Sheep thrills

To avoid copyright entanglements I want to quickly point out that the image on the left is owned by the Hallmark Greeting Card Company and it may be purchased as a greeting card at Hallmark’s website. Joanna received this card several months ago and I thought it would be appropriate to it include here. Its sentiment reads, Hope your birthday is filled with sheep thrills. We were very busy last week with shearing and managed to work the entire flock, finishing with the rams over the weekend. Joanna leaves the boys for last because their many delicate bits make the work especially difficult and slow. Although the card shows sheep enjoying moments of excitement and pleasure I’m not sure that our animals experience the same at shearing. Lambs are uneasy about the entire process and it interests me that older animals clearly remember the event and are much easier to handle on the stand, some even relax in eager anticipation of having their winter coats removed. I very much empathize with all of this. Joanna has cut my hair for more than three decades and even after all this time I still worry about my ears. If you are interested in reading about sheep fleeces and their characteristics you can check out an older post.

10 thoughts on “Sheep thrills

  1. Looks like a lot of focused work to get it right. I bet she’s developed a feel for it after all the practice she’s had. A lot of work for a lot of fleece! Seems like a fair exchange!

    • Yup … it’s really easy to make a mess out of it. She’s really good (better than many who call themselves ‘professional’). You’re right, there is very much a ‘feel’ to it. I bet should could do it with her eyes closed if she had to … lots of sixth-sense stuff going on. I’ll tell her you think she looks like she knows what she’s doing. D

  2. The poor sheep look so skinny and pitiful after it’s over. You really need to treat them to ice cream after you’re done.
    And wasn’t that a band-aid by your ears in one of the pictures you posted? :>)

  3. Thanks, very interesting! I have also read Fleece 101 and like your scientific approach of classification (wavelength, frequency, fiber diameter). Having no experience with sheep breeding I need to ask basic questions. Do you sell fleece or do you need to process it before? Is there a governmental agency that is going to check the compliance of fleece with such criteria and give you a certificate saying “Pairodox fleece is class 42”?

    • Hey Elke. Yes, we do sell a very few ‘raw’ fleeces each year go to spinners and weavers. Joanna processes the fleeces that she uses for her own work herself. Every so often she’ll send a fleece out to be professionally processed – expensive but much less work. She does all her own spinning however. There is no agency that checks on the fleeces … but we do participate in a program which monitors our flock for the presence of scrapie … a neurologic disorder of sheep related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (= Mad Cow). Our farm has been in the program for quite a while and we are fully certified as scapie-free. Scrapie has been linked to Creutzfeld-Jakob disease which is the equivalent of Made Cow as it presents in humans. Thanks for the questions. D

  4. Super! Congrats on finishing the spring shearing and love the side-by-side card/photo. Sunny shearing, no wind? It looks like Joanna knows what she’s doing, alright. And that her subject has complete faith in her handling. Hope you’re pleased with your fleeces and can enjoy six months off, now!

    • Hey, thanks for touching base. Yes – we’re happy to be done! We only shear once a year. We’ve wondered why you go through the process twice … kind of cuts back on your staple length doesn’t it? What’s up with lambing? D

  5. I remember sheep shearing day from childhood. Even with a shearer was hired in, it was a day of hard work. And a shower any other day of the year never felt as good as it did that day.

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