Over the past couple of weeks the sheep have begun to look a bit hot! In the day they've been spotted sitting under the trees in the shade, avoiding the heat of the sun and wandering around as the cool of the day arrives. However, the wind has been cold, so we were undecided as to when to shear.
Colin Morley is the one who has taught me to shear; a patient man was needed! Last year I managed to shear 20 (with much guidance) and this year I managed about 50 (again with guidance). The technique is difficult to pick up with pin toes here and there, clenching with your knees and holding with your thighs as well as manipulating the machine so that you don't find yourself in a tangle. I am not quite there with my technique but I am determined to improve.
I feel people have a misunderstanding of shearing, as though we do it for fun and not for the good of the sheep. It doesn't hurt the sheep and the sheep are relieved to get their thick wool off. Unless you have stuck your fingers into the wool of a sheep you cannot comprehend how hot it gets for them in that wool. The wool keeps them toasty in snow, so the heat in summer would be unbearable for them if we did not shear.
So, out in our field now we have our flock of freshly sheared sheep, some a bit tufty, others looking good. They are happy because they're not over heating and I am happy because I've proved to myself that I can shear more than I thought I could, even through the aching, tiredness and sunburn that I was experiencing. It is a day I am undecided on; do I love it? or do I dread it? I think...it's love. The sense of achievement and the helpful little team makes me feel proud. It's a day I used to look forward to as a child and now I am part of the shearing team.