Somewhere in the blur of Christmas parties and Farmer's Markets, we had some of our sheep shorn. We always shear our ewes before lambing, and these 20 Suffolk ewes are due to lamb starting in early February. Timothy has taken over for Nick, who had the audacity to shear for us just long enough to work his way through college and get a good job far away.
We had a TV crew here briefly, filming a spot to advertise our shearing day open house (March 2--mark your calendars!). I can hardly believe the things we get ourselves into--TV crews and big annual events at the farm.
Why do we do it? It's important for us to show the process of farming. Many people will tell you things about farming that "ain't necessarily so." Unless you can see farming practices yourself, and meet the farmers who care for the land and the animals, you are at the mercy of the latest blog post, newspaper article, or YouTube video.
Farming is a messy, heartbreaking lifestyle. It's also an amazing, joy-filled lifestyle. When you come to visit us, you will smell what a barn smells like after it's had 100 sheep living in it for 2-3 months. You will see baby lambs and their mothers. You will watch sheep fight to get away from the shearer, and then lay still while he works. Then you will see those same sheep jump up and run off to join their friends. You will check out the inside of a fleece--snowy white--and the outside of a fleece with a year's worth of oils and dirt in it. Not so snowy white anymore.
I encourage you to come and see what a working farm is like. We'll clean things up a bit, and pray like crazy that it won't be muddy that day. Be prepared for something much messier and louder and smellier--and more wonderful--than you can imagine.