Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shearing Day Update


Despite the incredibly high temperatures which caused all of our snow (approximately 50" in December) to melt within 24 hours PLUS about 2" of fresh rain which turned everything to mud and swirling water...


We had a great time shearing sheep Saturday. 

We had wonderful help. Lee helped with herding sheep. My father helped with herding sheep. The younger kids also helped with herding sheep and giving annual vaccinations. The sheep all have to be coaxed up a narrow chute/ramp while waiting for their hair cuts. Mary helped by answering questions and narrating the process. Teresa demonstrated spinning in the workshop. Becky demonstrated how she made her wool hooked rugs, also in the workshop. My mother and our two older girls helped with refreshments and purchases and questions. It was wonderful to have all this great help!

After we finished shearing, I fed the help and visited with the hangers-on in the workshop. They were having a little fiber pow-wow out there. An Indiana etsian was traveling through and stopped to visit. She taught Teresa how to Navajo-ply when spinning. A family lingered, picking out gifts for a late-Christmas party. It was a good time. Wish you could have been here. (Though frankly, there was standing room only many times during the morning.)

And to answer the #1 question of shearing day--we shear in the winter, because we want the lambs to live, mostly. The newborn lambs will suck on anything that hangs down in their search for nutrition. They will suck on dirty wool tags, and die without ever finding the udder. So we make sure there is no confusion by shearing pre-lambing. Also, we find that if the ewes don't have their full coats on, they will lay near their babies a bit quicker--thinking about the cold. This provides the lamb with much needed extra heat, especially during the cold snaps. 

Of course that begs the question--why do we lamb so early? These lambs will be 4H club lambs--shown in July fairs. They need to be a certain size/age when shown. We don't get to choose when the fairs are held. But even so, we would lamb before it gets warm just for the health of the babies--no flies, etc. 

There is more, but this post is long enough. The photo is of our award winning shearer at work giving Diamond her annual hair cut. 

5 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great day! I'm so glad! So when exactly do you lamb?

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  2. Pam, we start lambing the first of February. Lots of cute lamb photos then...

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  3. Sounds like a lovely day!!! Sorry to have missed it. . .

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  4. Lona,

    Sounds like a great time! We so much wanted to come, but we have all been very sick with terrible colds and just couldn't get out Saturday! Maybe next time!!

    Julie

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  5. Look at those lovely locks of fiber! Num Num Nummy! I want to spin them right up, just as they are!

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