What a strange spring we've had here in Wisconsin. Normally my sheep get sheared in April but this year it was too cold so we decided to wait till the end of May. The end of May was almost too cold! My sheep and Gracie the llama all were sheared on Saturday by Dylan Weaver. It was the first time he sheared my sheep and he did a good job. He doesn't like llamas! I told him we had Gracie the llama to guard the sheep and I added we could have a donkey instead. He told me he wished we would have had the donkey!
We were expecting Dylan around 2:00 and he called at 12:15 to say he was on his way! We had to get the sheep locked up in the barn so he could grab them to shear them. Things didn't go so well! The sheep are pets but they get concerned when both Randy and I show up! I had them munching on grain and when Randy went to shut the gate they all took off. Just about then Dylan arrived! I managed to get Gracie on her lead and took her inside the barn. Randy had let Lucy the dog out and she decided to stand near Gracie. Lucy is a toy Australian Shepherd and she is a whiner! I don't know if Gracie stepped on her, looked at her or just got too close, but Lucy decided it was time to cry! We have a gate that folds down and keeps the girls inside the barn. We folded it half way down so that the sheep could still come in. Since we weren't having much luck getting the girls in the barn, Randy and Dylan went to his next stop, shearing Flower the sheep. Gracie and I went for a walk and put Lucy in the house. By the time we came back the sheep were back in the bar eating grain and I was able to fold down the second half of the gate, securing them inside. We were finally ready to shear!
When Dylan sheared the sheep he started with the belly wool (which is normally very dirty and you throw it away) he would throw that over the gate to me and as he finished shearing each girl he handed me the fleece. I was able to "skirt" the fleece (pull off the gross stuff) and have it ready to go to the mill while he sheared the next sheep. Watching sheep get sheared is very interesting but it's hard for me to see them get nicks. It always happens, just like when you shave your legs!
The best part of this years shearing: although I know there are bats in the barn and I could hear them every so often, none of them flew around in the barn!
I'm going to mix this year's fleeces with last years and take them to Black Berry Ridge to have it made in to yarn. You know you can never have too much yarn! I also have a few ideas for the llama fleece. I've only processed one year of Gracie's wool but I think I might get it turned into pencil roving to use in weaving rugs.