Sunday, 15 March 2009

ovine ponderings

this painting is called "Shearing the Rams" by Tom Roberts. look closely at the shearer second from left.. not only is he [unusually, methinks] carrying the ram forwards out of the catching pen [it is usual to drag sheep backwards for a shearing  or crutching procedure] but the ram has been lifted bodily off the ground.

i've always found this intriguing...all of our rams are so huge that not even two people can lift the blighters. the only excuse i can think of is that at the time the painting was completed, merino rams were still quite small framed sheep.

graziers don't like to admit it but the British breeds were used to improve the frame size of the merino. typically anything NOT merino in Australia is referred to as a crossbred. this is ironic given the Lincoln and the Leicester played such strong roles in improving the merino breed.

which makes the merinos the crossbreds.

but back to the matter at hand. if that ram was of a size to be picked up and carried, then the gentleman carrying it must have been jolly strong...and perhaps vertically challenged given the suspected small size of the sheep!


  1. Oh India - Thank you for the further info on Rosalie Gascoigne
    Still haven't got to the end of the interview
    My inner Tasmanian Devil is devouring this information
    What is this word Housework people keep mentioning?

  2. Personally i think he looks like Steven which would explain everything!

  3. I wouldn't have minded back in my sheep days to have had a pair of strong arms to help shear my girls... but I only kept a couple.. and they were pretty calm.. they would just sit back on their behind and wait for me to do them up with the old style shears that were basically big one piece scissors type things.. took me quite a while.. don't know how they put up with me...

  4. i'm impressed, takes me half an hour to shear a sheep using a modern device, let alone shears for which the sharpening is an art in itself. so we have the luxury of a shearer to come and deal with the flock. in a good year we have 450 sheep on the property but now after 7 years of the Big Dry we're down to under a hundred.
    i'm STILL gong to be using that shearer, though!