Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Looking under the covers

Shetland sheep are in their glory fully fleeced, but it IS nice to get the coats and wool off them once a year to see what they really look like. How are the ewes' "baby bumps" growing? How are the yearlings developing? Are the boys in good condition? Yesterday was the day to find out!

The people who bought two fiber pets from me last year wanted to see what shearing was all about before they take the plunge with their own flock of eight (Beau and Boo were just the beginning!). They were willing to lend a hand, too, so I put them to work cleaning off the worst of the debris before shearing and helping stuff fleece into pre-labeled bags. At my request, my shearer again used goat combs, but he still nicked Dinah's ear for some dramatic blood-letting. Fortunately Rick and his truck were on hand so we got it under control with some blood-stopping agent on gauze. Braveheart was in the rise and didn't shear off nicely this year; I'll have to trim a layer of old fleece off once the new fleece grows a bit. Hopefully his clip isn't too butchered! Both gully girls, Bramble and Bronwen, were "sticky," so we made the decision to hold off on them and not risk ruining those lovely lamb fleeces. Blackberry had rooed everything that is normally skirted off but the main clip was still holding tight. My shearer told me not to look and pulled out the nine-tooth comb; the fleece came off nicely with that. Should have used the nine-tooth on Braveheart! Katie, Brava, and Browning sheared easily, revealing good condition underneath lovely fleeces. It's kind of like getting a beautifully wrapped present; you enjoy the outside and what's inside!

Below are my "quick and dirty" shearing-day photos. Don't look at toes; pedicures are on my list! At least I got Rick to get out the OB wire so we could trim back Blackberry's tight little scurs. (If you hold your cursor over the photos, I think the name of the sheep will show up.)
Rain moved in overnight; almost a day earlier than forecast. That makes for milder nights but cooler days than the clear days with sunshine we've been enjoying; this morning Brava and Katie were shivering in their coats.
That's it for now at . . .

7 comments:

susan said...

Why do you like to use the goat combs?

Sharon said...

I love the fleece but it always makes me feel horrible to see the nekid.

Michelle said...

Susan, the sheep got nicked a LOT when my shearer used regular sheep combs. The goat combs don't have the flaring outer points and the teeth are closer together, which I think works better for our smaller, more angular sheep. But didn't work as well on sheep in the rise! The only sheep he used that wicked-looking nine-tooth on, though, was Blackberry, who only had to be sheared on his smooth sides and back, thanks to some rooing.

Goodwife said...

Sounds like a busy day! Will you spin all the fleece yourself or send it off somewhere? :)

Michelle said...

Goodwife, I WISH I had that kind of spinning time! But as a homeschooling mom, I'm afraid I don't. Two of those fleeces are already reserved, and I'm thinking of entering two others in a show, where they will also be for sale. Two I am planning on having processed into roving to sell. I would like to spin some of that roving (Katie's), since she is new here, but I also having roving left from previous years to play with (and some to sell)!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I love a nekid sheep :)

Kathy said...

WooHoo! I agree with Becky - neked sheeps! Well-fed neked sheeps. You can see everyone is in good shape at Boulderneigh!
:)