|The new arrivals were curious about |
all the visitors during the shearing.
A couple of sheep had already been shorn when I arrived, and Sue was working on skirting the fleeces - cleaning away exceptional dirty parts of the wool that would affect processing it. At this point, the raw wool is full of lanolins, making it feel a little oily to the touch, but also leaving you with soft hands after working with it. The exterior side of the wool is often bleached by the sun and weather, while the underside will show the true color of the sheep.
|Shearing the sheep - there is a technique|
to holding the animals so they don't struggle.
|Sue, demonstrating how to skirt the fleece.|
|The newly shorn sheep.|
There were nine sheep that needed to be shorn that day, and the work only took about an hour or so. After skirting, we took the wool into plastic bags for storage, so that Sue could begin the work of cleaning it so it could be further processed.
(In the original post, I had referred to these activities as carding, and I asked Sue if I had got that right. She told me this phase is actually called skirting - I've corrected the post. Sue said that carding, which is very similar to combing hair, happens later in the process when the clean fleeces are ready to spin, and the fibers are aligned to make roving or rolags.)
Meanwhile, the sheep all made their way out to the pasture to shake off the stress. They were pretty animated, and two of them actually decided to take a walk down the road - which I hadn't seen in a while.
|These two decided to take a stroll|
down the vineyard road.
After the shearing, a couple of friends from the wine club got together for a tasting and a visit out on the terrace. I tried the new Chardonnay, aged in steel barrels, and thought Mary might like it too - she didn't join me on this particular weekend, so I brought it home.
Later on, Moussa came around and recruited me to help with the errand for hay - but I've already posted on that a few days ago.