May 26, 2009
As May transitions into June, we are preparing for the long hot months ahead. First up: sheep shearing!
The four adult fluffballs were good and ready for their biannual shearing. We called upon our able assistant, Sarah, who arrived one Saturday morning with razors in tow.
Corralling sheep for a hair cut is a bit like lunging for greased pigs at the state fair. Sheep do not want to be caught, as a general rule. Firefly the ram was the one easy exception. He always struts amiably over to us, although usually it’s because he is mulling whether or not to butt us into the next county. We surprised him with a halter and muscled him up onto the fitting stand. One down, three to go.
The ewes, well, they were another story. We boxed them into what looked like an escape-proof corner, but they sure could move fast when motivated. One by one they met their match. Perhaps the most outraged were Pixie and Page’s two sets of twin lambs. As each mother faced the music, she and her lambs performed an energetic call-and-response to each other, one profoundly maternal “m-a-a-a” met by two high-pitched “m-e-h-h-s.” In that way they kept in touch until the ordeal was over.
Since then, Frances has been spending her spare time cleaning and carding the four fresh fleeces, then hand-spinning the wool into yarn. This is the perfect ending for a cycle that began with free and endlessly renewable solar energy, continued on through a grassy growing season and concluded with fuzzy, warm, beautiful wool.