Friday, March 27, 2009

For the shear joy of it

Yesterday, as I was finishing up lunch, someone shouted for me to come outside quick. They are shearing sheep next door and I can go watch.

Upon hearing this news, I threw on my shoes and jacket, ran back for my camera, then hurried along to see the sheep get all nakid. I was hugely excited as I've never seen sheep shorn before and especially because I've never taken photos of sheep being shorn before. This was going to be fun.

The only thing I did wrong was that, though I remembered to take my camera, I forgot to also take the memory card that makes camera work. So, sorry all, no photos.

I got there and I had a huge amount of fun. I learnt a lot about sheep. You have to remember that I have virtually no experience when it comes to caring for large animals. Sure, I've milked a cow before, well tried to at any rate, but that dosen't count. So, I spent the entire time questioning the shearer about everything even remotely related to keeping sheep.

The sheep were all rams which are definitely not pets. If your body language is not assertive and confident then they are extreemly dangerious. Even though they were all three years old and younger, I was very much aware that the smallest of them was almost twice my weight and almost all of that muscle. I even got to do some slight wrestling with one of them who tried to make a break for it. It was very strong, but once I got the grip right, I managed to turn it's head and send it home.

I got to bring home some fleece all of which were from breeds I've never worked with before. I have one Suffolk, a whole lot of Charollais, and a couple of Charollais crosses. The Suffolk is my favourite of the lot. Considering that this fellow was shorn in September last, it had quite a nice staple length. The Charollais is a very short fleece but extreemly fine and soft. It is going to make a nice woolen yarn. The shearer said that she spins that stuff up for baby clothes, it's that soft.

I might send some of this away for processing. I've been informed that the well at the farm won't support the amount of washing I want to do this year. I could collect some rain water and heat it up on a camp stove perhaps.

1 comment:

Josiane said...

How fun! It's so great that you got to see it happening, and that you could come back with some fleeces! It's nice also that you could learn from the shearer, that must have been very interesting.