Staging for Shearing

Friday, March 22, 2019

Tomorrow we’ll shear for the 7th time on the farm.  Gwen Hinman and the usual GREAT support team of knitters, spinners, and shepherds will arrive around 8:30 am.  About four hours later, we’ll have:

  • About 180 pounds of beautiful white and colored fleeces
  • About 33 newly shorn sheep (I think – maybe 32), all with trimmed hooves, and the ewes vaccinated with CD/T (bottle says “Clostridium Perfringens Types C & D – Tetanus Toxoid”)
  • A sense of which of our ewes are pregnant; lambing should begin around April 10

Yesterday, some neighbors came over to help us get the sheep into the barn.  The ewes went in easily.  We’ve been graining them for the last several days, so we just had to set out pails of grain in the barn and they marched in. 

The boys were a little more difficult.  Aladdin, one of the wethers, is very skittish and jumped over a panel separating the boys’ side of the barn yard from the girls’ side. Now, truth be told, the panel was about one-third buried in snow, so he didn’t have to jump all that high.  Rather than try to figure out how to get him in the barn by himself from the girls’ side, I got him so rattled he jumped back over.  A few minutes later with four of us behind the four of them, they lined into the barn and we were able to close and secure panels across the openings to keep them in.

I arranged the three feeders, put a bale in each, and filled the water bucket. Barn filling accomplished.  Those will be the last bales of hay they’ll get until after shearing – we want their stomachs fairly empty so they don’t poop on Gwen while she is working.

An early spring storm came through last night (which is why the sheep were put in the barn yesterday – no one wants to shear wet sheep).

Today is “Staging Day”. This morning we worked through the check list, gathering up items from the basement, pantry and garage:

  • Two skirting tables and their legs (I reapplied duct tape on the edges so the fleece won’t get snagged)
  • Folding tables
  • Step stools and chair
  • Plastic bags for fleeces, second quality stuff, and crap
  • Farmer’s market tent and weights (winds are expected to by 20 MPH + tomorrow)
  • Thermos for hot cocoa and coffee
  • Index cards, markers, pens, and the master list of the sheep
  • Syringes and sharps

I put them all in the car and set them in the hay shed. Tomorrow we’ll set everything up.  Jack had a field day in the barn yard empty of the sheep. 

Later today, Kate will join us on the farm and help us take all the jackets off.

Tonight we’ll make sandwiches for the crew. We should be all set for what has become Peg’s favorite day of the year.

Todd

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