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Photo Op

Our Peruvian employees took photos with the wool truck and the truck driver

Our Peruvian employees took photos with the wool truck and the truck driver

 
 

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Loading wool

Filo, trucker, Antonio, Pepe and Jenri with the loaded wool truck

Filo, trucker, Antonio, Pepe and Jenri with the loaded wool truck

After all our adventures with shearing (and we still have a few ewes to shear and lambs to dock!), we loaded the first load of wool today. Most of it is bound for the U.S. military. Here is our intrepid loading crew, including the Utah trucker who came to haul it. One more load to go!

The trucker said his Dad helped him buy this semi after he returned from eight years in the Marine Corps--three tours in Iraq and one in Afganistan.

The trucker said his Dad helped him buy this semi after he returned from eight years in the Marine Corps–three tours in Iraq and one in Afganistan.

 

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Docking and shearing multi-tasking

Docking and shearing on Cottonwood Creek

Docking and shearing on Cottonwood Creek

This spring, for the first time in our experience, we have lambed our ewes in the wool.

This situation occurred, in large part, because shearing contractors cannot get enough foreign shearers through the broken H2A visa system, and not enough American shearers are available, even though shearing sheep pays very well. In our particular situation, our usual shearing contractor was not honest with us as to when his crew could realistically arrive, which left us with no time to find another shearer—a nearly impossible situation anyway.

By mid-May, we realized that we could not get the ewes sheared before lambing. I tried explaining the difficult situation to the ewes, but they refused to wait another week before giving birth. As a mother, I can relate to this. And also it was raining every day.

We did manage to find an American crew out of California, but they were able to shear only a day and a half before the rains and the lambs really set in. This left us with 6000 or so sheep left to shear, including the yearlings. The California crew said they could come back in June, after things slowed down, sort of. This was good, because the shearing contractors who depend on foreign (mostly New Zealand) shearers lose their crews as the visas run out in late May. I will say that hardly any American crews exist, and the industry needs its foreign shearers to “get the clip out.”

We did get through the lambing, which was inevitable due to the certainty of birth. This left us with several thousand wooly ewes, with lambs at side. At this point, we not only needed to shear the ewes, but we had several thousand lambs to dock.

We decided that we could shear and dock at the same time—in fact, that we had to. Luckily, our California shearing crew was flexible, and was willing to move their portable shed every day to the site of each ewe and lamb bunch. We set up corrals so that the ewes could run straight ahead into the shearing shed, and the lambs could be drafted off to side pens and into a docking line.

Usually, to minimize stress on sheep and human crew alike, we bring the ewes with lambs in in bunches of 300 or so. With the shearing/docking situation, we had to do each entire band at a time—typically 850 or so ewes, and their lambs—usually about thousand. We had to do this because we couldn’t separate the ewes and young lambs for more than a few hours. As I told the wool buyer, “Take a good look, because you’ve never seen this before and I hope you never see it again!”

Pepe, Richard, Meghan, Oscar, Cassie, and Jean Carlos on the docking side of things

Pepe, Richard, Meghan, Oscar, Cassie, and Jean Carlos on the docking side of things

waiting for the blades

Waiting for the blades

Siobhan at the cutting gate at Badwater

Siobhan at the cutting gate at Badwater

All hands, AND the cook!

All hands, AND the cook!

docking,shearing crew eating lunch

We all line up for Cassie’s hot lunch!

wool packer moving the bales of wool

wool packer moving the bales of wool

Tiarnan branding for Pepe

Tiarnan branding for Pepe

Antonio truimphant

Antonio truimphant

the view at Cherry Grove

the view at Cherry Grove

Ten pounds lighter

Ten pounds lighter

shearing at last!

shearing at last!

 

 

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Wool

Raw wool

Raw wool

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Sheep

 

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Loading the Wool: Destination China

Loading the Wool: Destination China

Most of the sheep were sheared last May.  Since we didn’t receive any bids on it, we stored it in our new hoop shed, north of Dixon.  Our friendly wool broker, Mike Corn of Roswell Wool, advised us that the market should be active come fall, so we waited for that time.  Sure enough, we sold the wool to a buyer who will ship it to China for further processing.  Here are photos of the wool being loaded onto a truck for California.  Due to California’s Byzantine regulations, this truck will take it to Bakersfield, where it will be reloaded for transport to the port, where it will be loaded again onto a ship.

Wool bags stored in the hoop building

The truck got stuck in the mud and we used the tractor to pull it out.

Timeteo loading the bales onto the tractor

Loading the wool into the semi, where our employees stacked it in an orderly manner.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2012 in Events, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders

 

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