animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / RAISING SHEEP

A shearing and a washing

Alt Summit is behind me. I sent off my contribution to the Be Out There ebook, and now my gaze it set squarely on the upcoming 4-H fair. The days are ticking by and these lambs need some serious attention. 

For several weeks I’ve been trying to arrange to have the mamas sheared, but finally in desperation called my sister for a shearing bail-out. So last weekend, she loaded up her kids and made the two-hour trek to Woodlawn to tackle the task of shearing our sheep. 

 

Originally, we had planned to just shear the big girls. They were desperate for a haircut and the situation was getting out of control (not to mention hot)!. 

So we got out the metal sheep stand, hitched up Penny first, plugged in the fan, the clippers and got to work. Shearing these sheep was an amazing task. About four swipes into the project my sister looked at me and said, “I’ve never done anything like this.” (I’m pretty sure she meant such long-haired, dirty sheep. She’s sheared plenty of times.). “I may have bitten off more than I can chew.” But little by little and with lots of helpers, she got the job done. Three pairs of electric clippers, two pairs of scissors, three garbags bags of wool, and lots of greasy sweat later–the two mamas were done. 

When we put them back in the pen together,…..

Alt Summit is behind me. I sent off my contribution to the Be Out There ebook, and now my gaze it set squarely on the upcoming 4-H fair. The days are ticking by and these lambs need some serious attention. 

For several weeks I’ve been trying to arrange to have the mamas sheared, but finally in desperation called my sister for a shearing bail-out. So last weekend, she loaded up her kids and made the two-hour trek to Woodlawn to tackle the task of shearing our sheep. 

 

Originally, we had planned to just shear the big girls. They were desperate for a haircut and the situation was getting out of control (not to mention hot)!. 

So we got out the metal sheep stand, hitched up Penny first, plugged in the fan, the clippers and got to work. Shearing these sheep was an amazing task. About four swipes into the project my sister looked at me and said, “I’ve never done anything like this.” (I’m pretty sure she meant such long-haired, dirty sheep. She’s sheared plenty of times.). “I may have bitten off more than I can chew.” But little by little and with lots of helpers, she got the job done. Three pairs of electric clippers, two pairs of scissors, three garbags bags of wool, and lots of greasy sweat later–the two mamas were done. 

When we put them back in the pen together, they stared and stomped at each other like strangers. But eventually settled down and looked like a much happier pair. 

Feeling restored after a quick lunch (or exhausted and deranged), we decided to take on the job of shearing the baby lambs, too. Everyone got sheared, wool was collected for some future 4-H projects I’ll tell you about later, and we dragged our sticky bodies straight to the cold spring-fed pool at my grandparents’ farm. Best. Feeling. Ever.

The County Fair is just a few weeks away. Our baby lambs are pretty small by showing standards since they were born in early spring, but we’ll still show up and see how things go. I’m determined that we’ll be a small but mighty presence at the fair. They may be small but darn it, they’ll at least be clean and well-behaved. 

From now until the fair comes we will be taking lots of walks (and runs) and working with them on how to set up and stand properly in the show ring. 

Today we started with baths, a quick way to get them used to being handled. But despite being pretty comfortable around us, these baby lambs have inherited a strong stubborn streak. 

I washed the kids, too.

After their washing, I told the girls we were going to walk the lambs to the end of the lane, then let them run home to the barn. About twenty mintues and five paces (or in the lambs’ case–leaps) forward, we modified our goal, a wee bit. “Let’s just get to the shady patch right there (um, about twenty feet in front of us) and then we’ll let them run. ” Day one of halter-breaking successful? Not so much. But accomplished? Most definitely. 

There’s always tomorrow. Or possibly tonight, too. 

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