Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sheep Shearing, Take 2

I was all psyched up to shear my sheep the proper way, by standing them on their rumps and shearing them the way the pros do, but after one sheep I was sweaty, tired and my back was sore.  So I put away my pride and illusions and put the rest of the sheep in the head gate and sheared them the way a duffer would.

I learned a few things along the way.  Next time I'm going to put a halter on the sheep and tie them in place with a rope on each side.  It would make shearing the necks much easier.

I still had to plop the sheep on their rumps to shear their bellies and their necks.

Here is the second "blow" up the neck. The first blow is the hardest because you have to plow through a thick tangle of wool.  The big advantage of the traditional shearing method is that each position stretches the sheep's skin so that the shearers ride through smoothly.  Note that here for instance the sheep's head is pulled back so that there is a smooth line from the brisket to the jaw.

I sheared Gunnar last of all.  By this time I was getting the hang of it and minimizing second cuts,  which create strands of wool that are not good for handspinning.

Turns out that Gunnar was my best customer.  He stood still and didn't flinch.  I really had to wrestle with him to get him on his rump, but once there he was docile when I sheared his belly.  I heartily thanking him afterwards.  After all those flighty, jumpy ewes and lambs it was great to have a calm customer.

Marja helped me throughout.  She held the shears while I repositioned the sheep, gathered up the wool, swept sheep berries off the board, and took these pictures.

Uh, oh....who let the cat outta the bag?

A Housewarming

Everyone pitched in to get Samanda moved into grandpa's old house and now it was time for a housewarming party.  The house sure didn't need warming though.  It was a warm and muggy day and the festivities included a some serious pond time.

Yup, the house was too warm to eat inside, so out came the dining room table...

...and our yard set.

Great grandpa and great granddaughter.

Looks like Dan and Gwen had enough to eat.

Time for a walk.

XC Race Returns to the Kilpela Farm

After a two year hiatus, the Jeffers Invitational XC meet returned to the farm. The temperature hovered in the upper 80's which turned out to be a little too much for some of the runners.

The JV runners off to a good start
Cheering the runners on with the traditional cowbell.

Past the pond...

Along the old railroad grade....

A strong finish.

The start of the girls varsity race.  Here's where things went south.  After the race, several of the girls experienced heat related illnesses and were taken by ambulance to the hospital.  Fortunately no one experienced any lasting problems, but it was a necessary precaution.  It likely was a case of inadequate prerace hydration combined with the fact that this was the first race of the year. The boys race was officially cancelled, but some ran it unofficially.  It was a downer considering all the effort that was made to prepare the course and organize the race, but you live and you learn.


Just beginning....
Raining harder...
Everybody under the trees!

I'd really like to be a sheepdog,