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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sheep fleece can be unbelievably disgustingly dirty.
- 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.
- 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.