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Showing posts from May, 2013

Shearing Day

The day starts like most days –
Working alone not long after sunrise. The work, though, Is different. The ewes, separated From their lambs and held off feed, Voice their opinion at maximum volume.
Set up begins.  The shearing board is leveled, The shearing machine is positioned with precision. The oily smell of jute fills my nostrils as I perch On the ladder to hang the first wool sack of the day.
The crew arrives – the crew is what I love most about Shearing day.  Shearing is to our culture as branding is to cowboys And wannabe cowboys.  Shared labor and shared laughter, Which makes the labor seem less intense.
The clatter of cutters over combs adds To the general cacophony of bleating ewes And bawling lambs.  The “boss” – usually me, Runs the first bunch of sheep into the shearing pen. The 90-second waltz begins.
The shearer, dancing with each ewe, unpeels the fleece. His footwork is precise – I imagine the black-and-white footprints Of dance instruction.  The first pen of ewes, relieved of their wool, B…