Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My day really started with a jolt. I don't usually sleep in too often, but I think the summer holiday mode has effected me this past couple of days. That & the fact that yesterday evening we had to move all the sheep up to the shearing shed yards & draft the sheep. You see today we had our neighbour coming who is a shearer - we needed our herd crutched (that means their heads & bottoms shorn - this is to keep the flies away otherwise they are at risk of being flyblown which is too horrible a thing to talk about on this blog ) & our "pets" (those poddy lambs we had had) sheared.
Of all the days for all the children (yes that's a record for Zai) & I to sleep in.

If you look closely that's me on the quad moving that mob of sheep.

(These first couple of pictures are by Zai - please forgive the angles - I think he was being creative!)

Moving animals seems to be my job & I really like it (OK part of the reason is I love riding on the quad bike & here I can have a lot of fun in the name of work!) - although yesterday evening it was hot, dusty work. We did get them up there & into the yards (yay!).

This is what sheep yards look like. Essentially lots of little fences in weird combinations. At first I just thought "why would you put all those gates & things in there" but now I know each one has it's purpose. There are all kinds of holding yards & a chute for drafting etc. - actually we used all but one yard yesterday.

After getting the sheep up into the yards we had to draft them - this is where you separate out the ones you want from the ones you don't. The first draft was to remove our friend's sheep who were adjisted on our place. The second draft was to remove the lambs that we didn't want shorn & the third draft was to separate out the ones that needed shearing from the ones that needed crutching. After moving over 130 sheep through 4 yards & a drafting chute /gate each time (the first was over 160) which involved shooing them into the holding pen & physically pushing on them & "huh, huh, huhhing" for all you're worth, you are tired.

Thus we were late to start today (oops - lucky I know the farmer really well ;) - guess he can't dock my pay since I do it for love anyway! ) The shearer had started, but he gets paid anyway.

So today my job was to roustabout - essentially the name for the person who does all the other jobs the shearers don't do. Pushing sheep in & out of pens (from yard to pen before sheared , into waiting for shearing pen, into shearers pen, out of done pen back down ramp into waiting yards - yep it seemed I was opening & closing gates & moving sheep here there & everywhere all morning), jumping fences, sweeping wool, sorting wool, packing wool all in a days work for a roustabout.

Working in a shearing shed in the middle of an Australian summer is HOT work.

Here on the farm even the kids help out at shearing time - my little roustabouts in training!

( Isn't the floor just beautiful in shearing sheds - I remember the first time I saw one it made me want to dance! - of course it's not like this where the sheep go.)

I just had to add this picture - let me assure you that under all that wool is a real alive sheep!

So next time you buy something with Australian Merino Wool - you never know, you may have just purchased a little bit of Sunnyside!!

Guess who's going to sleep well tonight??? - although I have to head off to the city tomorrow & you should see my shopping list - it's very long - so no sleeping in!


Saminda said...

You go farm girl!! :) Thanks for sharing your piece of paradise with us. :) xo

Grandma said...

Whoa.....what a lovely bright red in your face background..........I thought for a moment I had a computer glitch & it went somewhere else....but I do like red anyway!
Hope by the time you read this, you've had a good night's sleep & a very successful shopping trip. I bet you were a bit dusty (ok dirty) by the time you finished with the sleep (lol). Give our love to all. Lots of love Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sandra said...

I like your new header. Though all the falling snow seems at odds with all the hard hot work you've done today. I beat those sheep will thank you for it.
Hope your shopping goes smoothly tomorrow.

Kath said...

What a fun exhausting day!!!

Thats a whole lot of wool off one sheep!! Wow!
Last summer when we went to the Wyoming State Fair we checked out the wool building. I didnt know that wool has an oil on it. The lady was very informative and interesting. Not that I remember all the details she shared.

Have fun shopping!

Shonni said...

What a fun day! I would love to see ya'll doing your work for a day...and yes, the floor is beautiful!!!

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Oh I love this post.
I am such a country girl at heart and the sound of such hard Yakka is wonderful.
I know too well the reality ain't so appealing!
Hot,smelly,dusty and back breaking!

Your kids are getting wonderful experiences like no other....Fantastic country life

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frizzy said...

I was going to ask what you did with their wool. How cool is that in deed. I recall a previous post about the flies. Not pretty at all. Sorry I've been away so much lately.

aunty sel said...

Hey Narn,
Looks like so much fun, I can't understand why you were so tired, just cos of running after some sheep ;-)
Just kidding!! I'm sure the sheep loved it!!
Not long until Christmas!!! Happy shopping!!

Cassandra-ann said...

Thay have to be the cutest roustabouts EVER!!!!
I hope you had fun shopping:-)

BoufMom9 said...

Oh my word! I am exhausted reading this! I had NO idea what all your life entailed. WOW! I hope you did sleep very well :)

A Big Bowl Of Cherries said...

Wow! It's so cool to read about a day like this in your life. Especially as I sit here in Michigan (in the US) with snow piling up higher each hour :)There's a farm a few miles from here with sheep & I wondered how much work they were. Now I know! ;)

Sande said...

We are getting a little dusty here now too. Had to shear our one sheep with hand sheers ... looks like sheep met wipper snipper. She is suffolks though.

You sound like you have a fair drive to the city too. Did about four hours driving today.

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