Friday, 30 October 2009

a lull in proceedings

after all that excitement with incoming delights it's now time to concentrate on a bit of farm life
sheep shearing begins on Monday
and for the ill-informed who inevitably protest that this is a cruel activity
let me say in advance
that humans have been selectively breeding sheep for over 4000 years
so that they grow lovely soft stuff
that can be spun and knitted and woven and felted

and if you don't shear them, they die often gruesome deaths as fly maggots hatch in the wool and sit down to an endless dinner on living flesh

the sheep gets wet [in the rain] and then just gets too heavy to get up
fly maggots hatch in the wool etc etc

this one below was just very, very lucky


  1. The first thing that came to mind was 'Do we not cut our own hair'?

    Love the country image,

  2. holy crap india, that poor sheep. my god. i loved shearing, despite my ineptness. my first ewe took me 2 hours to shear with hand shears. I was 7 months pregnant, too. she was patient.

  3. the first sheep that i ever divested of its coat took me a similar time. i wasn't encumbered as you were, Velma, but it was a small and evil wether who took great exception to the deed.

    provided no end of amusement for the local farmers though, as it was destined for market and arrived there looking like a cross between the TopGear Dog and a badly plucked chicken.

    i'm a bit better at it now, but i'd rather not. our shearer, bless him, works his way slowly through 100 sheep a day and not a nick or a cut in sight. a bit like the character 'Cooch' in the animated NZ film 'Footrot Flats'

  4. A plucked chicken sheep - I bet that's what all of us would produce the first time around! I love to read about life on the farm. The place I lived for a bit that required life to be practical rather than esthetic was the bush of Alaska - and practical is all that matters in those situations!

  5. I've seen a sheep being sheared -- it didn't look cruel to me. No more than me taking my cat to the vet is cruel. It stresses the animal out slightly, but then, it's for the animal's ultimate good.

    Now, doing it myself, that's another question entirely... I think I'd rather not ;)

  6. I have seen a recently sheared sheep... he looked delighted to be free of his heavy coat. Sheep are wonderful creatures with the wool they provide. And they just keep making more!! Can you tell I am a grateful knitter??

  7. Yes, It's for their benefit as well as ours...and they look so darn cute afterwards!-Jayne

  8. my flock increased to 14 or so (i forget) so i hired out. but i was always the "handler". thanks for reminding me of my pre-teaching life! my last shearer was a kick-ass woman who always pronounced a frightening verdict on the sheep's health once shorn. the wrath of sandy was not to be borne!

  9. meanwhile, on the wintery side of the planet, we are trimming hooves and setting in against waterlogged fields.. and hoof rot. (something that I believe has been bred out of antipodean sheep?)...
    also... how cool is the post you get!