Thursday, May 17, 2012

The best thing about having a laptop that I can tell you all about my weekend adventures while sitting in bed, wearing my pyjamas.

So, weekend adventures.  They are pretty exciting.  Last weekend, for example:

That's my friend Amber (the girl, not the sheep).  Her dad raises sheep and is one of the best sheep shearers in the region.  She grew up shearing sheep during her summer holidays.  She runs a printing shop and shears sheep on the weekends for extra cash.  She let me come along last weekend.  She's cool.

Halloooo, in there. 

This ewe's name is Marianne.  That made me smile.

Facts about sheep shearing that I learned on Saturday:
  1. It's slimy work.  Amber is wearing funny felt slippers while she is shearing and it's because regular rubber-soled shoes are much too slippery after the first sheep is done - the lanolin gets everywhere.  The felt slippers just absorb it and stay grippy.
  2. The fleece is really warm when it comes off the sheep.  Like really really warm.  Her two first sheep of the day were sweaty, she said.  They must feel so cool and comfortable, post-shearing.  Phew.
  3. Sheep don't recognize each other right after they've been sheared.  They smell and look so different that they're all disoriented for a few days and can sometimes fight, thinking that new sheep have been introduced and they need to battle for supremacy all over again.  The wittle itty bitty lambs are so confused - they can't find their mamas for a bit.
  4. Sheep fleece can be unbelievably disgustingly dirty.
  5. Even though the sheep look uncomfortable during shearing, I think they actually like it.  They let Amber manipulate them and hold them down without struggling at all.  She's not a big girl - she's maybe 5'-4" and 140lbs - yet, she had no trouble wrestling them into submission (ok, yes, some of that is just plain old experience, but still).  She figures that a shearing for them is the equivalent of us going to the salon.  And everyone knows how good THAT feels.  Bliss.
  6. There's a reason they dock the tails on sheep.  Long tails are really gross and full of poop.  Apparently not the easiest to shear, as you can imagine.
The owners of the sheep offered me the fleeces, but these sheep aren't bred for their fleece - they're meat sheep.  So I don't think the wool would have been very soft.  Also, I have no spinning wheel, nor do I have the ability to clean all that fleece.  And holy cow, the cleaning they would need...  No way.   That's ok - I will do more research and maybe see if Amber will let me assist in shearings happening in my neck of the woods.  It was really fun and so different from how I usually spend a Saturday morning.


  1. Not recognizing each other is so interesting! Thanks for the fab facts & photos! I love sheepy info.

  2. They are some immaculately shorn sheep... Our sheep always came out covered in blood.

    Also, I don't know how many sheep you shear, but you might look at getting some waist support, like a spring loaded harness. It will take it's toll on your back eventually...

    1. Thanks Oliver, that is a huge compliment to me :) I have seen the harnesses before but I always figure that I will get one when I get older... my Dad is 53 this year and is still going strong on his own, he doesn't shear as many as he used to either tho!

  3. Hah - learned something new today. Interesting post! :)