Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Two more done; two to go

Sunday I got Bittersweet and Bree sheared. Both were tough for different reasons. Bittersweet is a big, stubborn sheep (with a big, luscious fleece); Bree is a small, worried, first-time mother (with a very fine, crimpy fleece held VERY tightly to the front half of her body). Due to all the variables each sheep presents, I have to change or adapt my method of scissor-shearing. Bittersweet got the rump-first treatment; Bree kept trying to step off the stand so I couldn't safely photograph her during shearing and was too tired and frustrated afterwards to take anything but a "fresh coat" photo. I was able to roo her belly and backside, which was very helpful; those are difficult areas to shear on a restless sheep.

Sheep must be very visual; all freshly shorn individuals get harassed as "newcomers." Bittersweet was chased around the lot, bashed by Bing and mounted by Blake; Bree was bashed by Blaise and ignored by her hungry, crying twins no matter how loudly she called to them. I had to walk about from both scenarios, because it is distressing to watch/hear. Eventually they get it sorted out....

I intended to get Vienna and Nightcap sheared yesterday after playing in the morning, but that didn't happen. Partly because I was tired (too little sleep these days), and partly because Rick needed me to be available to man a gate. The horses were out and he was hauling composted manure up to the garden; hurray! He couldn't get the tiller to function properly to work it in, but it's looking more hopeful that we will indeed have a garden this year, albeit with a late start!
That's a happy horse and a whole lotta grass!
He also got the foxtail knocked down in the middle pasture, so I let the pent-up ewes and lambs out to eat and play.

Sarai shows her lambs where the green and tender grass grows
Unfortunately, they still picked up foxtail awns, particularly the lambs. Not only are the lambs shorter, they stayed busy crawling back and forth under the fencing to play and explore. I probably spent an hour going over Brigitte, Bernadette, and Bette this morning trying to find and remove them all. They, of course, LOVED the intensive "magic fingers treatment," but I don't have time to do that to seven lambs every day!

Like yesterday, today dawned cloudy and cool, a welcome break from sun and heat. There is even a bit of mist in the air, not enough to wet the ground but maybe it will settle the pollens. Lance and I could both use a break in our allergy symptoms.

That's it for now from . . .


Debbie said...

Well done with your sheep shearing. I can only imagine the work involved.

Yeah to the upcoming garden! Everything here is late this year as well. I've bean seeds yet to be planted.

Thanks for sharing your photos.

C-ingspots said...

With each passing year, I'm becoming less heat tolerant and appreciate the mild temps. Aren't you thrilled that the rains have stopped though?!
Love those Iris' - so pretty! My deep purple ones have been gorgeous this year.

Claire Moxon-Waltz said...

Wow, your irises are stunning! I need to shear my 2 sheep as well. I think the fleeces might be a write-off this year. Maybe I should try coating sometime. Mine seem to love being out in the rain, so I always get so much felting happening. :(

Retired Knitter said...

The little sheep shearing I have seen (not in person but on videos) makes it look easy. But as with most stuff, experience and skill make all the difference. I am quite sure it isn't an easy job - especially if you have a sheep with objections!! :-) Do the 'pros' who do this - is that all they do?

Michelle said...

Hoping to get the rest of the garden planted today, Debbie. So far, we have seven tomato plants in the ground.....

I appreciate regular applications of heavenly irrigation, Lorie. A good, soaking rain once a week would be great, wouldn't it?

Claire, I think one of my fleeces felted some this year, a first for me. I don't know if the coats affect felting one way or the other, but they sure keep a lot of the VM out!

Most shearers make their living at it, yes, RK. Mine makes his living as a farrier but does a few small flocks including his wife's. I don't do it the "real" way, rolling the animal around on the ground between my legs; I don't have the equipment or the technique. But I don't end up with nicks and second cuts, either!