Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full

Behold, today's haul! From front to back are the fleeces of Braveheart, Brava, and Bella. I decided to wait on shearing the three hopefully-bred ewes, since they only have six months' growth and I like longer fiber to work with.

I'm always interested to see what my Shetlands REALLY look like under all that wool. Just in case I'm not the only one who is curious, I try to get before and after photos. The sheep are not always in the most attractive poses, but I don't want to tax my farrier/shearer's patience by being picky. Here's Braveheart, before and after:He is still a little guy (after shearing I put a size C Rocky Sheep Suit on him!), which for my management purposes and breeding goals is just fine. However, it will almost certainly put him at a disadvantage in the show ring, so I'll have to think about whether to enter him at the Black Sheep Gathering in June.

A fascinating discovery when all Braveheart's fine, crimpy fleece was removed: a lovely corrugated pattern! I read on one of the Shetland lists that this corrugated pattern often corresponds with a finer fiber, so I was tickled to see it on one of my sheep for the first time.
Next on the shearing mat was Bella - after I caught her a second time!Isn't she magnificent? Wild sheep definitely make the best photography subjects, standing at a distance with head up and on guard. My other sheep are usually walking towards me or gathered around me, and while that warms my heart, it makes it much harder to get good pictures of them. Without fleece and after being manhandled, she looks much more demure:
Last in line was my Brava girl.She was lighter at the skin than I thought she'd be, but shows some interesting dark spotting at both flanks. Her fine, crimpy fleece is very dense, and she is even more heavily corrugated than Braveheart. The shearer commented that she has a lot more wrinkles than the others; interesting.I MUST find time to work with her wonderful fleece!

That's it for now at . . .


Sharon said...

We're getting sheared this Sunday. I'm always surprised at different the boys behave before and after the shave.

Lauren said...

The fleece looks great! With the exception of Leroy, all the sheep we got from Beryl have kept nice soft fleece (I think Leroy kept his huevos too long). Did you breed Bella and Brava? Bella looks a little "with ewe."

I guess I need to call Papa Ernie to come shear the bunch of them but I've barely touched last fall's bounty!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Lauren, I doubt Leroy's huevos coarsened his fleece, because I've seen a ram fleece take top honors at a fleece show. It's probably just him.

Ha! Bella is just FAT. (The sheep I got from Beryl are the only ones that aren't....)

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I love neked sheep :)

A :-) said...

Wow! That's a LOT of fleece :-D You are going to be doing a LOT of spinning. I love the darker fleece (was that Bella's?). You have your work cut out for you!

Garrett808 said...

Holy Moly do they look different without the fleece on! You are right the gray ewe certainly loses her 'presence' with that wool gone!

I've decided to go ahead and shear the lot of them sooner than later, regardless of the lack of fleece on some. If I'm going to have any luck showing them this year, I'm going to have to have SOME length of fleece on the single coated girls to have a chance in the ring against the double coated ones whose fleeces will be twice as long!

I LOVE the before and after photos. It is sad that the Ag and Musket fleeces are only 'two toned' the first year and are much lighter after that. Gives them a totally different look don't you think?

Kathy said...

That's great, Michelle! Mine are due - I just have to find a shearer somewhere.

Glad to see you made a decision about wether or not to shear your "trade" sheep - I hope that works out for you still!

shepherdchik said...

Fresh fleeces...I'm so jealous!