Shearing is now over at the farm. Of course it had to be during the day, and the time of day, of the heaviest rainfall of the year. Thankfully the rain wasn't accompanied by heavy winds, so it fell straight down instead of blowing through the gaps between the siding planks on the barn. So the sheep were actually quite dry.
Here is Don tackling the first ewe:
You can see that this is back breaking work. Everything from a stooped position. It makes my back hurt just to watch!
And here is the first fleece after I scooped it up from the shear floor and thrown it on the skirting table. To properly throw a fleece you pick it up in a clump from the shear floor, in a certain way, and throw it so that it lands spread out as in the photo. Took a few years, but I'm getting pretty good at it.
Note that this is the fleece shorn of the ewe in the first two pictures. See the difference in colour of the exterior of the fleece on the table with the colour of the sheeps back and the inside of the fleece as its being shorn off. The difference is sun bleaching.
After skirting, each fleece is folded over in thirds lengthwise, rolled up and put in a clear plastic temporary bag. Over the next while I will pull each of these fleeces out and sort them into colour groupings for spinning. Those groups of fleeces with then be re-bagged in burlap (breathable) sacks for shipping to the mills.
I have to say it was a fantastic day, rain and all.
On the other hand, I didn't get the strawberries picked...