Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grace Valley Farms 2011 Shearing Day

Shearing Day is probably the busiest and most important day of the year for Grace Valley Farms.  All the prayers, planning, preparation, work, care, assistance, and challenges are realized on this Day.  Friendships and the associated willing hands are key to making Shearing Day successful.  As the sheep were shorn and the fleeces brought to the skirting table, many oohs, aahs, and wows were exclaimed!  The beauty and variety of God's creation are evident in the naturally-colored wool ... from bright white, to silvers with a bluish cast, all different shades of gray, chocolates with a hint of brown, charcoals, and black with and without silver strands ... WOW!  We wish there was some way all of you could see and feel the marvels of wool.  To give you a glimpse of the excitement and beauty, please enjoy the following photos.

Early in the morning, we brought all our girls into the Barn near the shearing floor to await the start.

Benjamin and others assisted the shearer mount the shearing motor.  The motor turns a rotating shaft which in turn powers the shears.  Bright lighting was provided to assist him in his important role;  some thought it looked like a surgery room!

Dale was the first sheep to be sheared. Everyone had a job assignment.

Dinah being shorn while Carolyn waits her turn in the chute.

Belvedere's fleece being worked on by the ladies of the skirting team.  This initial skirting removes most of the wool which does not meet our standards for quality and cleanliness.

Heather, one of our full-blood Hampshires being shorn.  She is a big girl!

DonnaLisa being shorn, while the men of the shearing crew look on.  Each of their roles is critical in ensuring proper care for the sheep and a quality product for our customers.

Doug throws Desibelle's fleece out on the skirting table.  A good throw will lay the fleece out on the table with only minor adjustments to the position on the table.

Mid-way through shearing, we stopped and took a break.

There were juice drinks, coffee, and muffins available for the mid-morning snack.

Ashley and Bekah enjoy shearing day.

Hannah, Hattie, and Dale enjoy their breakfast;  they were not quite sure if they enjoyed their haircuts!

Immediately after a sheep was sheared, Doug and Robert skirted off the head and belly wool.  Here, they are working on Daniel's fleece.

Aaron, Nathan, and Benjamin were the Un-coating crew;  they were instrumental in queuing the sheep, removing coats, and ensuring the next sheep was always ready.

Carolyn, one of our Romney-Hampshire cross ewes being sheared.  The Coating crew is on the left.  The Sweepers, in the background, had the important job of keeping the shearing floor clean.

The Skirting Team in action (background). With such a big crew, it is important to be organized.  Sample bags and identification tags (foreground).

The ladies of the skirting team hard at work on Daisy's fleece.

As the day proceeded, more of the girls joined in a nice meal of green hay!

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