Shearing Day

Saturday dawned with sleet, hail and strong winds… not the best way to begin shearing day.  Joe and Melvin made short work of our 37 ewes as we ooohed and aaawed over each beautiful fleece as it came off and was bagged.  We vaccinated with CDT, checked FAMACHA scores and checked body condition.  By the time we moved the ewes back out to pasture, the skies were blue and the sun was shining.  What perfect timing!
Lambing will begin in the next couple weeks.  And of course we can’t wait to get our hands on all those gorgeous fleeces!


Saturday was shearing day, and we have been blessed with a beautiful crop of fleeces.  With the fleece off it will be easier to keep an eye on the lambs’ conditions in between our scheduled scoring days.  Saturday was chilly, damp and foggy, but the sun came out for just a little bit on Sunday.  Despite all the rain, the leaves have hung in there and fall has been just beautiful.

Spring Shearing

Saturday brought beautiful spring weather for shearing.  Everyone waited patiently for their turn with the shearer.

We are so grateful to all of our helpers.  Joe and Melvin were fabulous as always. 

And, of course, as usually happens in March, one beautiful day was followed by a blustery snowstorm moving in Sunday afternoon.  It didn’t have much affect on the crowd at the feeders.

Shearing Day

National Hug A Sheep Day was celebrated in grand style here at the farm.  Yesterday was shearing day and there was a whole lot of sheep hugging going on.  Forty-nine bags of beautiful lambs wool now just waiting for she who seeks wool and works willingly with her hands (to paraphrase Proverbs). 

As usual our shearers, Joe and Melvin, did an amazing job.  We are so grateful for their help and friendship… as we are, also, to our catchers, throwers, baggers and sweepers!

A cold, thick fog moved in last evening and hasn’t moved an inch. As you can see it really hasn’t fazed those naked lambs a bit. They were lying right out in it, chewing their cud as if it was a sunny, sixty-degree day.
Like everyone else in the Mid-Atlantic, we are preparing for the big storm headed our way.  Snow predictions range from 4 – 24 inches, wind gust predictions up to 60 mph – we’re battening down the hatches hoping for the best.

Last of the Shearing

We sheared the rams this weekend, a whole six weeks earlier than last year.  We have been running a little behind on everything, so it was exciting to accomplish something on schedule!  Aragorn looked on as Poseidon was first at the clippers, then he and Liam had their turn.  All three of them have such beautiful fleeces.  Poseidon and Aragorn spent about fifteen hours in the ram cram before moving into a paddock with newly repaired fencing.  Our older fellow, Liam, went back in with the expectant mamas for now.  He is still a bit wobbly from his battle with deer worm, and is being spoiled with some extra tlc. 

Shearing Day

Thank you so much for all the good luck wishes for shearing day.  Everything went very well except for Larry, one very large six-year old wether (above), who behaved badly.  He finally calmed down, and that heavy year-long coat came off.  Many, many thanks to our shearers, Joe and Melvin, and to all the family and friends who pitched in to help!  We have 42 bags of beautiful wool just waiting for a turn on the skirting table.  You should have heard the oooohs and aaaahs as the wool came off each sheep.

We thought you might enjoy a couple before and after photos.  Daisy is pictured above and Juliet below.  It will take us about a week before we begin to recognize the sheep in the field again.  They look very different without those heavy winter coats.  It is now so much easier to gauge the condition of each sheep as we go into lambing… just a couple of weeks now.

Shearing Today

We’re heading to the barn to finish shearing preparations… always a very exciting day!  It’s a good thing we got everyone into the barn early yesterday because we were hit with several severe thunderstorms and heavy rain late afternoon and through the night.  You just can’t shear wet sheep so we were lucky.  Family and friends are coming to help and Rebecca is coming to look at some yearlings.  Our shearers, Joe and Melvin, will be here at 9:00, so off to eat some breakfast and then to the barn!

Getting Ready for Shearing

We are busy getting ready for shearing on Saturday.  The cooler weather has been a great relief to everyone, but the sheep will be quite happy to shed their heavy coats.  In the meantime, we thought you might find this story interesting.  Our Mom ran across this while doing some research for the church; reading old newspapers on microfiche at the Terra Alta Library.
Warning! It is not for the faint of heart…
Queer Accident
Dr. Potter Nearly Loses His Life Shearing Sheep.
On Monday while Dr. W. R. Potter, who resides on the old homestead, a mile from Kingwood, was shearing a sheep, the animal suddenly kicked, struck the shears, and knocked them out of the Doctor’s hands.  They went over his head, struck a beam above, and the Doctor dodged them with his head, they came down and the blade entered the calf of his leg, and made a deep and horrible gash, severing an artery and a vein.  The Doctor held on the the struggling sheep, unaware of the seriousness of his hurt; but presently, feeling his boot full of blood, he had it pulled off, and tried to stop the flow.  Feeling himself weak, he sent the little boy who was with him to the house for help.  His sisters came, but before they could get the blood stopped, Dr. Potter bled at least a gallon.  He was removed to the house, and before surgical aid could be gotten, he had a spasm and became flighty.  The Doctor came near bleeding to death, and it was some time before reaction set in.   He is now getting along as well as could be expected.
~ from an 1888 Preston County newspaper (perhaps the Kingwood Chronicle?)
In other news, on that same page…
Wanted at I. Armstrong & Co.’s, Bruceton, W. Va. – 100,000 Lbs. Wool.
(presumably for the woolen mill that was located there)
Alright… after all that excitement… we will now return to our regularly scheduled programming…
pretty sheep pictures.