Saturday, April 16, 2016

Shearing 2016 Day One + A Couple Videos

Shearing is not over yet. We spent the day on Wednesday with our shearers Kevin Ford and Gwen Hinman. We did 133 sheep and still have 100 to go which will be done this coming week (weather permitting). 

There are a couple of 15 second videos at the end of this post if you would like to see it live. 

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that Kevin shears with blades (by hand!) and Gwen shears with electric shears. It is a very busy day and many people are involved. Two shearers, Mark catching the sheep, Rachel and I sorting the wool and packing it into giant wool bags and me also being the caterer to feed the crew. 

The days before are busy too. Sorting and grouping the sheep to get them ready is a massive job. Rachel, this year's apprentice, helped Mark do this on Monday so the sheep would be out of the rain. 

Mark sharing his wisdom with Rachel, his apprentice
Early in the morning on Wednesday, Kevin arrived and then a bit later Gwen. It was all business - catching sheep and passing them off to the shearers. Then the constant clipping of the wool.

Gwen Hinman

Kevin Ford
Kevin's glove with his sheep counter
Picking up the wool

Skirting the wool

Packing the wool in the giant wool bags

Getting rid of the nasty bits (manure, vegetable matter, matted bad wool, etc.)

We also had a reporter from The Greenfield Recorder named Richie Davis who is writing a story about Kevin Ford and a photographer named Paul Franz for photos for the paper. I'll let you know when the story runs. 

Shorn sheep looking on at the others

Kate watching the action from afar. She had a fantastic day. So much action and sheep to watch. 

We were pooped by the end and went to bed early. We are still trying to figure out how the shearers do it day in and day out. Kevin just turned 70 and he is a marvel. Gwen is a marvel too. I love spending the day with both of them. 

At least the day wasn't too hot. We changed our shearing schedule so that the sheep wouldn't have to be brought back in from pastures near and far. Next week we do it all again with a few less sheep. 

Video of Kevin Ford shearing 

Video of Rachel jumping in the wool bag


Sojourner Design said...

Kevin has sheared my sheep for years. There are many reasons that I keep calling Kevin for this work; for one, he shows up when he says he will. And I love how he handles the sheep. No yelling at them or pushing them around in anger; rather, when a sheep struggles he reassures it in a barely audible whisper.

Auntie Shan said...

I could probably do with a dozen of those bags just to put my "store bought" wool and cotton yarn into! - I'd likely end up jumping on it all too, to stuff it in!

Hope the weather STAYS good for you!!

Michele in Maine said...

Just an amazing process, and you have made it all so efficient and humane too. Glad the weather has been cooperating!

LannieK said...

It's always fascinating ~ the talent of the shearer, and then it's just amazing that the sheep sort of seem to enjoy it ~ or let ya do it at all! It isn't something that occurs every other week to them ~ like trimming a cats' nails. So... out of curiosity, what do you do with all that amazing wool?

Pottery, Digital Divide + Interesting Videos

Two vases - one from 2019 and one from 1997 Thank you so much everyone for the support of my ceramics. On Thursday, I added 32 new piece...