Shearing at the Timm Ranch

Yesterday was Shearing Day at the Timm Ranch, in the hills west of my place. We lucked out with weather because it rained last week and it’s raining now, but the rain stopped long enough for the sheep to dry out and to stay dry through shearing.  I have been using this wool for a few years now and I love it. I posted about last year’s yarn in this post and shearing in 2015 and about some of the weaving I did using the wool in 2014.

My goal was to skirt and sort  wool and to finish with 200 pounds because that is the amount that I need to send for processing. After last month’s experience at the Anderson Ranch shearing (which I thought I wrote a blog post about but I guess I missed) I realized that is easier said than done and I was concerned that I wouldn’t get enough sorted before shearing day was over and the crew packed up and left for the next job. An ulterior motive of skirting at the ranch is that: #1 The job is done and I don’t have all that work to do at home another day, and, #2 The crew will bale it for me which will much simplify shipping. Fortunately a few friends came along and helped out.

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We planned to arrive just after the crew had started shearing, but instead we followed their van into the ranch and it took awhile before shearing began. That left some time for photos. I was amused by the adornment to the top of the van. Take another look and you’ll realize that those are two different species represented there. Shearing crew with a sense of humor.

Sheep portraits:

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Tis is Bonnie, the 9-month old Border Collie who found delight in rolling in the piles of wool and draggin away what she could.

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I didn’t get this one’s name. There are three Border Collies, this Dalmatian and a guardian dog on the ranch.

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In previous years there were two shearers but only one this time. That made it easier for us to keep up with evaluating fleeces and skirting.Timm Ranch shearing 4-2017-15

My crew: Vicki, and two Farm Club members, Kathleen and Mary.

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This is some of the lovely wool we saw. Last year’s wool tested at 21.8 microns and I expect about the same of this. We were strict on the criteria for the wool we kept–no vegetable matter, no weak spots or breaks and good length. Every year a ranch’s wool clip can be impacted by weather. After several years of drought I think I saw the effects of a bit too much rain in some fleeces–the wool on the back seemed more fragile and shorter in some fleeces. But timing was right for shearing this year in terms of vegetable matter. We found a small amount of filaree seeds with their corkscrew-like ends but no foxtails or other stickers. Timm Ranch shearing 4-2017-21

Sheep after shearing.

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Lambs were outside the shearing pen waiting for their moms.

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Vicki caught a pair of twins that escaped and were looking for a way back to mom.

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Beautiful rooster that walked by.

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It was late in the day and we had skirted 197 pounds. We had fleeces piled up to look at, but then it was time to shear the rams.

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Those ram fleeces were gorgeous and put me over the top.

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The crew was baling the wool and we kept sorting.

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We stopped at 215 pounds…Timm Ranch shearing 4-2017-39

…and just in time for my wool to be baled. My bale is only 215 pounds instead of 400 which is what they usually bale, but having a bale will make shipping it much easier than if I had to cram all that wool into boxes. Now I just need to finish skirting and sorting all the Jacob wool so I can ship it all at once. What am I doing sitting here on the computer?

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More About Shearing Day

I’ve written a couple of posts about shearing day already, but I have so many photos to share. As John worked through the main flock I brought in the sheep from other areas. The two ewes with two-week old lambs were shorn (last post) and then the three Jacob rams.IMG_8593This is the yearling ram, Rotor.IMG_8597 lilac and black ramsA good comparison of a lilac Jacob (Nash) and black & white (Rotor).Rotor fleeceThis is Rotor’s fleece.IMG_8618They aren’t all spotted. This is one of the BFL-Jacob cross ewes.DSC_5281Lots of people help to make Shearing Day fun and easy for me. Kathleen weighed fleeces.DSC_5273-StephanyStephany and Gynna wrangled sheep all morning.DSC_5341Alison and many others helped at the skirting table.DSC_5321People are welcome to skirt their fleeces before buying or ask for advice about fleeces.DSC_5364

DSC_5323It was a great day to stand in the sun with your hands in freshly shorn wool.IMG_8622One more ewe to be shorn and then it was Faulkner’s turn.IMG_8631His buddy, Jerry looked on. Faulkner weighed in at 235 lbs (down about 30 pounds from what he sometimes weighs in the summer).DSC_5387 Jacob fleeceFresh Jacob fleece.Faulkner's fleeceFaulkner’s fleece.DSC_5349While the shearing and wool sorting was going on, friends were helping buyers in the shop.Farm Club group photoLater we got everyone (almost) to the barn for a group photo. That’s a lot of enthusiastic friends!

Shearing Day

We sheared on Sunday. What a gorgeous day for shearing (but hoping that the weather doesn’t continue this way–winter shouldn’t be over yet).IMG_8551The day before we were cleaning up the area around the barn and pushed the brush pile into the corral area where it’s safer to burn. The sheep thought that there might be something worth eating…IMG_8552…or scratching on. I didn’t want them ruining a whole year of wool growth the night before being shorn so it was time to move them to the barn.IMG_8559I called the dogs in and Ginny got to help with the big group.

Sunday:IMG_8561 Farm Club members are ready for action.IMG_8563First sheep.IMG_8566Mary is ready to grab and bag the fleece.DSC_5259Wait a minute. These sheep don’t look right.DSC_5264Cute, but not the right sheep.DSC_5257We started the day with 10 sheep from another farm.  We told John (shearer) that was his warm-up.IMG_8601-waiting for shearingWe got underway with the Jacobs. Farm Club members did all the work. Visitors watched. and I changed gates and moved sheep while playing with my camera.IMG_8572Here John is shearing Dazzle…IMG_8570 Amy and lamb…while Amy holds her lamb.IMG_8588 Peggy & CarolynI think this is my favorite photo of the day. Peggy and Caroline babysit twins while their mom is being shorn.