Spring shearing is always an adventure. This year, we planned to shear a little later than usual, since we had put the bucks in with the ewes a few days later than usual. Our shearing crew comes from California, and they told us they would be a few days late (surprise!), due to persistent rains in California.. This year we didn’t have to worry about trailing to the shearing pens on time, since the ewes have been near them since late January, when we trucked out of the Red Desert. Still, when our crew showed up, we were just a few days away from the beginning of lambing.
The rains showed up the same day that the shearers set up,. We gathered up every tarp we could and draped them over the wool handling area. We have good sheds at Cottonwood, where we were to shear, so were able to put the ewes in to stay dry. Wet sheep can’t be shorn. The moisture ruins the wool if it’s packed, and the shearers won’t shear wet sheep because it leads to “wool pneumonia.” Between the sheds, the tarps and our intrepid crew, we got all the ewes with the “main line” wool done at the Cottonwoold pasture. Since that is also our lambing grounds, the ewes, who were starting to lamb by the time we were done, just moved right onto their lambing pastures.
We moved onto shearing the yearling ewes, who had spent the winter at Powder Flat. We moved the shed, the shearers and our crew and were able to finish the yearlings in one day. Riley, our friend and former ranch cook, supplied the meals, delivering them each day to where ever we were. Her tasty meals kept everyone going