Thursday, 25 July 2013

The 'milk clip'.

Shearing feels like the largest single event in the Treshnish farming calendar.  Two days of moving sheep in and out of fields, back gathering before the gather, and the gathering itself.  Before those 2 days are several days of watching XCweather forecasts.  Then, with the sheep safely gathered in, an anxious day or two hoping no one leaves a gate open which might let the sheep back to the hill, followed by a day in the  fank (see below) sorting different lots of ewes, treating and counting the lambs and then moving them back to their respective fields to wait for the shearers to arrive.   

Eild ewes and gimmers were clipped in June so they were given a treatment against fly (the slight pink tinge on their fleeces).

And finally, moving the last pen out into the park again.

Then there is the actual shearing itself.  It was really hot yesterday. The shearing trailer had been parked up at the road end a couple of nights ago.  The shearers arrived at 7.30 to set it all up and by 8am they were pulling the first 2 ewes out of the race and onto the platform, to begin.  

It was hot inside the shed but at least it was out of the sun.

Iain T, the singing shepherd, had shearing help from abroad this year.  John, from Donegal, had a gentle way of handling the sheep and it was great to watch.

Daughter was helping moving the fleeces, whilst Farmer rolled them and packed them into the bags.

Many meals and cups of tea and cans of cold beer or coke timed the day, ending with strawberries from the polytunnel picked into a bowl made by Charlotte Mellis, our neighbour up the hill.

There is a palpable sense of relief in the house now that is over!

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