Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sheep shearing day...

The sheep come through the alley from inside the barn and walk up the ramp and into the shearing trailer where four strong, high-endurance men sheared each ewe.  We were so lucky to get a perfect day for shearing.  It was about 60 degrees and sunny which is very unusual for us for an end-of-January-day.

 The shorn wool goes out the right side of the trailer to the skirters who take off all the dirty parts and bag them separately from the good fleece, and the shorn ewes go out the left side of the trailer through a trap door that leads them out to pasture.  The sheep look very pinky-white and are so clean.

 Here the skirters throw fleeces onto a rotating table where they take off all the dirty pieces.  Then the fleece is folded up and put into this sacker contraption that pushes all the wool into sacks that will be taken to town and sold at the local wool warehouse.  We had five sacks of fleeces and two sacks of what are called "bellies" which are the underparts and the short bits of wool.  Generally, the skirters can get about 50 fleeces into each sack, depending on the weight of each.  In the past, we've had fleeces that weighed approximately 10 pounds each.

 This ewe has a black speckled nose and black speckled eyes and ear tips.  She's pretty, isn't she?

Fresh-shorn sheep grazing .  You may not believe it, but there is actually a little green grass coming up amidst that old, brown grass.  Sheep have perfect mouths for getting at that low-growing grass.

After the shearing, everyone came up to our house for a late lunch.  I think we served about 14-15 people today.  It seemed all my mom and I did was wash and dry dishes.  We had beef brisket sandwiches with homemade barbeque sauce, coleslaw, fresh fruit salad, oven roasted potatoes and chips.  There was warm coconut-oatmeal cake and ice cream for dessert.

Tally:  258 ewes sheared
             14 bucks sheared


  1. Nooooo! The Sheepies lost their winter coats!!! I've always wanted you to wait until April!!! ;-D It sounds like a perfect, productive day on the ranch -- I hope today is a rest day!

  2. A very productive day - the group effort and teamwork are wonderful to see, and yes, the liberated sheep are so fresh-looking! Wish I could have been there to wash dishes with you ;-)

  3. I was telling my husband this morning about your sheep shearing. We have a large Basque community here so there are huge flocks of sheep out around town right now.
    I was telling him about shearing our sheep when I was a girl. Now I would give anything to have that wool. Megan spins and I love watching her spin. We did it in April though. I find it interesting that you do it this time of year. I think it sounds like a wonderful day. I loved looking at all of the photos.

  4. Wow! That's a whole lot of work. It's great to have so many hands to help. That lunch sounds delicious!

  5. I wish we could hear the sound with this, but I always enjoying the pictures of your sheepies getting sheared and am glad it warmed up for everyone's sake. Mmmm...you need to share your BBQ sauce recipe. It is one of my latest food jags. Yum.

  6. Wow - what a day! That meal sounds so VERY good -- I love brisket sandwiches with cole slaw. Yummy :) I love to see your ranch-work posts each year. I'm so, so glad it was a warm day for the ewes. I hate to think of them shivering in the cold! Does your wool get turned into blankets, do you know? My brother used to do that with his sheeps' wool, and I have two of his blankets still.

  7. You are having the same beautiful weather we are, only warmer. We have been sunny and in the high forties. Very lovely for January. I am grateful for the sunshine whenever it appear. I bet the sheared sheep appreciated the warmer weather. :-)

  8. Aw! They look so cute! Naked, but still sweet-faced!

  9. Wow - what a busy day. I bet those workers were hungry! And I don't imagine that you had many leftovers!! Your weather doesn't look very wintery. Ours, on the other hand, does! 4th storm in 8 days coming tomorrow!!

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