Shearing Day

We sheared on February 3, almost exactly a year from shearing in 2017. This is such a fun day. Farm Club members are there to get their fleeces from the year, but they also do all the work!

Shearing-GB-198-3                                                  Our fabulous shearer is John Sanchez. We started with the rams. This is Peyton, the new BFL. His fleece sold right away.15078 Catalyst-4                 Next was the 2 year old lilac ram, Catalyst.15078 Catalyst                   Here he is afterwards and…Catalyst fleece-1                …here is his fleece.Catalyst fleece-2                   A staple of Catalyst’s fleece.DSC_7513            Catalyst’s son, Cayenne, after shearing. You can see what he looked like before shearing near the end of this post.

Shearing-DS-198-5                    One of the shearing day jobs is weighing and recording fleeces. Kathleen and Lisa did that job.

Shearing-DS-198-4                 We had two skirting tables set up this year. Farm Club members skirted their fleeces and helped others skirt and sort.

Shearing-DS-198-2                                                                   I set up the GoPro for some shearing video. That will be coming later.IMG_4602              Roy and Gina worked in the sheep pen.IMG_4604                   So did Deborah and Shelby. They all made sure that John never ran out of sheep.IMG_4637                Kathleen, Lisa, and Dona. Dona is our “official” Farm Club photographer because I’m always too busy to take photos on our Farm Days. She took some of the photos here.17054-Jolene-Fleece-1                  This is what a fleece looks like when you take the coat off the sheep.

IMG_4683                  Here is that same fleece after shearing.IMG_4687                  Locks from Jolene’s fleece.17050-Jillian-fleece                Another beautiful fleece on the table.IMG_4665                 Doris made Jacob sheep cookies for us.IMG_4688

These sheep won’t be around long enough to need shearing.



Sheep — Pre-Shearing

In the post I wrote before this one I talked about getting the barn ready for shearing and I showed some fleece photos here. Here are some pre-shearing sheep photos.1056 Hot Lips             Hot Lips.

14014 Janis2                Janis

15031 Honey2               Some of the sheep are coated. This is Honey.16011 Sylvia-2                  Sylvia.

16042 Stacy               Stacy

Shelby-17046-Lavendar             Shelby and her daughter, Lavendar.

17025 Cayenne-2                                                         Almost 1-year old rams, Cayenne and…

.17029 Serrano                                                   …Serrano.

And these fleeces didn’t disappoint.

Shearing Day Prep

Shearing Day was a week ago and I’ve been so busy that there has been no time to sort through my photos or do anything fun on my computer (like writing blog posts). Now I’m going to try and catch up.

Shearing Day at our place is an Open House event so it’s a good time to get the place cleaned up and ready for visitors. It took me several hours to finally deal with the mess in the “milking stall” of the barn. That’s where we used to milk the goats but it is now kind of my barn office. I don’t have photos of before and after but I did take a photo of one solution I found for organizing some of the vet supplies.

IMG_4547                  I not only found a plastic tub to keep the dust and cobwebs and rats away but I wrote the names on the tops of the bottles so that I don’t have to pull each of them out every time I’m looking for something. This is so simple, but it makes me inordinately pleased–why didn’t I think of it before? IMG_4548             While I was cleaning inside the barn Dan was working outside. We had finally had some rain so felt more comfortable burning the brush pile.IMG_4541               By the way we burned this on Thursday. This doesn’t look like much but it was a pretty not fire. Even though it looked like it was out on Monday there were still hot spots and smoke.

IMG_4544                    That burn pile is right next to the ram pen. Here are the five of them. The 4-horned rams are Serrano and his dad, Buster. The lilac 2-horns are Cayenne and his sire, Catalyst. That’s Gotham in front. IMG_4546                  In the meantime, Dan is working on the west side of the barn. This has been a multi-year project but I think it may get finished this year.

I was trying to get ready for shearing but was also dealing with taxes, the clutter I still haven’t taken care of in the house after painting my office, weaving deadlines, etc. I found another way to procrastinate.IMG_4553              Let’s put the GoPro on a sheep. Jade is the obvious choice, being the best pet sheep.IMG_4549              The first thing she did was run into the barn. When one sheep runs, they all do.IMG_4553           Then she shook her head and it was obvious that I didn’t have the camera secured well enough.

IMG_4554                 At that point I needed a scoop of grain to entice her.            IMG_4561                  I had used the headgear that is meant for wearing the camera, but it was meant for a human head and didn’t wrap around the horns very well. I found the brace I use for my elbow and that seemed to secure it better.IMG_4566              I’ve looked at the footage. It’s not as exciting as we might hope for. Maybe if she wore the GoPro all day (and there was enough battery life to do that…and then we condense it all into a minute) it would be interesting. But it’s not like she’s going to be skydiving or snorkeling. For this trial run she pretty much just looked at the barn, the pasture, and me.

