Summer Shearing

I’ve written two blog posts about acquiring 12 Jacob sheep in what became something of a rescue operation. The sheep were healthy and well-fed, but had not been shorn for three years we think.

This was shearing day for these sheep. The photos in this blog post were all taken by Farm Club members, Dona and Gynna. Thanks!!

IMG_8196                 John is the Rock Star.

DSC_8295                                                 We checked teeth to try and figure out the ages of the sheep.DSC_8346                   This sheep had a 13 pound fleece. The average for Jacob sheep is 3-6 pounds.DSC_8178                   It was a multi-person operation to stuff some of these fleeces into plastic bags.DSC_8267              The usual suspects were there to watch and cheer John on.DSC_8400                            Not a bad looking group of ewes after shearing.DSC_8451                            The two rams.DSC_8505                       After shearing we looked at all the fleeces. The longer fleeces have a break about 4″ in from the outside, but the rest of the fleece seems sound.DSC_8513                                                                  It will take some time to work through it all.

DSC_8536                                                                As we pulled out staples from some of the fleeces I thought it would be a good idea to get a photo. Susan and Gynna worked on this while we opened up and re-rolled the fleeces.IMG_8221                       Note the measurements marked on the sides and down the middles. Weights are below. IMG_8205                                                  This was a fun day for all of us and a good day for these sheep.

 

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Sheep Adventure Follow-up

Monday’s  Sheep Adventure started because someone had asked for help in selling Jacob sheep that his parents couldn’t take care of. I didn’t consider it a rescue operation although I didn’t know this person and I don’t need anymore sheep, at least sheep of unknown background, and I didn’t really have a plan for what to do with them other than try to sell them. When he called again last week things were a bit more desperate because his mom was in the hospital and the family had no clue of what to do with the sheep…other than to get someone else to deal with them. That’s when I said I’d get them.

Dona and Rick were up for the adventure but we didn’t know what to expect. What we found: Sheep that really are Jacob sheep–there are a lot out there that people think are Jacob because of horns or spots, but they are not; Sheep in relatively good health EXCEPT for in desperate need of shearing. So the Sheep Adventure turned into a Sheep Rescue of sorts.

Yesterday I took time to look at each sheep more closely. Now that I’m spending time with them, the group is kind of growing on me. “I don’t need more sheep. I don’t need more sheep. I don’t need more sheep….”Ewe 2-2                  This is a ewe they called Athena.Ewe 2-1Ewe 2-4                                                      I think that this is at least a 3-year fleece.Ewe 4-1                   I love the markings on this ewe’s body. I don’t have any information about her.Ewe 5-2                 This is a ewe they called Caliope. She is pretty wild.

A ewe called Dimitria. The wool is very pretty, but its as long as my elbow to my thumb.

Ewe 9-1                Markela, one of the original ewes purchased by this family.Ewe 10-1                    No idea about this ewe…Ewe-4-4                 …or this one. Don’t you love her horns?Ewe 11-1              Paniota…

Ewe 11-2            …and her fleece.Ewe-8-lamb                 The lamb named Easter because that is when she was born.IMG_8440                New temporary quarters.IMG_8445            Stay tuned for a Shearing Day post.Rams              Let’s not forget the rams. Tikes on the left and Costa on the right. I think they are yearlings.

Shearing at the Timm Ranch

Last weekend I spent a day skirting fleeces with some of the Farm club members. We were at the Timm Ranch not far from here.IMG_6463             After a rainy and overcast week the sunny day was a welcome change and the ranch was a beautiful place to spend the day.

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DSC_9723              The sheep were in pens when we got there.DSC_9730               We helped to move them toward the lane into the barn.IMG_6382              Most of the lambs were born much earlier but there were a few late lambs too.

The sheep are a ranch blend that were originally bred from Targhee, Polypay, and Rambouillet sheepIMG_6403             The shearer works in the old barn where there are signs of what shearing would have been like in the “old days” when there would have been hundreds of sheep to shear in the day.

DSC_9773                                                              We brought each fleece to the skirting tables…DSC_9736            …and inspected them for strength, length, and VM (vegetable matter)

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My goal was to get at least 200 pounds, the minimum weight to send it to the mill I am using for this wool.

IMG_6418                  I ended up with 270 pounds of beautiful fleece.IMG_6441

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DSC_9780               We dragged it on a tarp over to the baler…DSC_9785                    …where the shearer baled it.                  IMG_6462                       This is our 270 pound bale in the truck. I am grateful to Farm Club members for helping out on this day. It not only made the work easier, but it was fun to spend time together.

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A link to last year’s Timm Ranch yarn is here.

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.

 

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?

Shearing Day Revisited

Shearing Day here was way back in early February. I wrote a post about shearing the rams, but never got to the rest of it.

As I went through my photos I realized that a lot of them are of people, not sheep. But that is what makes Shearing Day here so fun–my fabulous Farm Club. The Fiber members chose their fleeces this day, but other members were here too. Everyone has a job and it makes the day go so smoothly.

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The star of the show is our shearer, John.

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John’s shearing shoes.

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Stephany and Gynna…

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…and Brenda were sheep wranglers, never letting John run out of sheep.

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Deborah and Lorrian  pushed sheep to the shearing pen.

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Kathleen weighed fleeces.

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Amy worked the gate in where the sheep left after being shorn.

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Mike swept.

With all these other people working…IMG_6750-2

…I could just lounge.

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Here is Hallie after shearing…

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…and this is the beautiful result.

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Trista: “Does this shearing job make my head look big?”

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Speaking of heads several of us wore our Baa-ble hats.

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Some people left before we took these last photos, but there was still quite a crew for this photo.

 

 

Shearing the Rams

Shearing was a few days ago and it’s an event worthy of a few posts. I started talking about it in here but have been distracted by a major project which will take over my brain for a couple of weeks. I need a break from that so here are photos of shearing the rams. Thanks to Dona and Carole for contributing some of these photos.

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This isn’t a ram but while I was catching them John started with  Mary’s  seven sheep.

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Then it was Faulkner’s turn. Faulkner is a Bluefaced Leicester (BFL).

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Catalyst is a lilac colored Jacob ram. Lilac refers to the gray-brown color of his wool and the facial markings.

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What a gorgeous fleece!

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Bide a wee Buster is almost a year old.

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It’s been on my list to trim Buster’s horn, but John did it before shearing.

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That’s another beautiful fleece coming off.

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A shearer has to be careful in maneuvering those big horns.

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Here is a close-up of Buster’s fleece. Notice the difference in color of the outside of the fleece and the inside in the photo before this.

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Joker was the last ram to be shorn.

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This photo clearly shows the difference in the black & white and lilac color pattern in the Jacob sheep.

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Next up–shearing the ewes.