Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shearing with T & Friends

A couple weeks ago I got to photograph T Yamamoto and her apprentice shear Judy Norris's sheep. 

Getting the ewe into position.  I wish I had a nice harness like that when I scrub out the bathtub...

The harness helps prevent back fatigue which is an inevitable part of this job.  Can you imagine? 

I had a nice view.  I love strong lean nicely defined muscles. 

Oh....what was I talking about?  Oh yes...shearing. 

This ewe was none to pleased about her current situation. 

Shearing was not what she had in mind when she woke up that morning.   This impromptu trip to the beauty parlor was not on her schedule, and she was not afraid to share her thoughts, by fighting.  

T talked to her, and touched her in such a way the ewe visibly calmed down. 

Soothing her into acceptance. 

Together they worked through getting her sheared, with as little stress on the ewe as possible. 

Almost done....

Warning, naked ewe below. 

A few of the ewes had to be sheared by hand, due to a build up of what T called "butter", which prevented the machine shears from easily cutting between the skin and fleece. 

It was fascinating to watch T wield her hand shears.

Note:  T did not have a harness to use. 

It amazed me to see how calm the ewe was as T gently sheared her. 

Carefully working her way through the 'butter' as to not cause the ewe undue pain. 

For thousands of years we have depended on sheep for wool to keep us warm & dry.  Before the advent of machine shearing, this was how it was done. 

We take so much in our modern life for granted.  Where our clothes come from, wool and leather.  Where our meat was raised & died. 

I appreciate sheep.  Something about them grounds me to the earth, my forefathers, history...and oddly enough to the future. 

Sheep are pretty cool...especially after they are sheared.

I think they appreciate it too. 


Karen said...

That's a cool but simple harness! For a few years I did shear our few sheep, so I can relate.
A wonderful feeling, when the shears are sharp and you are doing the length of the sheep and the wool is just peeling back.....:)

Ferreh Hiatt said...

I always have admiration for sheep shearers. I've tried it a few times and it is hard, dirty work - and kind of scary! I can't even imagine using hand shears - I'd be afraid I'd leave that ewe looking like swiss cheese! Hence, I have hair sheep...

Laura L. said...

Great photos. It's never light enough in our barn for good ones. T and her friend obviously know what they're doing-quiet sheep and no nicks.

It's a hard job and my shearer always jokes with me and asks when I'm going to learn to do it myself. As if!

An English Shepherd said...

That looks like very hard work!

Janet said...

I liked this post a lot. Thanks for putting it up.

Versailles Rose said...

Hi there, just want to mention to you that the Border Collies In Action Photo Contest closes on 6/15. I'd love to see one of your pictures win.

The photos of your dogs have brought me such comfort after my dog, Pepper, passed.