shearing day, part 2
Whenever I am around professionals in the sheep world I get slightly nervous. I feel like a high school football coach about to chat with a guys donning Super Bowl rings. I worry about what I wear and what I say like I'm on some sort of date. I walked up to them, shoved my hands in my pockets, smiled, and tried to play shepherd. I asked how I could help and what could I carry? They handed me a toolbox and we were off for the pen.
The sheep were not excited to see the new company. They turned skittish. They knew this game. Jim and Liz went about the business of setting up their work area. They laid down some plywood to work on, and changed into shearing shoes. (These weird flat, wool shoes so their feet stayed flat and comfortable.) Then Jim grabbed Maude and Liz grabbed Marvin. Side by side they got their haircuts and manicures. To my complete surprise, Maude was an angel. She was limp as a ragdoll kitten in Jim's hands. Marvin however, fought a bit. He shook his butt on the ground and belted out a few complaints. Sal was last, and fought like a champ, but eventually let Jim finish the job. The whole time I tried to help best I could. I packed wool into bags, helped fetch gear from their boxes, plugged and unplugged stuff at their request...I just tried to be of use. I learned today what a big job this really was. I was grateful professionals were doing this instead of me.
I snapped photos as they worked them over, slightly amazed at how much wool was streaming off their bodies. My books say each 150-pound sheep was packing about ten pounds of wool each. I believed it. When the shearing was done, hooves were trimmed, butts were slapped (of sheep, not people), and the three very silly and naked looking sheep were all pacing in the pen. I thanked Jim and Liz, handed them their check ($49!) and let the trio out into their little pasture. I gave the troops a little hay, scratched their heads and necks, and watched them prance around like little does. They seemed happier without all that wool weighting them down. Then I looked over at my three bags full, propped against the fencing. I stood there grinning, my hands all oily from lanolin proudly on my hips. Sometimes things work out. Not always (hell, rarely) but sometimes.
I had a spring shearing of my own sheep under my belt. I felt rich.
Then, I heard a ruckus in the trees above. A pair of crows landed above me and apparently they had a lot to comment on. I waved to them smiling and went inside. Life rolls.