Liz Willis started shearing sheep when she was 12. Her neighbor, our shearer, Jim McRae said she asked him if he would teach her. He sent her to some classes then she worked with him on the weekends and during the summer for almost 20 years.
Now Jim is retired and Liz has taken over the business.
Liz has 40 of her own sheep on her farm in Vermont and sells their award-winning wool.
It was such a pleasure watching Liz work this morning as she sheared our sheep. She has a natural calm and ease around the sheep and they react to it. Even Rosemary and Liam, who usually give the shearers a hard time quickly fell into the stupor that overcomes them when put on their back.
Usually there’s a lot of chasing the sheep around to try to catch them. But Liz simply walked over to them where they were huddled in the corner of the barn and gently, but strongly lifted the head of a sheep, grabbed a tuft of wool and with seeming ease, walked the sheep over the shearing board.
Izzy was the only sheep I helped Liz move by getting behind Izzy and pushing her butt while Liz pulled and guided her forward. But even she quickly succumbed once Liz rolled her on her back.
When I think of Liz shearing the sheep, four words come to mind. Experience, confidence, calm and strength.
She’ll be at the Bedlam Farm Open House in October, so if you’ll be there, you can see her at work in person.