On Wednesday, The Farmer moved the sheep closer to home. They are now grazing the hayfield right next to our little barn - all in preparation for shearing. I was able to get these two Instagram photos after the sun was gone - hence the grainy photos. They look so fluffy and peaceful, don't they? You can follow me on Instagram by clicking here (I think). My name on Instagram is kristinnicholas if that link doesn't work.
Last Thursday, Kevin Ford and Gwen Hinman arrived to shear the rest of the ewe flock. It was a very busy day. Two shearers means twice as fast wool sorting and bagging. The day went well and at the end, they had sheared 158 ewes.
Kevin uses old-fashioned blade shears. Gwen uses an electric shearing machine. The result is the same but Gwen usually shears 1/3 more sheep than Kevin. They charge by the animal so Gwen's check is always bigger.
If you know Kevin, the money isn't why he shears. He is one with the animals, the wool, the people he shears for. We always have such interesting conversations on shearing day - especially while we are breaking for lunch.
When you take the wool off the ewes, it is easier to see their condition. Amazingly, most of them were in good shape, if a little fat. Considering the way the fields look that they have been grazing, that was good news. (To me, it just looks like piles of weeds!) They must be getting the right nutrition from the plants.
It is breeding season so it was good to see the ewes in such fine form. After several years of assorted locations for shearing, we have finally found the right place - just next to our little barn which houses the lamb stand. We had some gravel put down to level the space and we shear inside the mobile sheep handling unit. It stays nice and cool under the trees even on wickedly hot days.
At the end of the day, Kevin did us a huge favor and sheared Winston. Winston had major mats on his tail, neck and back but it's not like we can take him to the groomer. I was afraid he wouldn't let Kevin clip him. I held him down (he loves me) and Kevin worked away.
Quite a pile of dog hair was left. Winston looks a lot younger and puppy-like now. What a beautiful boy. Kevin wouldn't take any money for cutting the dog - only the leftover half of the peach and blueberry crisp I made for dessert. Thank you Kevin!