waiting for the shearers on Cottonwood Creek
Shearing the sheep is one of the most essential tasks that is accomplished all year. It is also one of the most uncertain. It is critical for the health of the sheep, the success of the lambing, and the impact on our bottom line, as we sell the wool to be made into natural, non-oil-based fabric. Shearing, next to the weather, is the part of the business that we have the least control over. The shearing contractors are dependent on the Department of Labor processing their visa applications in a timely manner, since most shearers are from New Zealand and other foreign lands. Shearing is a highly paid skill, but not enough American workers are available to fulfill the need. Each year, the arrival of the shearing crew is more uncertain. We were glad this year when our crew arrived after only a few predictable and unpredictable delays. The early lambers have been sheared and are lambing away. Now, after a few more days’ weather delay (rain, snow, high winds), we plan to shear the “main line”.
Shearing first ewe
Unshorn ewes following the guard dog into the pen
Maura helping out
McCoy, Meghan, and Pepe bringing up the ewes
shorn ewes heading out the door