the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Saturday, May 6, 2006

'Twas Shearing Day

It was a busy day at CMF. Our shearer, Marcia arrived at 9:00 am.. and we got right to work.

but before she arrived, I snapped a quick picture of my Iris that just popped open today :-)
(that's for Amanda) Check out her fascinating blog about the fleur-de-lis.

The animals were already confined by K - and they stood in the corner, as if to say... no, no, not me today!

Our Shetland rams were the first. They look so huge with their fleeces on. Apollo (the black/grey one) is a handfull ! Normally, we chase him around for 20 mintues or so before he is caught. Today, with the help of a neighbor, Caesar, he was captured right away.

Marcia, our shearer - is a gem! She'll croon a soft tune to the animals while she's shearing, to calm them and reassure them. so sweet. Normally, after the first year they have been shorn, the process does not scare them. They 'suffer the indignity' with calm surrender.
Apollo and Merlin were quickly done. The male goats were shorn standing since they were so large.

Merlin peeked his head thru K's legs, as if to say.. "oh, the embarassment of it all". Still he looks regal - even with no fleece!
The Shetland rams don't look nearly as intimidating without all that fiber on! Emo even stuck his tongue out at me while I took his picture (oh mom.. don't take a picture of me looking like this!)

Once all the boys were completed, we moved on to the girls.They were bleating and hollaring (their babies had "escaped" thru the large hog panel-fence and were prancing merrily around the pasture while the mama's awaited shearing. "Bleh to this shearing business" pouted Iris - one of the Shetland Mamas :-)

The fleeces turned out to be difficult to shear - perhaps the rainy extremes of last January - perhaps the urgent moving of them from the flooding pastures - whatever it was, Marcia really had to work this time. The sheep had begun to "rue" (which means to try and shed their fleece on their own) and it was a tough go to even get her shears through the fleeces.
The shetlands are such tiny sheep - so sweet and so dear. They love to have their chins rubbed - and will almost get hypnotized by this.
All the tiny baby shetlands were jumping around. One got very very curious about Marcia's tool box.
They lined up and seemed to almost pose for me - perking their ears.. what's goin' on Mom?

Here's a picture of a shetland Mama after shearing. they're so tiny!.. Little teddy bears on four legs!

And then we have a couple of no-brand (we call them 'heinz 57 mix) sheep.. humongo girls..
This one is called "Easter" (since she was born on Easter three years ago). Here she is pre-shearing..
and getting her hooves trimmed.. and then
after. She has amazing fleece.
I will now pick through it and see if her fleece was also damaged by the heavy winter rains.

The rest of the damaged fleeces will be dumped on the rocks and dirt on our hillside.. and next year we'll have incredible grass :-) It is truly fun that there is absolutely no waste at all in this fiber industry! Our hillside will look a little "wooly" to our neighbors for a time - but it's great fertilizer!

Last but not least - this is a sky photo for Sandy... can you see the whale in the clouds?


At May 6, 2006 at 10:50 PM, Anonymous Leah said...

Facinating! But it looks like a lot of hard work!

I imagine that Sunday truly will be a day of rest for you!

At May 6, 2006 at 11:04 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks for a peek inside life on the fiber farm.
I tried to stop by and say hi at the Seattle Expo. You were busy with a customer and I didn't want to interupt. I hope you had a good show.

At May 6, 2006 at 11:08 PM, Blogger Teyani said...

Hey Jessica- if you read this please know that I say "thanks!" I'm not able to answer from blogger - but am delighted that you stopped by to say "hi" today. I'm off to sleep now - a long a weary day!

At May 7, 2006 at 3:08 AM, Blogger Jane said...

Thank you for sharing your shearing day! I loved it! What sweet faces all those sheepies and goaties have.

At May 7, 2006 at 4:12 AM, Blogger Carole said...

Awesome picture essay!

At May 7, 2006 at 5:29 AM, Anonymous Beck said...

Oh Teyani I think I'd be tired too after all that. But lucky you surrounded by all those amazing creatures.

And I'm so thrilled because I see my Gyspy in the pics! GRIN

I definately have first dibs on some of the Gypsy fleece next year! I'd love to make a scarf and hat and know exactly what lovely creature grew it for me!

At May 7, 2006 at 6:49 AM, Blogger amanda said...

Teyani-- I love all the pics. We would drive each year to Perkin's Farm (close to the LA/TX border) for Wool Days but they didn't have it this year since the hubby died. My kids are fascinated and talk about when they have their "own" sheep and look forward to the "haircuts".

BTW, the new sock yarn arrived and it is lovely! I can't wait to clear out some FOs and get crackin' on those socks!

At May 7, 2006 at 11:51 AM, Blogger Knittinreed said...

Hi Tey-

Wow! What a wonderful entry today! I had no idea what all being in the fiber business involved. I do hope you did get some good fleece. I guess it is like wine - the grapes depend on the climate of the year. (Same goes for oboe cane. Some crops are better than others. Segue into: In answer to your ? on my blog - I play oboe and English horn. The case I was holding carries both instuments.)

At May 8, 2006 at 8:02 PM, Blogger JennyRaye said...

Thanks for the great post on the shearing at your place. I have a really stupid question--were a large percentage of the fleeces damaged so that they could not be used for fiber production? Is it unusual to not be able to use some of the fleeces? How does the rain damage the fleece? See...told ya, dumb questions. I'd love to learn more though! Thanks.

At May 9, 2006 at 5:30 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

They look so much more comfortable and cool without their fleece! I hope taht makes all of the wounded dignity worht it for them...

At May 9, 2006 at 8:48 AM, Blogger Karen said...

What a great post! It looks like so much fun. Isn't that easy for me to say? ;) I am sure it is tons of work and that everyone was pooped afterwards. Still looks fun though...

At May 9, 2006 at 9:16 AM, Anonymous Esther said...

Oh poor babies!! LOL - They are all so beautiful - gorgeous animals...(even naked) LOL

At May 10, 2006 at 6:21 AM, Blogger Heide said...

There is something forlorn looking about a sheared sheep! Someday I hope to witness this first hand. I know some people who raise sheep and goats down in Roy, but I've never been at their farm at the right times. Do you do your own washing and carding, etc. too?
BTW, I lurked around your last contest, but couldn't figure it out. It was fun checking out all of your yarn sources, etc. though. Thank you!

At May 10, 2006 at 7:59 AM, Blogger Heide said...

What is Black Sheep Gathering and where is it? I'm ingrigued and up for a field trip! The people I know who own a fiber farm of sorts are the Lantzes and I believe she goes by Dawn's Custom Carding or something close to that. Someday I want to learn how to spin. I hate to bombarg you with questions, but do you know of any spinning classes offered in Western Washington or do you know if spinning will be exhibited at the Black sheep Gathering?
Thank you, Heide

my email is

At May 10, 2006 at 4:25 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Oh, bummer about the damaged fleeces. I would never have guessed that rain would cause damage...

At May 11, 2006 at 7:10 AM, Blogger claudia said...

Teyani, thanks so much for your MS contribution! I really appreciate it.

At May 16, 2006 at 11:14 PM, Blogger Zippianna said...

Hi Teyani, I love your dear little animals; they really look different. I'm not very educated on the sheep and goats species but I know what I like. What a lot of work shearing is!


Post a Comment

<< Home