn John that there is a sheep with boy parts showing up (it would be obvious with the rams, but maybe not at first with a very woolly wether). This is Cerberus (also known as Spot), a wether whose fleece has been coated and is highly sought after. The excessive freckling is a trait that is not desirable in a Jacob sheep (strike one that made this guy a wether) but it makes a beautiful spinning fleece.
Buster was next. I like this view of Buster. He seems rather docile. He is NOT.
It is the skill of the shearer that makes it seem as though the sheep just wants to hang out in this pose.
Buster’s fleece was a nice open one with good length and it sold to a spinner who bought a few others as well.
Here are all four Jacob rams after shearing. That is Axle at the top center, Buster with the four horns, Spark next, and Cayenne at the bottom and blurry. Cayenne is a 2 year old and the other two horn rams are just turning yearlings. Cayenne has been apart from these other rams for a couple of months because his head had to heal from an injury caused by fighting. I needed to get all back together so they were scheduled to spend some time in jail, otherwise known as the Ram Buddy Pen. Here they can work out their differences without being able to do too much damage to each other (as they would be able to if they could back up and hit each other at full power). I like how Axle looks after shearing, but see some freckling that has appeared on Spark (who happens to be a full brother to Cayenne).
After the seven rams and wethers were shorn we started on the 58 ewes. This is Bronagh, a beautiful lilac 4-horned ewe. We’re now able to see pregnant bellies and that the ewes are beginning to bag up. Lambing will start at the end of the month.
Farm Club members jumped right in to help anywhere they were needed. Doris and Deborah helped move the ewes closer to the shearing area.
Marina and Maggie helped feed sheep to John so he wouldn’t run out of sheep. People traded off so anyone who wanted to could get and help with sheep.
This is an opportunity for people who have not handled livestock to get some real hands-on experience in the sheep pen as new member Beth found out.
Other Farm Club members helped in the shearing area. I wish I knew what had their attention outside the gate that is behind John. It may have been John’s terrier, Oakley, who came with him for the first time. I think Rusty will have something to say about that in his blog later on.
Waiting for shearing.
When people see fleeces they like they can bring them to the skirting table and take a better look.
Almost the last sheep of the day—Zora, a dark lilac lamb.
You can fit a lot more sheep into the barn after they are shorn.
About an hour after the last person left the storm came in with a vengeance. More shorn sheep photos to follow in another blog post.