Like so many activities in this Covid 19 pandemic era, shearing the flock has become “a different animal”. We decided to wait a little bit this year, in the hopes that the weather would be warmer. Luckily this proved to be the case. Making sure that all of those involved with the operation were as protected as possible from infection was more problematic. We kept the crew as small in number as possible, i.e five of us. One of the five was fully vaccinated; two of us were partially vaccinated; two, including the shearer, had yet to be given a shot. No one else was any part of the operation. We also shortened the time line for the operation. The entire flock was sheared in a single day. That proved to be a bit too long for all concerned. The marathon ended about 7 PM! The following day, Gretchen and I along with our trusty assistant M.J. got the entire flock in clean, properly sized jackets. The next day I received my second vaccination, which proved to be poor timing for me physically, since my already aching muscles proved to be further antagonized.
Despite everything shearing was a success. Opportunities to take many pictures were limited due to manpower shortages and our trying to finish the job in a day.. The images I managed on my phone reflected the gray, dark day outside. Nevertheless, here is a brief collection. We tried to keep faces trimmed ahead of shearing, just so that the individuals could see a bit better. One of those who managed to avoid us was Ysabel. Despite the wool hanging over much of her face she still managed to be one of the last to get sheared (i.e. did not let me near her even in the confined pen!). On the other hand, Dorte could at least see pretty well. For her that is especially important since she is one of the friendlier girls who often gets treats prior to dinner! Dorte’s twin sister Dagmar looks a whole lot different once she was sheared. She made a point of coming down to the shearing area to socialize, and to watch the goings on. Cha Cha was one of the last ewes sheared. She too came down to watch the show, but was much less certain about socializing at the time. Many of the ewes could care less about “entertainment”. Much more important was catching up on breakfast and lunch, which they missed due to shearing. By the next morning everyone had caught up with meals. It was obvious that meals were appreciated for the next few days, due to the loss of thick coats and what therefore seemed like cooler areas in the barn.
After a couple of days rest, we turned our attention to processing the clip. As I write, Gretchen is toiling away in the basement, skirting and grading each fleece. We hope to be done with that portion of the task relatively soon. When we are finished, we will be contacting all of last year’s customers to find out if they wish to reserve the same fleece that they purchased last year. Those customers from the last couple of years who decided not to make a purchase last year, will also receive an email announcing the fleece sale date. In addition, an email will go out to anyone who contacted us over the last 12 months, wishing to be added to our potential customer list. If you are not on our potential customer list, but wish to be notified of the sale date you should complete our Fleece Contact form as soon as possible.
The fleece sale is coming soon…we will be in touch!
Always enjoy your newsletter. A wonderful way to keep up with what the two of you are doing. Spring is on the way!
Dear Dick and Gretchen,
I always love your posts, Dick, but this one especially! Sounds as if you had a hard day’s work, and now everyone else – including the sheep – are catching up.
We are also vaccinated, having had our second shots about a month ago. We are grateful, although still uncertain about what this means for travel plans. I have hoped to return to Door County some time this year.
Life is getting “back to normal” here in the Bay Area. Now, traffic seems to be as busy – or busier – than before March of 2020. Hard to believe.
Have a good spring. Stay well!
Thanks for your update. I’m sure you were all exhausted after that long day of shearing. I’m glad that it went well.
I’m also glad to hear that you and Gretchen have had your vaccinations. We were done with both in February due to our old age! We are relieved to have the shots but don’t see the Door County numbers of covid cases going down right now.
We hope you have a great fleece sale and a less hectic summer season.
I filled out the contact form today and am eager for news. I love the close ups of the ewes’ faces!