For Allen and I (and those who traveled out) the day started early with some last minute details. By 7 am the dogs and I were moving the flocks and bringing sheep in. People began arriving by 8 am and shearing was underway right around 9 am; shearing wrapped up around 5 pm.
With six shearers there is a constant flow of fleeces coming off the sheep. Several wonderful people came out to help us which meant we were able to set up for skirting the fleeces although with skirting, packing, and sweeping we barely managed to keep up with the shearing crew. We had three skirting tables and two wool packers running plus a bag stand for tags and belly pieces.
523 fleeces, 17 bags of wool (approximately 3600 pounds), and one TV interview later we were done.
There were a few cameras clicking away, however mine never made it out of the house so I had to borrow photos for this post. The festivities of the day did make the local news that evening though as a local news station arrived mid morning for an interview with the shearing crew and quick chat with me and Allen.
The wool harvest is complete for another year. Andrea, Cathy, Joan, Jared, Jill, Peggy, Judith, Matt, Bill, (and Liezel - I know you really wanted to make it) - we can’t say enough thank you’s. You keep coming back year after year. The crew of shearers - Lorrie, Laverne, Logan, Charles, Bonnie and Reba - gosh what would we do without you.
Overall the fleeces were very nice and decently clean and twenty odd fleeces were saved and taken home. I only kept a couple for myself as my stash is well stocked at the moment. I did keep a Correidale fleece and one of the crossbred ewe fleeces.
The ewes are happy to be back to eating although they would prefer we open the gates and let them back out to pasture. We’re keeping them near home for a week to let the grass take off. After such a nice rain we expect it will show up very soon.
The two photos give an idea of our set up. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them.
The first photo (taken by Lorrie Reed - head shearer) shows the majority the flock, locked up the day before due to rain. There is another smaller group of ewes in the Quonset. We were able to release all the sheep late that evening and for shearing day they remained outside. There is a wide alleyway all the way along the right side of this building (on the outside), and a bugle set up to lead animals around back of the building and through a half door where they find themselves in the single file raceway which travels all the way up to the right side of the shearing floor. The shearing crew will attach their set up to ours and it will run along the right side of that plywood floor.
|Photo by Lorrie Reed|
At the shearing floor is a homemade shearing brace to hang shearing machines. Each cross member slides front to back and side to side so the shearers can adjust them and set up so they have elbow room. Our skirting table is just sheep panels set on barrels, plus Andrea brought a homemade one. The two wool packers are just outside the front door (to the right). Probably the worst thing about this set up is that when the sheep are released they have to travel past all the set up. Some will go out the front door, the majority will return to the back of the building. There are two lady shearers in this crew of six, it's always a treat to see them.
|Photo by Lorrie Reed|