Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Preparations for Shearing

Sometimes I wonder how we get done all we do. Farming is very busy - especially in the summer when the sun is shining, the weather is warm and the hay and sheep are growing. There's the veggie and cutting flower garden that finally got planted, the sunflowers that are just beginning to be planted, and the hay that is constantly being mowed and baled. Add to it the Farmer's Markets (4 a week when we can manage it) for direct marketing of our lamb meat and it makes me nuts to think about. Throw in a studio renovation and life is one big pile of plates being juggled in the air.

And then there is the annual summer sheep shearing. It has to be done and although most of you would think it would be a really fun day, both The Farmer and I dread it. We constantly listen to the weather, hoping that there will be a stretch of no rain. If it is a rainy year, we have to find some place to shear inside and that is never fun because we don't have a covered area big enough for all our sheep. Sheep cannot be shorn when wet.

Our sheep shearer Kevin Ford gives us an appointment two months ahead. Talk about a crap shoot. How do you predict the weather two months ahead? We know that day will be a busy one with nothing else getting done. We've been through it many, many times and when it is over, it feels good. But in the meantime, we both fret silently.

And then there is the gathering which happened last week. We got lucky with the weather and could tell we would be able to shear outside our farmhouse in the yard. The adult sheep who graze about a half mile from had to be moved down to our pasture. On Sunday, the three of us and the two dogs headed up the hill and crossed our fingers things would go smoothly.

There they are, peacefully grazing - not having a clue that they're about to go on an adventure.

The dogs pushed them along, only for them to all take a break and graze in a fresh part of the field.

After a bunch of prodding, they began to move....

Out past the falling down shed and old trucks....

Down the road, stirring up the dirt with over 800 little hooved feet.....

When they get moving, they move fast. They always remember where they are going. They were off and we all had to play catch up....

Good thing there was some lovely green grass for them to snack on and slow them down.

It was hard to get them moving again but with that dog power, they did.

Julia couldn't keep up but plugged along behind...

Down the hill they went, passing the little red barn, the farmhouse, and ending up in the front yard. Good thing I had fenced in the garden - otherwise it would be gone now.

The grapevines on the arbor were too good to pass up.

More prodding and they headed up the hill past the falling down chicken pen. Must put that on the list to fix one day.

And there they went, to await their haircut the next morning.

It was hot and everyone worked hard, especially the dogs. Phoebe collapsed in the shade on the dirt road, waiting for her next job.

P.S. For all you local spinners, we are having our first ever fleece sale. I'm calling it....



JULY 10, 2010 - Saturday

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can find the directions to our farm on our Leyden Glen Lamb website here.

Check back next week for more information.


Lynn said...

Oh, no!!! July 10th is the one day I promised Amy King I would go visit her shop up in Maine. Hmm, hmm....

mascanlon said...

Oh Kristin you told this story so well it feels like I was watching from the road!

yarnabees said...

Love this I felt like I was there! I hope to see some more pictures! thanks for sharing :D

Anonymous said...

I echo mascanlon and yarnabees -- it's great fun to "watch" the procession of the "800 hooves!" Love the dust cloud they kicked up on the road. I'm so glad that the weather worked out for you. It's like planning an outdoor wedding w/o a backup location.

Meliabella said...

Is there any way to put dibs on Cara's fleece?! She's my favorite.

How much would each fleece cost? I've never purchased one before and would love to have my first one come from a local farm and from my favorite farmers! :)

Please tell Julia hi for me!

~Melissa (Meliabella)