Thursday, March 18, 2010

sheep shearing 101

I signed up for the Sheep Shearing School and I'm more excited than any reasonable person should be. In a few weekends I'll be sitting in the barns at Shelburne Farms with a ewe's back against my stomach learning how to not clip nipples as I give her a haircut. I'll be one of many students, all new shepherds (or new to shearing) wanting a hands-on experience before trying it out on their own flocks. If I get good at it, it could be a skill I could build on and provide it as a service for other small farms around my area. It's hard getting a sheep shearer to come out for just a few animals, a lot of smaller and hobby farms have to wait until the popular shearers can fit them into their schedule. Perhaps I could make a little extra farm income shearing sheep in the spring? Anyway, it's something to think about.

If you're interested in taking the class, it's offered twice in April here in Vermont. Get in touch with the University of Vermont Extension. Classes are April 10th and 24th.

It is in the 60s here now and the weather is driving this gardener crazy. With the move in a few weeks though, my hands are tied. It would be foolish to start hoeing a place I plan on leaving so soon. I want to reserve my energy for the Jackson Farm and all the effort that will go into starting the year new. But hot damn, all I wanted to do this weekend was get out there with a shovel and prepare the ground for lettuce, peas, broc, and potatoes. To temper the anxiety, I started planting seedlings inside. I have a windowsill of tiny greenhouses of future greens, peas, carrots and broccoli. They started to sprout yesterday. Sometimes you just need to make things happen. I'm all for positive thinking, visualization, and all that. But I really think if you want an organic garden don't think about spring greens, plant them.

8 Comments:

Blogger RenĂ© said...

So what's the house news? You got the loan, when is it all "official"?

March 18, 2010 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Several years ago, I was an apprentice at Shelburne Farms. I was mostly focused on growing vegetables, but I remember watching some of the sheep shearing when they had the classes. Its amazing to watch for someone like me who has no experience with it. I am sure it will be even more amazing to learn.

March 18, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

Hand clipping is not that difficult. A woman who sold me some of her sheep showed me how in about a half an hour. Most of it is practice and stamina. Lacking the latter, I'd just as soon hire someone.

March 18, 2010 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger The Milk Maid said...

Shearing for small flock owners I think would be great. If you lived by me I would of hired you because we could not find someone to shear our 1 sheep which kept us from getting a couple more like we wanted.

March 18, 2010 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Good idea starting seedlings indoors- then they'll be ready to plant out in the new place. Otherwise, I'd be packing if I were you- it always takes longer than you think it will.

March 18, 2010 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

That whole packing and moving thing...*shudder*. When you start out, the boxes are neatly packed and meticulously labeled: Hand towels, bath towels, washclothes etc. By the end of it all, you're just throwing stuff into boxes willy-nilly and scrawling "more misc crap" on the outside. Or at least that's how I always ended up.

March 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger E said...

I hope your local shearers are better paid than ours @ $7/sheep! Or maybe shearing school will teach you how to do it faster than I have been able to. It's hard work but fun.

Consider travel time, set up. Make sure you charge for your time if the sheep aren't caught when you get there.

March 19, 2010 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Daphne said...

Everyone is impatient to get g ardening, but you would be better advised to wait until late April to work the ground in southern VT, it's generally too wet before then, and you can mess up soil structure if done too early, see paragraph under "Timing" at http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG_H_01.pdf

March 19, 2010 at 2:30 PM  

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