Shades of Ireland

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A New Approach...... sort of.....

If you own sheep, there is no escaping the fact that eventually, they will have to be sheared. Even if you accidentally end up with a small flock of woolly misfits, when it begins to get hot, they have to have relief.
I am sure that I could hire some hardy soul who does it professionally but ......he would probably want to be paid for the job and usually shearing 15-20 just isn't worth the hassle to a professional.

I have sheared sheep in years past and I even managed to get the wool off of Catherine and Elizabeth last summer. The sad truth is that they actually looked worse after the shearing job than before. They were cooler but looked as if they had tangled with a mountain lion.

I am an old pro at clipping goats for show and have even slicked off a few milk cows for the show ring. I have also totally humiliated a long haired dog or two and mangled up a llama pretty badly.

A friend loaned me her sheep clippers and I decided to learn how to do this so that the wool might possibly be used by other friends who are spinners and weavers. YouTube is your friend. My newest hero is a gentleman in England named Phill Hart. He has done a wonderful series of shearing videos that explain things just beautifully and makes it all look very logical and simple.

So after spending several evenings watching this and other how-to videos---- I was ready!

Today was the day and Catherine was chosen as my first victim. I thought that it might be best to have a "before" picture as well as an "after" picture......

This does not do her justice. Catherine is HUGE and I chose her to be first because she is carrying a fleece that is at least 5-6 inches deep when I stick my fingers in to try to find sheep flesh.

Seth reluctantly agreed to go with me for back up and act as photographer.

We caught her up and dragged her into where the cows are milked. I had swept it out so that it was nice and clean in hopes of keeping trash out of the wool...... very funny now that I look back on it!

Much to Catherine's surprise--and mine-- I flipped her over on her rump and held her head up to my chest and started clipping her belly. Seth was even slightly dumbfounded by this finesse move and very tactfully asked me if it wouldn't just be easier to put her up on the goat milking stand...... I puffed slightly as I explained that I couldn't get the wool off in one big piece if I did it that way..... not professional looking, you know.....

Not very flattering to either one of us...... but- it is what it is!!

I lost my photographer about five minutes after this as I was shearing up her left rump and side. By this time, I was really gasping for oxygen and needed Seth to help hold her front end......

We managed to get her twisted, turned and rolled around enough to get the wool off sort of in a big blob-ish sheet......

I rather creatively got it folded and rolled up and stuffed in a box.....

I had great plans of surprising one of my friends in Georgia with a box of wool in the mail....She is a spinner and knitter but...... on reflection of the last llama wool fiasco that I mailed to her, I decided maybe not......

When it was all said and done----

Catherine looked like this.....

And I looked like this!!

Seth rather casually commented, "We are only doing one today---- right?"

Only one today but about 19 more inthe very near future!


  1. Wow...that looks exhausting! But she DOES look a little cooler :)

  2. Whew, that looks like a workout! Speaking of, you look great!

  3. Thank you, Joie! I will turn the big 5-0 this summer and I have been working on being a more fit fifty.... LOL!!