Picking up the Pace - Sheep Shearing Prep

We are adjusting to a busy pace as we prepare for our annual wool harvest which takes place next Friday, the 19th.

The shearing course we were asked to host was cancelled which means our shearing now takes place on one day instead of over three days.
Six shearers are coming and we start early in the morning.

This year there is snow removal and melting runoff to take care of. It is not the first year we have had snow around shearing time, but it is the first year we’ve had enough snow still left from winter that we have to shovel and plow to access gates and open trails up to the shearing shed.

There is tagging cull ewes and recording the tag numbers of my dogging sheep, which we did today. I’m embarrassed to say how many years I opted to spray mark these animals only to have the mark disappear with the fleece when it gets removed, lol. This year the culls got red tags which will make them easy to sort out again later and I wrote down the tag numbers of the ewe lambs I want back for dog training (I didn’t want them wearing permanent red tags).

There is meal planning and baking, and setting up extra tables and finding chairs.

There is phone calls and emails and pleas for help. We need at least half a dozen people to keep up to the crew of shearers and a couple more to work the flock and keep the race full. 

The first wool packer was dropped off last night. The second packer will arrive on Thursday night with the shearing crew. 

The porta potty has been dug out of the Quonset and is waiting to be hauled around the shearing shed.

The shearing shed has been tidied and the start of the race is set up.

There is planning of when to pre-sort the flock and where to stash all the animals the night before. If it rains or snows we’ll need to change plans in a hurry so we can keep everyone dry. We cleaned out the Quonset so we can use it to house animals.

I’ll need to dig out the spare dog runs so I have a place to set guardian dogs for the day.

I’m happy to be getting ready for shearing. Yes, it will be a full day, and there are still items I haven’t figured out how to manage yet. But shearing also marks the start of another year of sheep ranching. It marks the start of a year with sheep on grass (and I can almost smell it); it represents Spring and all the activities that follow in that season.