Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shearing day report

When Troy arrived Thursday afternoon, everyone lined up in their full-fleeced glory to see what was going on. Little did they know....
Valentine was first on the chopping block.What contortions they must endure!
And when she was done, my lovely latte-colored sheep turned out to be, well, more milk than coffee! (What color IS she now?)
Next came Bella, who, for all her sheep-kite behavior, was the most subdued during shearing.Not a very flattering picture, but it shows that under that very fluffy hoggett fleece is a pudgy little girl! She definitely wins the "Alien Award," for most unrecognizable sheep after shearing.
Third to go was Dinah.She, too, looked substantial under her fleece!
Last to be sheared was my single-coated Rechel. This girl has lovely, crimpy fleece; I'm anxious to see how it will do at the show and sale.Another well-fed Shetland!
All were finished within an hour. That is the upside of having a professional do it. The downside is the stress of watching someone manhandle my "babies," and the sharpness of a professional's tools. Yes, he drew blood on two of them. :-( Brian always gets distressed at the sight of blood (especially his own), and when he noticed the slice on Dinah he said, "Uh oh! Uh oh!" Then, "You're not a very good shearer, because you did that." (Tact is not a skill of the young!) But the girls are done, everyone is okay, and four bags of fleece are awaiting my ministrations so I can send them off to the Shepherds Extravaganza, an April show and sale in Washington.

After shearing, each girl got a new Rocky Sheep Suit to keep this year's fleece clean. (I didn't get photos, because I didn't want to wear Troy's patience too thin. He was already holding them for "after" shots, and helping me dress them.) In spite of measuring and remeasuring, I was off in my sizing. I had ordered four size C coats thinking they would fit all the girls now (with Bella's being too big), and four size D coats thinking they would fit the girls in full fleece. Well, Bella is wearing a size C without too much extra room, and the other three girls are in size D coats -- Dinah and Rechel just barely! Fortunately, another Shetland shepherd is happy to take the three too-small coats off my hands; now I have to turn around and order three bigger coats. Sure hope my fleeces sell to help pay for the coats! (Well, all except Valentine's. I'm going to price hers high, so maybe I'll get to play with it. The color variations in that fleece are SO lovely, and next year it will probably be nearly white.)

Shearing surprises: Valentine struggled, and Bella was compliant. Valentine's color. The plumpness of Bella, Dinah and Rechel. The lack of plumpness of Valentine, my only bred Shetland. That one has me wondering if I'll get any lambs at all this year. But it's still early; she has two more months before she's due....

That's it for now at . . .


Lauren said...

Your girls sure are lovely, and, as I have said before, look so clean compared to my rag-tag bunch. Is there a way to tell if the one is pregnant other than watching her belly? You'd think hubby vet man would know a way to tell! And you have caught him out there loving the girls when he thought you weren't looking so you know he cares about them and would want to know.

Kathy said...

Val won't start "popping out" until about 6 weeks from her due date....the lambs will really grow that last four weeks.
We were surprised to find that Amanda will lamb before Lacey from the looks of her bag. :)
Isn't it amazing how they are a different color than what they appeared to be? Ailee is very grey compared to the mocha tips hse had from being a lamb.
And as soon as the weather turns warm enough, Skit's getting a bath as he has dry skin. I'll bet he'll like the attention. :)

Tina T-P said...

Valentine looks like she's got a little tummy on her - I agree with Kat - give her another week or two-Nice pictures of the shearing - all I seemed to get was Marsha's behind LOL - & don't the girls all look tiny and skinny compared to before - ours always have a re-establishment of hierarchy too - Poor little Pearl, she ended up on the bottom - Anyhow, great job - now the hard part, the skirting begins... :-) T.