Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Four Bags Full

Mainely Ewes Farm has had it's first fall shearing. This is a milestone for us. We were very worried that we wouldn't be able to get the sheep shorn in time. We had contacted other shearers and unfortunately they didn't even return our calls. We have a small flock, only 4 ewes to be shorn. Our numbers will increase by spring. We will be going to Illinois to pick up 2 bred ewes and a ram in late November. We will be getting 3 bred ewes from Frelsi Farm in late November. We will have Truffles and Baby for spring shearing. So by spring we will have 12 sheep to be shorn. Out of desperation I realized we have The Maine Sheep Breeders Association as a resource. There was only one shearer listed for all of Penobscot County. It is a big county too. Robert Crocker was willing to come and set up for our small flock. Icelandic sheep are notorious for being difficult to shear. They are not docile and polite sheep that lay there and let you do anything to them. They are a primitive breed of sheep who will thrash and fight when threatened. That is instinct from years of surviving in the rough climate and many predators in Iceland. We got the sheep in the barn early morning. This is their first time in the barn and they were a bit leery of everything.
"Oh, this don't look good girls. Let's give him a real work out!"

This young man has been involved with 4H since he was a small boy and learned to shear sheep at an early age. Esther wasn't too bad. She sat there still and quiet for about 15 seconds and tried to make a break for it. Robert was having no part of that. She got tossed right back on her batookis. Hooves were trimmed first. We could definitely tell that our pasture has been wet this year. No foul smell but the hooves needed a good dose of Dr. Naylor's Hoof N Heel.
Esther gave up and let him finish.
This picture is blurred because Robert works fast. He completed 4 sheep in about an hour hooves and all.

He is a one man show. I don't think my back could take this.

Each girl got the same treatment.

What a sweet face. "HELP ME"

This was the end product of our morning. We have 4 fleeces to clean or "skirt". Meaning, pull all of the brambles and burdock out. We will mow their pasture this week to help eliminate the burdock for next year. I have been manually ripping out the thistle. What an evil weed. Even the goats won't eat it. Each season we learn. Progress is slow but steady. We plan on fencing the hay field next year. We can put the sheep and goats in to eat after the second cut. They can eat this grass till we shear in the fall. The fleece will be free from weeds and easier to skirt.

Fuzzy waited patiently outside for her girls to return. She did a double take when they first came out of the barn.

She had to check the girls out. I know she started laughing at this point.

The girls are happy outside. We moved them to the pasture with the covered shelter. Life goes on. Next step? The dairy goats arrive next Tuesday from Stony Knolls Farm. I don't even have a milking pail yet. Where is my Hoegger catalog? Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


ga.farmwoman said...

It look like the shearing went well. The ewes and Robert did good!

When you get ready for a punched metal sign let me know, my husband said he could punch letters if there isn't too many.Just let me know what you want on it and what picture.
Whatever space allows or he can use a bigger piece than the 8X10.
Thanks for asking.
Have a great weekend.

Beverly said...

You guys are really moving much fun to watch all that happens there....thanks for sharing!!

katiegirl said...

Yay for shearing!! I can shear one or two sheep, then my leg and back muscles ache too much! I think if I was quicker my muscles wouldn't ache so much!

A good sheep shearer is so great to watch! My boss was a good shearer, and he used to say, "Sheep shearing is like a dance, but the sheep doesn't know the moves, so you have to teach them."

Becky said...

Wow, that guys is fast! 4 sheep in an hour!
Are you going to process the wool on your own? What do you plan to do with it after it's processed?

Martha Ann said...

As a child, I thought Burdock was fun. I made little baskets out of it and liked to shape it into balls. As an adult, I hate it.

I have one dog who becomes terribly sick when he tries to chew off the burrs and another dog whose coat is like Velco around Burdock.

Burdock is nearly impossible to burn. I've tried a propane torch several times over the same plants and if you cut the damn stuff back, it shoots back with more branches.


Kelly or Alex said...

Ga.farmwoman- yeh!, I will email you with everything.

Beverly- Life is a whirlwind right now. I will be ready for things to settle down in winter.

Katiegirl-the fact that you shear is amazing. I want to leave the sheep intact. I don't trust myself. My back would never take it. Too many years in nursing.

Becky- I think this is practice wool because of all of the bio matter. Hopefully next year we will have the wool sent out for roving and maybe yarn. That is our dream. In this dream we would be able to have enough wool to take to Common Ground Fair. See, this is my dream here. LOL

Martha Ann- Oh, you don't give me much hope. I was planning on taking our propane torch out and lighting those burdock up. Now I'm not so sure. I guess we have to dig the stuff up.

tonya fedders said...

Congrats! That's a great feeling to have the shearing completed, isn't it? Sounds like you lucked out with a great shearer! Looking forward to hearing about your new goats when they arrive :) Have a great weekend!

Kelly or Alex said...

Tonya- Yes we did and he has already agreed to return in the spring. I have already put an order in at Hoegger and Jeffers getting ready for the goaties. We can't wait but have to.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Wow - they look great! Fuzzy is so pretty, too! She looks like a very aware flock protector.
Hey, you asked me on my blog what type of chicken my rooster, Roopert, is. He is a Silver-Laced Wyandotte. Isn't he a beauty? :-)

Kelly or Alex said...

Dani- Thanks. He was one of our freebies with Murray McMurray. We had no clue what he was till we saw Roopert.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

LOL - by "they look great" I meant your sheep and by "Fuzzy is so pretty" I mean your llama!
:-) Written communication can be so confusing sometimes! :-)
But now I know that you got a freebie rooster with your chick order. ;-)

Jennifer said...

That looks like a lot of work but it sure would be interesting to watch and learn how to do!