baa baa, brown sheep…

Have you any wool?

Yes ma’am, yes ma’am – three bags full!

Last week after my not-so-exciting discovery that my Oregon girls had breaks in their wool related to travel stress, I called a local shearer to come and give them a trim and get us back on track. The sooner I got the broken wool off, the better, because less of the new growth will be wasted. I will have a big decision in December – to have them shorn again, lose more fleece (it will be too short to use) and get them on schedule with the flock OR keep them on their own wacky schedule and risk fleece issues for show next year as well as risk another break in the wool is they go over 12 months without shearing. Farming is full of tough and unexpected decisions!

At any rate our shearer Joe was great. I had never met him before, even though he is local. He prefers to only shear a few sheep at a time unlike Gwen, our regular shearer, who prefers to shear many sheep in one day because she travels quite a distance from New Hampshire to come to us. Joe and Gwen differ in their training also. Joe is relatively new to shearing, and self-taught as far as I know. Gwen, on the other hand, is a legacy shearer (her late father, David, was an esteemed shearer in the northeast) and trained/worked in New Zealand as part of a “shearing gang“. You’d never know Joe has less experience, though, he did a great job handling the sheep and the fleeces.

 

Thankfully the girls were shorn just in time for the awful heat wave we had last week. I am sure they felt the difference without their wool and their coats! As disappointed as I am that these girls won’t go to show with me this fall, seeing them shorn (body size/conformation is way easier to see without wool) solidified my knowledge that these ewes are very much in line with Brown Betty’s breeding goals. I am excited – more than I am for show – to see how these lambs grow out and what kind of lambs Camille throws this coming spring. New babies are certainly more thrilling than blue ribbons!

(Well, blue ribbons are pretty exciting too… hopefully I’ll come home with one anyway!)

Dahlia and Daisy

Camille

Don’t they make you want to go out and get a spiffy new haircut?

Or better yet, go find some fancy merino wool to spin???

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