Liam stopped grazing to watch the Amish wagon go by this afternoon. It was louder than most, with two draft horses pulling a wagon full of wood. I thought it a sign of Liam looking after the rest of the sheep.
Robin was hanging out with the donkeys this morning. I’m not sure what that’s about, maybe he’s trying to figure out where he fits in.
Fanny and Lulu didn’t seem to mind when he stood between them at the gate. It could be he’s beginning to wonder why they get treats in the morning and he doesn’t.
The past few days he’s been grazing with Merricat and not hanging around Lori so much. I think that works for her. She definitely tired of nursing him. More and more he’s doing things without her.
Today, for the first time Robin was out in the pasture while Lori already went back to the barn. Just last week I watched as Lori called to Robin from the barn and he came running in from the pasture while the rest of the sheep continued to graze. She wouldn’t leave him out by himself.
This evening, Robin was out grazing with Merricat, Asher and the donkeys. He reluctantly ran back to the barn when everyone else did. Lori didn’t seem to mind.
I’ve always put up short videos of the sheep being sheared. A couple of the videos I posted of Liz shearing the sheep got tens of thousands of views all over the world on YouTube. Many of the people who saw them thought the sheep were being hurt ofrthat it was cruel to shear them.
Of course, it’s actually cruel not to shear sheep. If they are not shorn, their wool continues to grow and mat on them eventually making it difficult if not impossible to move.
There is nothing cruel about shearing sheep. Once on their back, sheep go dormant and the shearing is like getting a haircut.
This video is three and half minutes long. It shows the process of clipping the wool and the wool falling off. In the end, Suzy gets up and walks away. Then you can see the rest of the sheep checking her out.
When a sheep is first shorn, the other sheep often don’t recognize her, so it takes a little while for them to figure it all out.
In the past I always collected the wool from the sheep as they were being shorn. But Ian prefers to wait till all the wool is off the sheep before I grab it. It took a few sheep being shorn to drop my old way of doing things and be patient enough to do it Ian’s way.
I finally got it, but not yet in this video.
I’ve never had a sheep as curious as Asher. He couldn’t get enough of Ian’s tools, checking them all out. Maybe he was looking for Liz who usually shears the sheep or her mother who bottle fed Asher and Issachar when they were lambs, before they came to Bedlam Farm.
The other sheep seemed to know what was coming and kept their distance.
Liam was the first to be shorn. I told Ian that if he could catch Liam so easily, he’d have no problem with the rest of the sheep.
Ian did a great job. He’s just starting out after working beside his grandfather Jim McCrea, who also used to shear our sheep. Both Liz and Ian apprenticed with him starting when they were just kids. Ian had been to the farm during one of our Open Houses. He said he was 16 at the time and just assisted his grandfather.
And now he’s building his own business, figuring out how to make a living as a shearer, taking odd farm jobs on the side. After shearing our sheep he was going to cut down the poisonous Wild Parsnip growing on a nearby farm. (They were supplying him with a protective coverall.)
I have a feeling Ian’s going to do really well. He was great with the sheep and has a true enthusiasm, dedication, and love of the work. Ian told me the most sheep he sheared by himself was 70 in one day. “Those are the jobs I like best, he said, because I really earn my keep.”
Even only shearing nine of our twelve sheep, Ian more than earned what he charges.
I have a feeling that Liz is going to be too busy with her own farm and work to continue shearing and Ian will be our shearer from now on. But I did promise that I’d contact Liz about it first. He doesn’t want to be taking her work from her.
Ian’s young and just starting out. He said he plans on shearing sheep for the next ten years at least. It feels good to know he’ll be there.
And I’m happy to get the word out for him to help his business grow. He’s based near Rutland Vermont and is willing to travel, so if you have some sheep that need shearing and need someone to do it, you can give Ian McCrea a call at (802) 558-5943.
The lilacs and apple trees are blooming and the sheep and donkeys are loving the spring grass. Tomorrow morning Ian will come to shear the sheep. It’s getting warm, so I think they’ll all appreciate getting rid of their winter coats.
Ian, the shearer who is filling in for Liz is coming on Friday morning at 8:30 am to shear the sheep. I was relieved when he got back to me so quickly and said he would be here so soon.
I’ve been looking at Merricat and Constance’s wool and I think it may be long enough to shear. It won’t be a lot since they’re still small, but I’d love to have some white Romney wool to mix with Liam’s wool. Then I could leave some white and dye some. And Constances’ black wool will be lovely just as it is.
I’m going to use Kim’s wool to make dryer balls. I still have time to figure it all out. But it’s always fun to think about how I’ll use all the wool.
I’ll get this wool back as yarn and roving in the fall. I already have a list of people who want dryer balls and yarn.
Well, I did it. I ordered 100 Robin Magnets from Sticker Mule. They’re scheduled to come on May 17th, but I have a feeling they may get here sooner as often happens.
They’re about 3 1/2″ x 4″ and like my other magnets, they’ll be $6 + $1 shipping for one or more. I’ll be putting them up for sale in my Etsy Shop but you can also email me about them. I take checks, PayPal and Venmo. I’ll be happy to take preorders too. You can email me here.
Robin, like the chicks, is getting bigger every day. Today he was hanging out under the hay feeder with Merricat. He’s good and plump from all that spring grass.