Shearing Day 2018

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Shearing is hands-down my favourite day on the farm, I even enjoy it more than lambing (which is hard to beat because little cute lambs are amazing). It is a celebration for me, in fact, next year I think there should be shearing day cake!

  Luke our sheep wrangler for the day                                                   (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Luke our sheep wrangler for the day                                                   (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

We finally get to see what the fleeces  -  that we've spent all year worrying about - are actually like. I can get a real look at the colour, the crimp, the staple length, and I can dream about what it will look like once it's all washed and spun. It is our version of the harvest. A representation of all our hard work. It's a celebration.

  Look at this beautiful fibre                                                                 (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Look at this beautiful fibre                                                                 (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

It was a beautiful, sunny day and we had so many good friends and fibre-lovers join us. It was amazing to have so many people here to witness the shearing, to help with the skirting, and to share in this celebration.

  A few of our younger participants                                                      (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

A few of our younger participants                                                      (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Our shearer Stacey is amazing, she is fast and strong and did a great job of shearing our animals. She gave a little lesson on how she shears as all the kiddo's listened intently.

  Stacey explaining the process of shearing                                          (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Stacey explaining the process of shearing                                          (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

She also sheared the llamas, who were well overdue for a shearing. I was nervous as to how they would handle the shearing, neither of them have ever been sheared before. The process for shearing them involves tying their front and back legs and stretching them, not stretching so much that it hurts, but prevents them from kicking the shearer. It was amazing to see how truly small they are without their fibre. Once they were sheared Donnie and Leo did this sweet little dance around each other getting reacquainted without all the fibre in the way.

  Llama dance                         (Photo by Val Paulley)

Llama dance                         (Photo by Val Paulley)

I put everyone who showed up to work with skirting and sorting the fleeces. Skirting is the process of removing as much veggie matter as you can, any manure or matted fleece around the legs/belly/neck and separating each fleece for processing. Skirting takes a lot of time, so having 20+ people helping me with the process was incredible, and they did an excellent job.

  skirting fleeces                                                                                  (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

skirting fleeces                                                                                  (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

I plan to grow shearing day into a festival, a big celebration of sheep, fibre and the farmers that work so hard to grow it. So if you missed it this year don't worry – we will see you next year.

  Keeping Watch                                                                                     (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Keeping Watch                                                                                     (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

A big thanks to Mackenzie Smith for all these fantastic photo's. Mackenzie currently has a show on display at Garry Street Coffee. The show is a series of 35mm slide projections and is called “Positives From A Sad Norwegian” those in Winnipeg should check it out!

  A big pile of fleece!                                                                              (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

A big pile of fleece!                                                                            (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

  Thank you to all those of you who came and skirted wool                   (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Thank you to all those of you who came and skirted wool                 (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

  Post Shearing body condition check                                                   (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Post Shearing body condition check                                                 (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

  Little Clover                                                                                           (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Little Clover                                                                                         (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

  Stacey shearing Rex                                                                 (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)

Stacey shearing Rex                                                                 (Photo by Mackenzie Smith)