Sunday, April 01, 2007

Been There, Done That
This is my second time going out to my friend Mary Scott's sheep farm for shearing day. I consider it a privledge to go and help out. So here are the pictures from yesterday. It took 6 pickers on and off to get through 21 fleeces. Mary's husband was in the sheep barn helping shearer with that part. I helped with the sheep once they were sheared. Getting out the pen is just as hard as getting them back in. Either way, they have a mind of their own. So here is a series of pictures of the sheep being sheared.


Here are the girls and two withers waiting to be sheared. They are herded into a small space and then one by one guided out of the pen to the man doing the shearing.

Here are the two colors of sheep before shearing. The one with the more long face yielded a whiter fleece. The other girl yielded with black fleece or a black with silver undertones. Either way, they were both beautiful. The first girl to be sheared for the day. She doesn't look too happy about any of this but...

Here she is with about half of her fleece sheared off. See how white she is? The fleece that is closest to her skin is nearly as white. It had a really nice crimp too.
Here is one of the black sheep. Isn't that a nice looking black fleece?
This is the dark wool tarp.
This is the end result of lots a sweating, corraling, chasing, clipping, labeling and picking. This is the light wool tarp.
Then one by one all the fleeces are picked over to get out any gross things. The wool is then bagged up and taken to a processing plant that does all the hard work.


No blog article about shearing would be complete without the "naked" sheep picture to cap things off. ...and here they are!

11 comments:

knotingale said...

That is just so great! I'd love to see a sheep shearing.
Didn't I see something last year about a fleece or two you had? What ever happened to those?

vlb5757 said...

I had big expectations for those fleeces and sadly they are sitting in a closet waiting for big things. I am going to Maryland Sheep & Wool next month and am planning to take them there to drop off and be processed. I just flat have no time. I would love to buy a drum carder but they are getting so expensive. I would buy used, but I couldn't trust my knowledge to do a wise choice. So for now it will have to be a processor.

Wool Winder said...

How interesting! I love seeing all your pictures of the shearing process. What a huge undertaking to shear 21 sheep. I know they were glad for the help.

MeBeth said...

What a cool event to participate in - it certainly does sound like a lot of work. My favorite photos are the two tarps, with all those puffy fleeces piled on top!

vlb5757 said...

I really have a good time helping. It'a a long day for Mary and her husband. The man who sheared has been shearing for them for years and years. He drives fours hour each way to come and shear. He leaves their farm and then goes to do a smaller farm with only 9 sheep and then to the Norfolk zoo. So his day is every bit as long as Mary's. After we left she still had to bag up the rest of the fleeces and then load them into a van to get them ready for the Maryland Sheep & Wool show the first weekend in May. I am already looking forward to next year. There was some talk that the ram might be let out of his pen to do his thing. That means lambs next year if we are lucky. I would love to go and help lamb. Now there's messy business of the cutiest kind!

maureen said...

great photos!

It was nice seeing you tonight. What were you knitting, I couldn't see.

sheperdchik said...

Isn't it amazing how different they look after shearing? Our barn seemed kind of crowded, especially around the feed bunk, but now that shearing is done - there is PLENTY of room! Nice looking fleeces! What breeds are they?

vlb5757 said...

I am always totally amazed after the shearing is done. More than that I am just in awe how we clean, spin and knit it into something useful. Just blows me away.

I did notice right about half way through the flock how the holding pen seemed to get larger. All that extra wool on the girls made a huge difference in space. They crowded together in one corner once they were sheared. I guess it felt like walking into an office in your underwear. I would be crowding into a corner too!

I am not sure I will get the names correct but there are some Border Leicesters (those were mostly the white fleeces) and then they had some Lincoln Corriedale mixes and and Rambouillet. I think there is some sprinkling of Finn in there too. If I haven't spelled them correctly its because my sheep book is downstairs. I don't think that any of them in pure bred but I could be wrong. They are just lovely what ever they are. I have two fleeces from last year that I haven't done one thing with. I am going to take them to the Maryland Sheep & Wool show to get them to the processor and hopefully have some fabulous roving to spin when I find the time.

Daisy said...

I enjoyed the photos! It's quite a job, isn't it, and well worthwhile when it's all over. I used to sleep over at a friend's farm when I was a kid; sheep shearing always amazed me, city girl that I am.

vlb5757 said...

Anything about a farm and how it works amazes me. The people are so hearty and it's like the dirt they farm is in their veins. My cousin is a corn farmer and I am always to excited to go and visit during harvest. I loved riding in the combine.

I have always be interested in sheep but just never knew anyone who owned any until two years ago. I just love going to see the sheep and this woman is the one who taught me how to spin. I feel like I am a part of history by carrying on the tradition of hand made goods that all start with a farmer. I think everyone needs to support their local farm industries. Without them we have no food, no clothes and host of other products. I am a city girl too, but who says we can't appreciate the country folk? lol!

amanda cathleen said...

Sounds and looks like a grand day! Great photo's : )