Today Andy the shearer arrived to give the girls, Hector and his mates a hair cut. Because the forecast for today was showers mid morning, Tim, Deefa and I were out getting the sheep into the barn at 7am to ensure their fleeces remained lovely and dry.
Andrew arrived just before 10, with his young son whose job it is to act as "wire man" for his dad. Basically pull the on/off lead when his Dad said. But still a very important job for an 8 year old, (who wants to be a sheep shearer when he gets older) and one he did very well.
We decided to shear Hector, Cecil and Archie first, as they are the largest of our sheep and it seemed only fair to Andrew to deal with them whilst he was fresh.
We had a very good method of working for the ewes, they were penned up and the only way out was through they weigh scales to Andrew, to be sheared. Once sheared, out of the barn door and away into the field. Tim put the ewes into the weight scales, Resident Vandal then took the ewe out of the scales, turned them ready for Andy to shear, half way through, Andy's son took over the responsibility of releasing the ewes from the scales for his Dad to catch. Once sheared the fleeces were passed over to myself, Phillippa and Mrs Resident Vandal to dag out, grade, roll and put into paper sacks. There was only 2 fleeces that didn't come up to standard, one was Missy's, which is no surprise considering how ill she was whilst she was in lamb.
We finished shearing by 11.30, just in time for lunch.
Here are Cecil, Archie and Hector minus their fleeces.
The shearing party consisted of me, Tim, Phillippa, Mr & Mrs Resident Vandal, Freyalyn and Mark (who arrived just as we'd finished).
After lunch Freyalyn showed Phillippa and I how to spin long draw, of which the important part is the correctly hand carded rolag, which for me was a great "light bulb" moment for me, as I have previously found hand carding really hard, now I know why. Spinning long draw I will have to practice on my Ashford Traveller wheel, as my Lendrum wheel has a "woolie winder" fitted to it, which winds the fleece up and down the bobbin automatically, which makes learning how to long draw spin harder. Once I've mastered the skill, I will be able to do it on my lendrum.
Phillippa went home with the two fleeces that were matted, as she had a use for them and Freyalyn yet again raided my fleece store and took home Archie's fleece and 1/2 of a Cheviot fleece, which no doubt with appear on her blog.
Now just Ghilli and Grommet to be sheared.