Thursday, May 12, 2011

Getting Ready to Shear - 2011

Seems like shearing preparations are hectic every year - we typically have to move sheep home or to some other central location to get them shorn.  The wet spring (and the threat of more wet weather next week), combined with the number of grazing contracts we have this year, has made this year especially crazy.

This will probably sound like whining, but listing all that we have to do between now and next Saturday (May 21) is therapeutic!

May 13
Beginning Farming Class in Jackson

May 14

  • Move portable corrals and footbath home and set them up
  • Move 10 pairs of ewes and lambs home from Shanley Lane
  • Move 2 rams home from Dry Creek Road
  • Mark large lambs for weaning and note their mothers' ear tag numbers
  • Sort 30 of the ewes whose lambs we'll wean off for shearing on Sunday
  • Set up shearing barn, skirting table, wool sack stand, etc.
  • Arts Council of Placer County Out of the Box Auction
May 15
  • Shear 30 ewes (I'll do these myself - should be interesting!)
  • Put 30 ewes through the footbath
May 16
  • Haul 30 shorn ewes to Whitney Oaks project in Rocklin
  • Haul 80-90 wooled ewes home from Whitney Oaks project
  • Haul Clara the guard llama home from Whitney Oaks
  • Shear Clara and Tina (the other llama) - Sami will do this!
  • Haul Clara back to Whitney Oaks
  • Farm Business Planning Class in Auburn
May 17
  • Haul water to sheep at Whitney Oaks
  • Clean up shearing barn and wool handling equipment for round 2
  • Meeting with County Supervisor Robert Weygandt
  • Bring ewes from Whitney Oaks into corrals, sort off the best fleeces to shear first
  • Beginning Farming Class in Auburn
May 18
  • Shear 80 or so ewes
  • Put ewes and lambs through footbath
  • Sort ewes for next day's shearing - dry lot them in the corrals overnight
  • Skirt good fleeces and individually bag them
  • Sack the rest of the fleeces
  • Check/move sheep at Whitney Oaks (thank goodness for shepherd apprentices!)
May 19
  • Shear remaining ewes (about 70)
  • Put remaining ewes and lambs through the footbath
  • Skirt good fleeces (again)
  • Sack the rest of the fleeces
  • Clean up shearing barn and wool equipment
  • Put all sheep back on pasture
  • Check/move sheep at Whitney Oaks
  • Beginning Farming Class in Auburn (what was I thinking?!)
May 20
  • Wean large lambs
  • Haul 3-4 loads of ewes back to Whitney Oaks
May 21
  • 4-H Youth Activity Fair in Roseville - demonstrate sheep dogs
  • Haul remaining ewes and lambs back to Shanley Ranch
  • Breast Cancer Benefit Auction in Loomis
May 22
  • Collapse from exhaustion!
Needless to say, I'll be quite happy when the next 10 days are behind us!  I hope the weather cooperates!

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