Twice a year Jim McRae comes to shear the sheep. Last year he came at the June Open House, but I found it’s better to have the wool shorn six months apart, in April and October.
There was a little drizzle, but it was warm out and it took Jim and Tom about an hour and a half to shear all ten of our sheep.
They trim their bellies first and toss the wool aside. This is part of the “junk” wool. Too short and dirty to use. I go from Jim to Tom, picking up the junk wool and putting it in a garbage bag. Then, as the good wool is shaved from their bodies, I stuff that into plastic garbage bags keeping it as clean as possible. Then I write their names on the bags in marker so I know whose wool is whose.
I’ve been watching the sheep being shorn for years, and I still love to see the way the wool falls under the clippers, coming off the sheep like foamy waves.
Zelda got cut during shearing, as sometimes happens. The wound was in a spot that bled a lot, so Jim put a couple of staples in it and the bleeding stopped. After having her feet trimmed, (we always have their hooves trimmed with shearing) she got up and joined the rest of the flock. She looked a mess, but she acted as if nothing happened.
I’ll skirt the wool (which means picking out the large pieces of organic matter, like feces and twigs) in a couple of weeks and then bring it to The Vermont Fiber Mill. In October I’ll get it back as yarn and roving.