May 17, 2012

On the Farm | Sheep Shearing

First, a song by my second favorite Bluegrass band, The Panhandle Polecats...

Sheep Shearin' Blues

This song is relevant in more than just subject matter.
Hank Little is the dobro player (wearing the bowler hat) in this fantastic family band, and he's also my sheep shearer.

I've never had the sheep shearin' blues.  In fact, sheep shearing time is something I anticipate.  My bro and I look forward to hanging out with Hank every year while he's shearing my sheep. 

 He trims each ewe's hooves after he's sheared them.

 A rather undressed looking Sweet Pea - it takes a while for the lambs to get used to their mother's wool-less state.

"Mummy?  Are you my mummy?"

Ingrid's turn...

Once Hank is finished, we stand around and talk.  
And talk, and tell jokes, and discuss movies and sheep and talk some more until he has to leave.   I don't know about Hank, but as sheep and movies are my two favorite subjects, I think it's great fun:)

The next step, is to skirt the fleeces and bundle them up for storage.

Ingrid's fleece - I'm always amazed that all of this wool fit on one sheep...

Skirting a fleece is where you remove the dirty, matted and unusable sections of the fleece.  These are typically the belly, legs, and tail areas.
You discard the trimmings and keep the rest of the fleece for washing and spinning.

I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination - I may sound like I know what I'm doing, but I don't really.   I just try things out until I figure out how it all works.
Still, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to skirt a fleece;)

Emma's fleece

And the last one, Sweet Pea's fleece

Here's the fleece before skirting (above) and after (below).

And here they are, bundled up and stored in trash bags until I find time to wash them...along with the other bags of wool I have sitting around from several years worth of shearing.  I haven't had time to experiment with wool washing very much, but I'm hoping to work on that this year.

And there you have sheep shearing, over and done until this time next year.
Happy Trails, y'all!


  1. Wow- that's really neat! Always thought it would be neat to have sheep for wool.

  2. One of these years I need to come see this:) Looks like loads of fun.

    Ug, those enormous fleeces remind me of time time I sheared our Tweed with the kitchen scissors in July... never again=)

  3. Hi Natasha,
    I love your blog.
    I was wondering what you do with your fleeces (spin, felt)?

    I am also a stay at home daughter (in sunny California) , and I raise fiber goats, I spin, crochet, and felt when I find the time. I am new to the whole blogging thing. Please check mine out sometime if you get the chance.

  4. Marjo - It is very neat having wool sheep! I love it:)

    Kellie - You should totally come over for shearing someday! That would be seriously fun=D
    lol. Poor Kellie - kitchen scissors and July sound like a horrid combination. ;D

    Kimberly - Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by! It's so wonderful to meet another stay at home daughter, especially one who is interested in animals and wool. I checked out your blog and followed - I love it already:)
    Well, at this point I'm just storing the fleeces for future use. The goal is to use them for spinning and then use the yarn for crocheting. I have a spinning wheel which I know how to use, but I'm still working on a good wool washing and cleaning method. I love spinning:) Felting is definitely something I'd like to look into someday.

  5. First, excellent photos. Thanks, too, for including the Panhandle Polecats' version of Sheep Shearin' Blues. That's one by them I've not heard till now. A question: Does Hank get the sheep shearin' blues when he comes to your place?

  6. Mr. Dane - Sheep Shearin' Blues is probably my favorite of the Polecat's original songs. It was written by Molly (mandolin), who also shears sheep.
    Hmm...well, I don't think Hank gets the sheep shearin' blues when he comes here. At least I hope not:)

  7. Oh I am looking at these photos to the music of Sheep Shearin Blues--Too fun!!! I love Bluegrass music and the dobro is one of my favorite instruments. The process of sheering the sheep is quite interesting and I am sure it takes lots of practice to make it right. And wow, all that wool! I can't wait to learn more about the cleaning and processing as you learn and hopefully share with all of us. I am putting in my order now for some of the first batch of wool ready to knit!Great event today at the Sheep Farm! Thanks!

  8. Haha! I was just kidding and appreciate your sense of humor.

  9. You should definitely consider washing that wool and spinning it. You might even be able to die it and use it for some of your items in your shop. It's worth giving a try because you are already supplied with the wool needed for the yarn. It's not like you have to go out to the yarn shop and put out a lot of money to buy yarn (yarn is very expensive these days. That's why you don't catch me knitting as much as I would wish). Give it a try. I know I would. ;)
    Have a great weekend!

  10. Winnie - I'm so glad you enjoyed the Bluegrass music and pictures! The dobro is one of my favorite instruments, too.

    Mr. Dane - Hehe;D

    Purity Leigh - It is definitely my dream and goal to someday sell my own wool and yarn in my shop. I need to work on keeping the fleeces cleaner and practice my spinning more first, but I'm hoping to realize that dream within the next few years.
    I appreciate the encouragement! =)


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