It may be February, but Spring is on its way.We shear early in the year, well before lambing. The view from the shearing shed includes the grand "Gates of the Mountain" lake.
At "Home on the Range"On a Montana ranch, everybody and everything earns their keep. Unusual in its size, this flock also has large areas of range land to call home. Along with their guard dogs and shepards, they are moved around the ranch during the spring as 4-legged weed-eaters.
Waiting, waiting, waiting. . .The sheep are sheared in groups. Rams, pregnant ewes, wethers, etc. They are gathered up into the corral on dry days or into the barn when rain is forcast. It's not such a good idea to shear a wet sheep!
and More Waiting!Clustered together, the sheep are easier to handle. It is less stressful to get them into the shearing shoots and easier to release them into the proper corrals after shearing.
Shearing ShedDepending on the year, we have 2 - 4 shearing stations in the shearing shed. Besides the shearers, we have somebody to wrangle the sheep, somebody to scoop up the fleece and throw onto the shearing tables and somebody to sweep up the waste between sheep.
Skirted fleece.Yummy. Although there are several "colors" in this fleece, it will be sorted into the "cool grey" bin which makes our Musket color yarn.
After the PartyReleased from the shearing shed, the naked sheep get a mid-day treat.
In the Bag . . .After the fleece has been short, we sort by color and then, at the end of the day, we stuff the bags before sending them off to be scoured.