Shear madness

Shearing day came and went Thursday and ran fairly smoothly. I was fervently checking the forecast all day Wednesday, as snow was forecast (by some weather sources) but amount and timing was up for debate. In the end, we put all the sheep into a few various sheds and the new fabric topped building so that they stayed dry if the snow did happen to fall.

This turned out to be a wise choice as a small dusting fell Wednesday night and flurries came and went until mid afternoon on Thursday.

This year we skirted all the fleeces, so they were picked up and thrown onto a makeshift skirting table where any manure, areas with a lot of hay matter, and anything else undesirable was pulled out. Then the fleece was folded and rolled and packed in the bag. This should increase the price per pound of our wool. The belly wool and skirtings were packed separately, and are also sold but are of lower value.

The flow: sheep are pulled out of a chute on the left and shorn on the shearing floor. When done, they exit out the door I’m standing in. Fleeces are skirted on the right and then packed into a wool bag using the machine on the far right.

This year I had also sold several fleeces privately, so with the help of a friend who has more experience with using wool than me, we chose some of the best fleeces to set aside. I will go though these fleeces again over the next few weeks to prepare them for shipping across the country. I ended up with about 10 extra as well, so I will have to find another outlet for these.

Some of the individual fleeces.

One of the loveliest fleeces of the day.

Marketing wool is a new venture for me, and I am excited to see where this side of the farm will take me.

Hustle and Bustle

Winter has slipped away and spring has arrived (if by date and not necessarily weather). With the arrival of spring comes all the jobs that go along with it. The last week or so has been spent readying the new fabric topped building for shearing. Today I will be sorting the sheep into black and white coloured fleece so that we can keep the wool separate when it is packed and sold. The forecast is for a chance of snow, so we will try to get as many sheep as we can under cover to make sure they are dry; wet sheep are hard to shear and the fleece cannot be packed wet.

I’ll also be making sure all the animals have sufficient feed to last through tomorrow, with a full day of shearing there is little time to feed other than what is necessary.

Our first calf arrived yesterday (other than the 4 resulting from a bull escape), and with the forecast for temperatures dropping to -20°C this weekend, it looks like the busy season has arrived.