Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Winter and early spring are lambing season. Now as warm weather arrives, we are shearing the flock. Shearing is the hardest work in the seasonal round. Hot, backbreaking labor. Our sheep are not raised for wool, but they still need shearing. Hampshire wool is short and coarse compared to other breeds, suitable for carpets and socks. We sell it in a co-op pool where it brings only pennies a pound. Not enough to pay someone else to do the work, so we do it ourselves. Still, there is a great satisfaction in seeing clean newly shorn sheep in the field. Our co-op required wool bags are now clear plastic and stand taller than I do. Some of the black sheep on the place have plenty of wool, but no more can you say Yes sir, Yes sir, three bags full! Here is a song on shearing from the British Folk tradition courtesy of the folks at Thistledown Croft, farmers and crafters in New York. I found this chorus at the same site:

Bonnie lassie, will ye gang
And shear wi' me the whole day lang?
And love will cheer us as we gang
Tae join the band o' shearers

Perhaps I can sing this to Susan as we walk to the barn tonight.