Today was shearing day for the pregnant ewes, some of whom are ewe lambs in their first pregnancy, and getting their first “haircut.” They all did really well, with the gentle handling of our wonderful shearer, John Sanchez. We are shearing now so they will be clean for lambing, and it is not good to shear too close to lambing, which is due to begin in mid February.
Jackie Post and her posse, Mary Schaefer and Dona Snow, came and skirted and bought fleeces, and we were joined by a new friend, Angelina Gregorio from Humboldt County, who helped with skirting and bought a Corriedale and Romney fleece.
Jackie, Mary and Dona, as well as John, our shearer, were super enthusiastic about the quality of the fleeces coming off our East Friesian-Romney cross ewes, who we are calling “Romnesians.” They had lovely crimp and varying degrees of the Romney luster. Jackie, Dona and Mary rolled every one out to examine it and give me their comments, and they were excited about the quality and consistency of the fleeces. We are ecstatic to know our new Romnesian girls scored so well. Dona bought Bronwen’s fleece (a Romnesian) and Jackie bought Lily’s (the only black Romnesian) and a white also. They weren’t in the market for more white fleeces, but said all are very marketable to hand-spinners.
We also had pregnant East Friesians to shear, and Jackie bought most of those fleeces for her felting business. And of course our beautiful recessive-colored Romney girls, our black Corriedales, and Flora, our one white Corriedale ewes. Flora’s fleece was already partly sold before it hit the floor, and the rest is still available.
Because of the rave reviews for the Romnesian fleeces, we fitted all our Romnesian girls with coats after shearing to keep their next fleeces clean, free of vegetable matter, and even more beautiful. We also coated the Romneys and Corriedales and even a few of the East Friesians whose fleeces are the nicest quality.
One of the down sides of shearing in January is the cold and possibly rainy nights when the girls are getting used to the loss of their fleeces. Sheep are very adaptable and much prefer being cold to being warm, but they can be shivery at first, so we tuck them into the barn for the first few nights, until they grow a bit of wool back and make their adjustments.