Shearing was completed a couple of days ago. It has just taken us (the shearing crew and the flock) a couple of days to catch our collective breaths. We were lucky this year to have relatively warm weather for both of our shearing days and for the next few days after. No one was cold during or after shearing. Only now, a week after the first day of shearing, has the weather again turned cold. The few warmer days after shearing gave the flock the chance to adjust to life with shorter fleeces. Even though the temperature has dropped to 10°F over the last two nights we have kept the barn closed up and much warmer than outside. Once we began shearing I was too busy to take many photos. Only here, after most of the flock was sheared did I manage a few images. Every year it seems like the same ewes manage to avoid shearing until it is almost done. This year was no exception. That is Velveeta on the right, holding out to the very end. One the other hand, Zahra, on the left, did not wait around. She has been sheared and already finished a good meal before coming over to visit Stacey, still escaping the shearing crew.
Overall the sheep were very cooperative for us and as a result the shearing went well for all. Here our shearer, Dylan, is just about finished with Yo Yo Baa, a ewe who always produces a prodigious amount of wool. Every once in a while someone has to make a political statement. Yuliya never seems to want to give up. This year she and Dylan played a waiting game to see who would relax first. Everyone was sheared by Sunday evening. On Tuesday we managed to give each of the sheep their Clostridial Disease and Tetanus booster shots along with getting everyone fitted with clean jackets (which will also help with a bit of warmth). Before then, the fleeces were bagged and moved up into the hay mow, waiting for Gretchen and me to begin moving them into the house for their final skirting. In fact, as I write, Gretchen is busy in the basement working on the third set of seven fleeces (our daily maximum). So far we are happy with the fleeces. Nutritionally we seemed to feed the sheep well throughout the year and it is reflected in both their fleeces and their body condition. With any luck we should have the fleeces ready for sale by early to mid April.
Even with lots to do, during and after shearing, there still has to be time to make sure that we thank everyone responsible for this beautiful product. So we thank our shearer, Dylan, our crew, MJ, Helen and Russ, and most importantly our flock. In their own special way the sheep repay us with their love and kindness.