This weekend the day we have been waiting so long for finally arrived- shearing day! We hired a local student to do the job. We were lucky to find someone in town willing to come out and shear just three sheep. Most professional shearers have a minimum of 25 sheep and a trip out to a farm for just three sheep is hard to justify. But thankfully Zack doesn’t mind helping out small farmers like myself!
We invited some friends over for the morning to learn about the shearing process. My friend Mary was kind enough to share some of her photos with me. I was too busy trying to catch sheep, contain the goat (who wanted to be in the middle of everything) and chat with our guests to take more than a few poor quality snapshots.
After the shearing was done we bundled the fleeces up in tarps and carried them to the house to start the cleaning and sorting process. First the seriously gross parts had to be separated and tossed out. Then we had to decide which sections we wanted to take special care with and which sections were not as nice. The best parts we pulled apart lock by lock and carefully washed each lock by hand. These locks will be combed and spun into the highest quality yarn. The sections of the fleece that are not as nice- like the part on the back thigh area- we put into a separate pile to wash in a big tub. This wool will be used for coarser yarn or felting projects.
Even after working all weekend and with the generous help of Mary and my mom we only made a dent in the amount of work needed! But we got a good start and now mom will be able to start spinning the wool, little by little, into yarn.