Shearing


Aaron & Tom shear lambs on the third day of shearing 

For a week, Dominique and I had been getting the barn and sheep ready for  shearing,  but Wednesday into Thursday it snowed over 2 feet.  The sheep were outside in the storm; Friday night we put all 205 ewes into the barn to dry off, feeding them inside with more snow forecast. But come Monday they were still too wet to shear—what to do—fortunately, the weatherman got it wrong: it had not snowed over the weekend; it had been partly sunny and  windy.

Because of the wind, the rams, who were outside, were drier than the ewes inside.  We could shear them if we skirted off the damp parts of their fleeces; but the rams were in the lower yards,a 1/4 mile away.  Sheep do not move well in snow deeper than their legs are long.  With Poem we slowly trailed them up to the shearing barn in ruts I'd made in the snow with the tractor. 

When I told Aaron that he'd have to begin with the rams, he good-naturedly groaned.  Shearers don't like shearing rams, especially to start, as they are big (usually outweighing the shearer) and  are sometimes uncooperative.  Getting a late start due to the sheep shuffle, Aaron sheared 49 big rams on day 1 and 120 ewes, who were now dry, on day 2.  Tom came in from Towanda on day 3 to help him finish the ewes and to shear the remaining 145 lambs.

The usual & good roustabouts were there: Chris & Dominique skirted the fleeces; this year Ryan and Jeremy, a stout young lad from the nearby Bruderhof community, manhandled the sheep to the shearers and kept the shearing boards clean. 

We sheared 398 sheep on March 1, 2 & 3.  Shearing is a team effort; this was a job well done, thanks to all.