Well, today was shearing day. Rich and I loaded the girls into the used horse trailer that we purchased a couple of months ago. (that was another confidence building milestone for us) We hauled them up to Amy J's Homestead where we purchased them so that they could be shorn along with the 80 or so animals at their place. The process was pretty impressive and ran like clockwork.
There were four young men who travel across the USA in the spring shearing for a living. They clearly know their business.
Shearer, Jonathan Love, with Leezza. Waiting her turn.
They tip each animal on its side and quickly "hog tie" all four legs, stretching the animal pretty much straight out horizontally and begin working. First they shear the "blanket" or fleece that runs from the side across the back to the other side. With the help of Randi or Jana, we laid out the blanket onto a plastic painter's tarp as it came off the animal, slid it out of the way and "noodled" it. (more about this another time) Then the shearers proceeded to shear the legs, neck and underbelly and give them a trim on their topknots. All of this is considered "seconds" and went into a bag.
Leezza having her blanket fleece removed.
Took and Mango screeched loudly during the entire shearing process. Firenze gave her high pitched whine that lets us know that she is not pleased with whatever is going on at the time. Leezza was a real trouper. She calmly accepted the entire process without a peep. In fact she gazed trustfully into Jonathan's eyes as he held her head. When flipped on her side, I was cooing to her and she gave me the same trusting look.
This is how they look now!
Took, Firenze, Mango and Leezza
Rich and I tried to take an active part in the process. He led animals in and helped me noodle a fleece. I noodled our fleeces and helped sweep and gather up the seconds for ours and other animals. When I changed this evening I had bruises on my knees and arms that I didn't even feel when they occurred! Needless to say, we are both exhausted and will sleep well tonight. Another learning experience for us.