Monday, March 06, 2006

I couldn't have said it better...

Elaine (at EZasPi) posted the following to that List and I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd share it with you. I checked with Elaine and with Pegg Thomas (the author)and was told it's OK to share as long as I credit Bella Online. We'll be shearing March 25th, so the timing is perfect.....

by: Pegg Thomas
Bella Online's Spinning Editor
Why Most Spinners Purchase Their Wool

Don't get me wrong, I love being a shepherd. I love everything about
it. But there are times when I wonder at the sanity connected to those
of us who raise sheep. Let me explain.
Last week in -13 F temperatures, I was helping a ewe towel off twin
lambs at 5:30am. It was a race against nature to get them dry enough
not to freeze. After my third change of gloves (a good shepherd always
has 2 or 3 pairs of dry gloves stuffed in their coveralls) and several
towels that were freezing stiff, I gave up and put the lambs in a box.
I waded through snow drifts well above my knees to get the lambs into
the house where I could get them warm and dry. (And find more gloves.)
After an hour in the warm house they were dry, warm and crying for
MaaaaMaaaa. So back out into the storm I go, wading through drifts and
battling winds with my arms full of a box that keeps wobbling all over
with active lambs.
Normal spinners call me on the phone and ask, "Do you have fleece for
sale, Pegg? I'm running low." They do this without wading through
drifts, without pulling off freezing wet gloves and with no birthing
fluids soaking into their knees.

Another ewe, just a yearling, delivered twins to the surprise of both
of us. I was surprised because yearlings normally have singles. She
was surprised because `those things' came out of her! She was looking
at me as if to say, "no way!" I was encouraging her and telling her,
"way!" This went on for about an hour. She was particularly sure that
`those things' were not supposed to go anywhere near her udder. I was
equally sure that they should. I'm awfully glad nobody was around with
a video camera at the time. With patience and persistence things
eventually got worked out.
Normal spinners e-mail me and ask, "Did you shear EweReka yet? I
really liked spinning her fleece from last year." They do this without
getting bruised by a nervous new mom who tramples over the top of them
trying to get away from `those things.'
Most ewes just go about the business of delivering their lambs without
any interference from me. I keep my eye on them, make sure everything
progresses normally and try to stay out of their way until the lambs
are born. They know I'm near and for the most part just ignore me. But
occasionally after repeated attempts to push out a lamb there will be
a change in the ewe's voice. She'll give a strident sort of baaa. To
the untrained ear, it just sounds like "baaa!" To the experienced
shepherd, it is translated into, "are you just going to stand over
there looking stupid or are you going to do something!?!" At that
point it's time to lend a helping hand. This requires removing your
arms from the nice, warm overalls and pushing a nice, warm sleeve up
to your elbow leaving a goose bump covered arm to go exploring with.
Sorting out tangled twins or triplets is a necessary part of being a
shepherd but slides far down the list of fabulous things to do on a
Saturday night.
Normal spinners ask me to send my fleeces on to the processor for them
so they don't have to deal with the "dirty stuff." If they only knew.

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