Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nekked Sheep!

Yesterday was shearing day here at Sheep Thrills Farm! The shearer we found through Katie at Rockin-A-Ranch in Taylor, Arizona, is a gem! A good shearer is worth their weight in gold and Penny was more than we could have ever hoped for.
This is a picture of Penny and her daughter, Emily (aka "Ducky"). If any of you feel you've met Penny before dig out your DVD of Dirty Jobs, Season 1...Penny is the person who taught Mike Rowe to shear alpacas! We had a great day with her and her daughter. She was supposed to spend the night here before moving on to her next job but after a phone call home had to change her plans and head out for her brother's place. She's just started learning to spin. We had an evening of spinning and fibers planned but that will have to wait for her next trip through.
I can't say enough about how professional and gentle to the sheep Penny was. The day went smoothly without major incident. It was long and we were all tired, but most of the fleeces came off smoothly with a minimal of second cuts. (Even though I have a couple of sheep who seem to have a spot of very, very dense fleece on their backs - to Penny's credit she didn't say anything until I mentioned it was tough going. Then we both laughed as she admitted some Shetlands were like that and were indeed a pain in the...)

Amanda: "Pssst! Hey, Everyone! Who IS that person who just walked into the barn with that motor and clippers? I think we may be in trouble here. Maybe we should take it on the lamb..."

Skittles was the first one in. He was all the gentleman we have come to know him to be. Penny thought he was awesome!
Here she's finishing up with The Big Guy. She was so gentle with him. And he was very respectful of her. That impressed me. Skit doesn't mess around with people he doesn't care for. It was very apparent these two had a "thing" for each other. :)
Above is Ole after his first haircut. As I recall, all the wethers were making a raucous about this whole affair. Ole would bleat, then his brother would chime in and get both Shaun and Colin going as well. The rest of the sheep were really quiet, but not those four.
Shaun was next after Sven. What a beautiful fleece Shaun has! It's a deep reddish moorit with just a few shiny silver hairs now and then that added almost a glint of silver to the fleece. This is one fleece I'm keeping for me! In the picture above, that's not white on Shaun. It's the reflection from the flash. Yes, Shaun's fleece was that lustrous!

Colin's turn. You can't see in the photo, but he's gotten way more iset, or frosty, in his fleece this year.
Above is Amanda, freshly shorn and fat with lambs. Penny said she felt at least two, with the possibility of more. we noticed that Amanda is definitely starting to "bag up", an indication of lambing soon. She's scheduled to lamb around the 15th of April - IF she doesn't explode first! She had two huge ram lambs last year. I keep whispering in her ear, "Girls this year, Amanda. Only girls."
And here are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in their pen after the indignation of having their wool removed. And they let us know it all afternoon too. How dare we throw them on their bums and run that vibrating scissors over their bodies! Don't we know how warm that kept them?
As a matter of fact, we do! It's either being shorn, Boys...or being eaten. Which would you rather we do, eh?

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Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Wow, you have all the DARK sheep and I have all the LIGHT sheep! We need to do a swap and mix it up a little! I am so thrilled for you that you found a good shearer. I'm still contemplating doing the three ladies myself. I'm definitely going to crutch them tomorrow so I can keep better tabs on the "business end." By the way, I don't see any snow on the ground THERE. (hee!)

Lauren said...

So does Penny travel around shearing often and does she have a "territory?" I love our shearer but he's getting on in years and it's tough on him physically.

Did you happen to ask her about how long to wait after lambing to shear?

I'd love to have her come here and also I'm tempted to coat everyone finally. Eleven Shetland fleeces full of VM are just too much for me to process and I'm tired fo paying someone else to do it.

BTW, everyone looks great!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Ditto Lauren lol
I was going to ask if Penny travels :)
I would love to have a shearer who cared about what they are doing! The last guy I had charged $9 per sheep and I had to throw all but three fleeces away because of all the second cuts! He almost turned my corrie ram into a eunich, although that was the only skin break we had, it was enough! Hopeing it goes better this year...

MISS PEACH >(^.^) said...

Hello Kathy! Wow Amanda is going to be a mommy! The sheep look so pretty after their hair cut.
It is so wonderful to think that we have so much in common. Yes, we lived in Manhattan Kansas like Michelle did and at the same time too!! Fort Riley was our duty station and I LOVED IT there! In Germany we were stationed in Augsburg which is also my hometown. Stuttgart is just up the road a bit. Do you have fond memories of both places or not:)
I do miss the German food but have found in Texas and they have everything you can possibly imagine to buy there! All ex military brats who run the place too.
Well give Shadow a big hug for me and thanks for letting me make the world a smaller place filled with fun friends like you who have lots in common with us.
Love Miss Peach

Tammy said...

Looks like you have some wonderful fleeces there. Esp. Shaun's! It's nice to have it all over again for the year isn't it??
Take care,

Garrett808 said...

Congats Kathy on a successful shearing!! I'm anxious to have my shearer come out. Last year we had only eight to do, this year 30. Yikes!!

I've had only six lambs so far, all twins and FIVE girls. I hope that ratio stays lol.

Best of luck with your lambing...those sheep are sure DARK! congrats!

Leigh said...

Too cute. Funny how animals can have such opinions. Everyone looks really good though. It's wonderful to have such a jewel for a shearer.

Nancy K. said...

The boys look so Pristine in their new coats! You're lucky to have shearing behind you. My shearer canceled (postponed) at the last minute. It seems his girlfriend had made plans and would be mad at him if he didn't go. GGGrrrrrrr! Now we're "set" for this Friday. I wish I could have YOUR shearer ~ but it looks like I'd have to wait in a
L O N G line. ;-)