As sheep shearing day approached, I convinced myself it was no big deal. It went well last year, after all. Shearing happened, the sheep tried to kill each other afterward, and months of smelly wool processing ensued. So much to look forward to.
With over twenty months of Shetland sheep handling experience, I was now confidant that my wild and crazy rams (wethers, technically) would cooperate and emerge from shearing like the gentlemen sheep the neighbors think they are. Instead, they again tried to kill each other afterward, but this time the battle continued nearly two weeks after shearing. This was because Charlie tried to break his leg in his hay rack and blamed the near catastrophe on Hamish. Hamish, of course, stood innocently nearby, pacing, pawing at the ground, snorting, and swinging his mighty horns. The suddenly buff Farm Manager hefted the dangling Charlie up and out of the hay rack without severing or snapping off the leg, though he managed to twist it enough to cause a distressing limp lasting several days after the frightful event. During this convalescence, Hamish aggravated the situation by looking at Charlie, occupying space within a furlong of Charlie, and even eating from a nearby hay rack at the very same time as Charlie! Charlie helped by refusing to go to the front yard, by barging into the aviary at every opportunity, and he even insisted in sleeping out there with the hens for a couple nights. Meanwhile, Hamish bellowed at the moon, lonely for the little brother who spent most of 2020 butting him in the, well, the butt, and generally harassing him for a solid year since the previous shearing.
Let’s look at a few “after” photos, shall we, before I step outside to stare at the reeking plastic bag stuffed with funky raw wool, casually wondering if I ought to simply throw it into the yard waste bin. Here we go.
That was shearing this year. I get the sense that it will be wildly unpredictable from year to year, so stay tuned!