Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shearing (or bare naked sheep)...

 Here's one of the girls fully fleeced and fluffy.
  Look at that long staple.

 Going up the chute and into the shearing trailer.

 This is Kerry.
He's originally from New Zealand
but has been living in Wyoming for a lot of years. 
He's 72 and still shearing sheep like a young man!

 He's got style.

 A lovely thick fleece, all in one piece,
and no nicks or cuts on the sheep is the goal.

 The skirters throw the fleeces over a rotating table and pick off the "bellies" which are the undesirable pieces from the underside of the sheep.  The belly wool is sorted away from the best wool and goes into its own bag since it would take away from the over-all wool quality and price.

 Out they go through the side chute, all bare and white.

 We had a beautiful day for shearing -- 54 degrees F and no wind.  We had a big crew today of 12 men and one woman (who helped skirt wool).  Normally we don't have a shearing crew this size, but since there is a Sheep Shearing Championship at our local stock show, these guys hooked up with our local shearers to get some more practice under their belts just before the big competition.  They really did a beautiful job of shearing for us this year, and the best part is that they are such a great bunch of men to boot!

Outstanding in their field!

The crew sheared 295 head, counting bucks double because they are twice the size of the ewes.  They got the job done in short order from 7:30 a.m. till 11:30.  We made seven full bales of wool and one bale of belly wool.  This will go to the local wool warehouse to be sold on Monday.  One of the ladies who works in the wool house told me that our wool is on special request by a woman in Nebraska who spins her own wool into yarn and things.  I'd like to meet her one day and see what she's making with our sheep's wool. 

21 comments:

  1. I went to a sheep-shearing once and was enraptured. The good shearers certainly do have style -- and fitness, oh my.

    I didn't know about the inferior belly wool. What happens to it? Is it inferior just because it's dirtier?

    Your photos are the best documentary, as ever!

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    Replies
    1. Gretchen Joanna,
      I am always, always enraptured by shearing. I could watch a man shear all day long. Fitness...Kerry has that! I always think of shearing as a young man's job, but he proves me wrong.

      Belly wool is dirtier, yes, and that requires more processing, plus I believe it is courser so it would go into things like rugs and the like.

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  2. How wonderfully timely to have those extra hands around that needed some practice! Hat's off to Kerry!!

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    1. Many hands made light work! Yes, Kerry sheared as many sheep as any of the men there.

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  3. How cool! I love the idea of your wool being the best of the best!
    Now, time for lambing!

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    Replies
    1. Here we go....just a few more days.

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  4. I love watching the shearing. The sheep in our neighborhood at the homestead don't get shorn until later in the spring. Those shearers are amazing (and fast). Such hard work they do. Do you spin? I've always thought I wanted to learn.

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  5. Wohhh that is a lot of wool. I always find it so interesting to see sheep sheared. Well a spinner can always tell what is the best wool!!! Clarice

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  6. I love reading about this, Jody, even though the sheep look so VERY cold!!! Brrr. Still, 54º and no wind -- that's not too bad. Good job! I know you're excited and proud to have all that lovely wool on its way to market.

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    Replies
    1. It's getting cold now. Just 4* tonight. The girls will feel it. Thankfully we have barns to put them in overnight.

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  7. Fascinating post - thank you for sharing.

    The lambing season is coming up in England. I love that we can go to farms and watch them being born - it is so magical - you just want to cheer the mamas on! I think we would love to have a few sheep - I don't know if we'd ever do it, but we are smitten with the idea :)

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    Replies
    1. The nice thing about sheep is that they are fairly easy to handle during lambing time. Much easier than cows. I'm glad you stopped by.

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  8. Wow! This is truly amazing to me. I know so very little about sheep. One of our neighbours are now running some, and everytime I see them out there, I think of y'all (just as I did at midnight last night, when the girl's woke up and I stood at the kitchen window getting drink afterwards and saw that big fat full moon!)

    And as I ramble away, YES!, wouldn't it be something to meet that lady in Nebraska! You should at least try to send her an e-mail. How neat!

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  9. love the sheep(s)...they are always smiling, even if they are bare nekked.

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  10. A very interesting post and so good you had suitable weather, extra hands and a good outcome of a good quantity of quality wool.

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    1. It was a great day for shearing all around.

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  11. We've met Kerry before, haven't we? He is like...famous! :) That would be cool to meet the lady who likes your wool. That would make a very cool blog post. I like seeing it baled up like that. Such a visual! That is a lot of work.

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    Replies
    1. This is the first time we've had Kerry. you're thinking of Chuck!

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  12. Poor sheep. Make me cold just looking at them.
    :)

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