Click go the shears, girls!
Life’s funny, isn’t it? One minute you’re being filmed for TV or mixing with the fashion pack, the next you’re walking through sheep poo. Well, at least that’s how my life was this week.
I was asked to go along as an interpreter with an eco-friendly merino wool company which had some Japanese and Chinese clients out on a field trip. They were visiting sheep farms, and I got to go with them to one just out of Ballarat.
It was very chilly and windy, as you can see. I was wearing a me-made cardigan but you’ll just have to take my word for it, as there was no way I was removing that coat! And no, the flagpole growing out of my head is not a new accessory, although come to think of it, it would be quite unique. Hmm.
Can you see the lake in the background of the photo? Apparently a year or so ago that was just a dustbowl, thanks to the really long drought Australia experienced. I’m sure the green grass that I’m standing on in the picture wouldn’t have been there then, either. And nor would these sheep, as they’re still only young ones…
We got to watch them being shorn…
Apparently this guy can shear 140 sheep a day – and he’s 64!! His record was 240 a day when he was younger. It was interesting to see the sheep just lying back in his capable hands. If they’re not held properly they kick, but good shearers now how to get them to relax. Just like a good hairdresser, I suppose, although I wouldn’t want those clippers anywhere near my head.
Here’s the fleece fresh off the sheep, still full of thistles and goodness knows what. Just considering all the steps and know-how it takes to make a jumper (that’s a sweater for my US readers) is somewhat mind-blowing.
For example, the farmer explained that diet affects the quality of the wool so it’s imperative that the sheep have a stable source of food. He started growing lucerne a few years ago because it has deeper roots than grass and doesn’t get blown away during a drought. And that’s just one aspect of sheep farming. Something to think about next time you buy a woolen jumper! Oh, and for the crafty ones out there who like to make their own, here’s one of the sheep whose wool you’re buying. His fleece can’t be used commercially so it gets sold for handicrafts…
Yep, this one is literally the black sheep of the family!
Oh, and by the way, I was alerted to the fact that those of you on platforms other than Blogger couldn’t post comments on my blog (thanks Katie!), but I’ve hopefully fixed this now, so feel free to drop me a line!