Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finishing the Job

One and a half weeks ago; 3of4 on the left, Francine on the right.

My shearing blades came back last Friday, so Saturday I set about finishing what I had started the week before. Poor 3of4 had been left with a partially finished job, so naturally I started with her. She looks so much better now.

3of4 after; much better!

Francine was next. I had a close call with her when I started on her face behind her ears. I was heading for the tufts on her cheek when she suddenly jerked her head. The sharp blade point nicked her skin less than 1/2" below her left eye. Close call!

I use the sheep stand to shear, but that makes it difficult to get between their back legs properly. So the last thing I do is take them off the stand and attempt to get them on their rump to more easily access that area. Francine decided she would have none of that. My dorsets are easy to get into position, but Francine is part Cheviot, a naturally more nervous breed. After a brief struggle I finally had her down. We were both huffing and puffing and I was dripping sweat, but I was able to finish her properly.

Francine with her new "do".

Ewenice was the final one. Although she is full Cheviot she is actually easy. Part of it is because her face and legs are clean, meaning the wool doesn't grow there, so it's just that much less to do. Also, I think because she is a bit older she is easier to handle and knows the routine now.

I'm happy to say I'm getting a little better at this shearing business. When I first started it would take me a good hour to do one. Now I've managed to cut that time in half, plus they look much cleaner than the first ones I ever did.

It's still quite the chore, though, but I'm glad they will be more comfortable for the summer.

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