Last Tuesday was a big day for the flock and not before time as it was getting hot and it was time for a hair cut. Phil our shearer came on time for an 8.30am start and the ewes were all nice and dry as we had sheded them over night. The wool must be dry when it is packed or else it will go mouldy and rot. Also shearers are fussy and don't like getting wet either. As the sheep had their lambs with them we sorted them out so as not to get in the way of the job and they waited for their mums to be sheared outside the barn though the noise they made it seemed as though they were right next to us.Phil is an experienced Australian shearer and though he is not as quick as in his younger days he does a nice tidy job. It made for a pleasant day with time to visit and tell tall tales over tea.
Once the fleece is off it is cast on a skirting table where it is cleaned up, any muck and plant material is removed and then the fleece is rolled up and put into a large jute wool sack which I hung from the front end loader. The wife had me save a couple of good fleeces for her hand spinning projects and the rest will be shipped to the wool growers co-op, where it will be graded and sold on to woolen mills.The wool has very little value depending on its grade from 20cents/lb to $1/lb and is usually a cost to the farmer rather than an income source. This of course is tough to believe when you go and buy a wool sweater, but as with all farm and ranch products all the money ends up in the middle mans and retailers pockets. I will save the economic rant for my other blog, when I calm down enough to write it!