IMG_4563                  I will still do something with the video but it probably won’t be winning any film festivals.


Father and Son

Whenever I am doing something with the ewes in the back the rams get fired up.

Buster-Serrano-2               This is Serrano and his dad, Buster.Buster-Serrano-1                  One of these days, Serrano may come out the boss.Buster-Serrano-4                    But not yet.Buster-Serrano-3Buster-Serrano-5Buster-Serrano-6Buster-Serrano-7Buster-Serrano-8           Buster is still boss.

This is not a dead sheep.DSC_7126                  This is Gotham sleeping on a foggy morning. When the rams lie with their heads propped up by their horns they do look dead.

Shearing Prep

In my last post I talked about the project of fixing up my office and all the prep involved. The prep isn’t usually the most fun part of a project, but is necessary. My prep for shearing has been spent mostly doing major clean-up in the barn, but a few weeks ago Farm Club came for part of the prep.

DSC_7105              It’s hard to imagine now with unseasonably low-70’s daytime highs for the last few days and predicted for the next week, but during most of January we had fog and drizzle. On he morning of our Farm Day this was what the brush pile looked like–a wool flower forest.

DSC_7133                  I don’t really like to see this because it means the sheep are rubbing on these branches.16062 Cindy-2                 We are shearing tomorrow. This is Cindy in full fleece. 15078 Catalyst               The lilac ram, Catalyst.15567 Shelby                  I love Shelby’s blue eyes.IMG_4293                   We caught each sheep and inspected their fleeces. Farm Club members get first dibs on fleeces on Shearing Day and they can pre-select them on our Farm Day.IMG_4304

IMG_4308                  We also clean the ear tags so that they will be easy to read on Shearing Day. That’s Carole with the towel working on the tag.

IMG_4309                                               Mary makes sure that fleece reservations are recorded on cards and that the ear tags match the ID on the card.IMG_4314                    Another great day with Farm Club.IMG_4321                      I noticed that white line in the fleece of Terri, a 2017 lamb. I don’t have an explanation for that.

IMG_E4317                  I love the ability to write on the photos on my phone.





Are you as excited about Shearing Day as we are?

Lambtown 2017–Showing Sheep

I wrote a post about teaching and vendoring (a new word?) at Lambtown. Dona send me several photos of our sheep and Farm Club members that I can also share.


Buster had his own pen. The ewes are Cindy and Vanna.


Mary having a conversation with Buster.


Mary and Lisa in the barn.


Sumi, also in the barn. A lot of the Farm Club members were also on the Spinzilla team and were working to increase their yardage spun.


Lisa rode the train back and forth from the barn to the vendor hall.

The sheep show was Sunday afternoon. Yearling rams were up first.


Buster was the only one in his class.


He didn’t want to cooperate.


Do I really want to be dancing with a ram.


I think not.


He was better behaved on a halter…


…and especially when tied to the fence after his turn.


This is the rest of the sheep waiting their turns.


Vicki helped with the ram lambs.


We showed against Shetlands in the Primitive Breeds Division.


Doris helped with the yearling ewes.


Everyone was a winner. Thanks!

Breeding Season Starts

October 1 – breeding season starts. Count 148 days more or less and there will be lambs. I know where I’ll be February 26. Farm Club came to help sort sheep.


There were four breeding groups to sort–ewes that would go to three Jacob rams and Peyton, the BFL. There is also a non-breeding group. I juggled which ewe lambs to not breed–I want to have some to show next spring (maybe take to MSWF to sell?) and to show at State Fair. I debated which ewes to put with Peyton. Obviously those won’t produce purebred Jacob lambs, but the crossbred lambs grow fast and are valuable for market lambs. IMG_2484

We got the rams out and trimmed their feet.


We got the marking harnesses ready. I use the same color in all of the harnesses. The breeding groups are all in separate places so I’m not trying to sort which ram bred which ewes. If they were all together I’d have fighting rams and still wouldn’t know the sires because there would be multiple breedings. I will change the color in about two weeks. Then I’ll know that all the blue marks are from the first two weeks of breeding and if the ewes are marked with the next color they were bred in the next two weeks.17008 head

This is ewe lamb, Hollyhock. The dirty face and dirty wool is a result of the tall dallisgrass that is now sticky. As a result the sheep are covered with dirt and with dallisgrass seeds.

17059 left horn

I this opportunity to take close-up photos of the ewe lambs that I need to register.


Here is the main event. Rams working working overtime with their mouths open and tongues out. Uh, Peyton, that’s a wether.


The ewes that are in heat will hang around the ram. Sheena and Shelby were the two who were interested in Catalyst. If Catalyst showed interest in one the other started beating him up.


This gives new meaning to Fall Colors.