Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sheep Shearing 2017

It's been busy around the farm. We spent the past couple days shearing the sheep. We didn't exactly shear them - three blade shearers did. Our part was to get the sheep all ready and assist. It took The Farmer about a week (yes an entire week) to gather the sheep to the central location from the various grazing pastures they have been in since May. Once they were all in our wintering over location, the sheep were gathered into the greenhouse barn. They were sorted - we don't shear the lambs - only the ewes and rams. 

Kevin Ford has sheared our sheep for almost 30 years. Isn't that amazing? Kevin is a blade shearer and has been in many international sheep shearing competitions. Besides that he is a super nice man. This year he brought two friends with him. Jeff Burchstead came from Maine. Doug Rathke came from Minnesota. Both Doug and Jeff wanted to spend time with Kevin practicing their blade shearing techniques. Normally they shear with electric shears. 

Here they are after finishing up. From left to right - Jeff, Doug, and Kevin

It was a busy couple days. We had help from our friend Terri Kerner and a new farm helper Andrea. Sorry that I don't have more photos of them. The Farmer, Terri and Andrea caught sheep to pass off to the shearers. Terri, Andrea and I picked up wool, skirted it, bagged it and cleaned up the plywood for the shearers. 

In the past we have sheared in the summer. This year we switched it up so that the sheep have less wool on them at lambing time in January. The blade shearers leave a bit of wool on the animals so that they can stay warm. It grows back remarkably fast. 

I am really glad it is over for another year. The ewes and rams look in good condition going into the winter - well-fed and happy. 

Enjoy the photos. I'm sorry I won't have a lot of time to field questions - I am getting ready for our Open House and my family arrives for Thanksgiving next week. Busy time of year for all! 

Ewes waiting to be shorn

Jeff shearing a ram

Doug with a ewe patiently waiting

Kevin Ford - the pro

Kevin's toolbox

Jeff with The Farmer and Terri in the background

The line-up of 3 blade shearers - Jeff, Doug and Kevin

The Farmer watching

On top of ye olde manure pile

After their haircuts - happy to be lighter and picking around for grass


Anonymous said...

This has brought so many memories flooding back. Many a year ago Kevin Ford sheared our sheep in Wilbraham, Ma. It seems to me he must have been extraordinarily young. I know we were. Greeting from the Bressems and Mary Ellen Maclean

Laura T said...

I always look forward to your posts about shearing the sheep. I was wondering why you were doing it now but you answered my question! Thanks for posting and taking pictures. It’s always so interesting:-)

Auntie Shan said...

I think there's a cold front headed your way over the weekend..? Hope the Shornettes don't get too chilly! Meanwhile, my next and BIG craft show is on Saturday and we're expecting SNOW! - "mood"-wise, sounds good. Ought to help with those Toque and Blanket sales..? However, "Logistically", likely a nightmare! Packing the car up in a snowstorm is a pain! *really* hoping it doesn't all "start" until the evening AFTER I get home!
You have my deepest admiration in keeping up with YOUR "schedule"!
Stay warm!

Anonymous said...

So glad to see Jeff using his blade shearing skills. Nice that he was able to get out your way! He and his family are great folks :*)

Book Review - Henry Wilson's Floral Patterns Of India

This past January when we were starved for color here in western Massachusetts, I discovered the book Floral Patterns Of India via the Qui...