shearing time - Oliver and Abraham's

you may remember mckenzie from a post back in january when i thought i could be ambitious enough to bake a cake every week. oliver and abraham's  is her charming and witty and honest farm blog about the life she shares with her partner jamie. i would very much recommend a visit over to her if you haven't already.  here she is on longest acres today writing about a farm chore i hope very much to dive into this year; shearing.

When Kate asked me to write about my animals, I couldn't figure out what to do! I've been really lazy about taking pictures of them lately. Jamie (my partner in crime) has been herding them this week by bicycle... that would have made for a pretty hilarious post, but alas, my camera is nowhere to be found when he gets the whim. Finally it dawned on me that I should write about shearing time, since it's getting so near. These pictures are from last year on Memorial Day. I can't believe we gave them haircuts so late! They were hot and stinky. We got 16 pounds of wool from Bill Murray alone!

I guess before I get into details about shearing, I should tell you a little bit about how and why we became sheep and alpaca "farmers." We were living in a rental farmhouse with 2.5 acres of land, working at the local grocery store, and dreamily trying fulfill our dream of living of the land. One day while scrolling through Craigslist, I found an ad for two rescue-alpacas. They were only $100 each, which is absolutely unheard of. Most alpacas are in the thousands of dollars. Of course, these were unregistered and male... but that didn't matter because alpacas are the most magical-dinosaur-unicorn-creatures ever... We named them Oliver and Abraham. A year later we found Boots the Babydoll Sheep on Craigslist. We got him because he was tiny and adorable. Since he was still young, we decided to give him a more appropriate name, Bill Murray. Wouldn't you?

Back then, we weren't really thinking about why we were going to keep alpacas and sheep. We just thought they were awesome. Obviously that's not very responsible, but it did lead us down a path we're both very pleased with. Last summer we were given five more sheep. So now we're supposed to figure out how to use their wool. For the past year I've been slowly picking through the tangles and hay. I'll be honest. I hate that part. The carding is awesome. I haven't yet gotten to spinning, but seeing how I like instant gratification, somehow I think I'll love it. The solution to better picking is definitely going to be an investment in sheep jackets. They're lightweight coats that the sheep wear to prevent "vegetable matter" from getting into their wool. (Since we don't need dishes or silverware, we added them to our wedding registry... naturally...) 

For the past few years we've hired someone to shear the animals for us, but I read about how electric shears cut the wool too close to the skin and can cause the sheep to get a sunburn. On Friday I caved in and invested in a pair of non-electric wool shears. They're cheaper than what it would cost to pay someone anyway. I'm not sure I'll be completely successful (and I know they won't look very pretty) but I'm going to give it a go! After watching dozens of YouTube videos, it seems that getting the sheep to sit on their fat, wooly rumps is the key. So check in at Oliver and Abrahams over the next couple of weeks. I promise you, Jamie will be laughing at me the whole time and taking loads of embarrassing pictures. Oh, and Abraham will most likely be spitting green slime in my face while I'm shearing Bill Murray. He's in love with that silly sheep...

thank YOU mckenzie!


  1. Heehee - I love that sheep jackets are on your registry!!

  2. wow, those photos are really amazing. I have alpaca jealousy.

  3. i used to love shearing time. soft soft hands!

  4. oh my, look at all that wool! 16 pounds off one sheep!!! i love the sheep coats on the registry :)

  5. I can't wait until shearing time! There's about 130 sheep at the farm my boyfriend and I are interning on, boy are their wool a lot of work! The sheep jackets seem awesome.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...