I'm sure it doesn't seem that long ago to you all that I posted about our shearing experiences last year, but it's come around once again ( & would you believe we've even done some in the middle that I didn't post about). Shearing sure is an exciting time to this city family transplanted here to beautiful Sunnyside. The day is much anticipated & this year due to the forecast of showers we decided to shed our sheep a couple of days beforehand (usually you put them in the day before). We are blessed to have a fine-wool shed attached to our shearing shed (which makes it double the length of a normal shearing shed). This is designed for a special variety of sheep that are housed all year round ~ they are well known for their fine wool (although we haven't braved that path yet as they are expensive & it would mean a whole lot more work each day). It is the perfect place for shedding a flock of sheep for a few days or even keeping a sick ewe in from time to time.
This year we decided to drench the sheep (our first cross ewes that arrived at Sunnyside last December and sure have grown since then) the evening before since they were already up at the shed. This was our first time drenching & it was a simple, straight forward experience which even two inexperienced people-playing-farmer can manage without providing the neighbours too much entertainment (thankfully the neighbours are all many km's away so they couldn't see anyway!!!). Drenching is when you give them medicine so they are in tip-top condition for either sale or breeding (not sure which yet).
The shearing day begins early ~ the farmer is expected to be at the shed ready before the shearers arrive at 7am. Our shearing crew is arranged by our neighbor (who is one of the shearers on the 3 man crew) & since he lives so close he is always on time. Thankfully I was excluded from the early morning curfew due to the fact that I have all the usual am farm & household jobs to take care of as well as trying to coral 4 excited children into rushing breakfast & getting dressed before we packed up the baking, kettle, tea & milo expected for morning tea & loaded into the ute for the short drive down to the shearing shed. I only realised the evening before that there was no coffee in the house ( I don't drink it, so I didn't think to check until the night before), so after I delivered my load to the busy shed I made a mad dash into the tiny village 10 minutes away & thankfully the cafe had a very large jar left (now I'll have enough for the next 10 years ;) ). I arrived back 10 minutes before they were ready for their morning tea break (phew) ~ ensuring a very happily caffeinated shearing crew!
The shearing shed is a noisy place with the buzz of the shears, the lighthearted banter & the baaing of the sheep in the back pens. The whole place smells of lanolin & sheep & after 20 minutes in there even you begin to smell of it! Everyone is given a job from the children catching & packing the bellies, to the farmer learning how to throw a fleece (& he's doing really well ~ me, well I stick to brooming the left over wool pieces out from the shearing stands). Our shed is a two stand shed & that's definitely big enough for a small farm like ours, however our neighbour who has many thousands of sheep generally runs 4 stands when he shears (& his shearing takes days). Our shed is slowly getting set up - I remember the first year our shearing consisted of our neighbour shearing our dozen sheep & a couple of bags of wool to sell (& trust me it was just as exciting back then)~ now we have a shearing team, an electric wool press, wool table & bales of wool to sell! God is so good the way He is guiding us with this farming ~ we are just amazed at how much we have learnt over the past 3 1/2 years (& I'm sure we have much more to learn over the coming years)!
As I was standing there
leaning on my broom handle working hard I couldn't help thinking of that passage in Isaiah 53:7:
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open his mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so He did not open his mouth.
Do you know that sheep generally are silent while being shorn?
A fun day of working together as a family, a great time had by all & a load more memories made!