I’ve been visiting my in-laws in rural Iowa for about 19 years now, and I’ve gotten to participate in a lot of activities on the farm. I’ve helped burn prairie and load hay into the barn. I’ve herded cattle. I fired a gun for the first time on the farm. But until this past weekend, I had never been home at the right time for sheep shearing.
There’s something endearing and repelling about sheep. The babies are adorable and the grownups make funny “BAAAAA” noises, often for no apparent reason. They spook very easily. But let me tell you, bagging wool that seconds earlier came off the back of a ewe is not the same as packing a bunch of sweaters. It’s oily, dirty and really stinky.
That said, it was still an amazing thing to watch!
Once the ewe is on her back, it’s much easier to control her.
The belly gets shaved first, then once side, then the back, then the other side. The wool often comes off in one big piece.
Start to finish takes only three or four minutes.
Here’s my wife giving some dewormer medicine.
My main job was filling the sack with wool.
Here, my father-in-law demonstrates how to get the most of each bag 🙂