Last weekend i went back to the Black Sheep Creamery to help out sheep shearing. Last time I went up there, I fell in love with the place immediately and couldnt wait to get my hands dirty. 6am saturday morning my friends Molly, her husband Steve and Stacey drove up in the dark to see what we could do. I knew that the ladies would all need to be sheered, the wool skirted, vaccines given and hooves trimmed. I had no idea how we would be involved in that adventure.
Of course we arrive ready for anything and are greeted by the lovely Meg and Brad Gregory with hot coffee and warm scones. without much ado, we are led into the barn and put to work. All 90 sheep are in the barn looking slightly weary but curious and gentle.
Jewel and Brutus the biggest dogs i have ever seen, are leaping around the farm looking for some love and Paddy is showing off her best OCD qualities with a block of slobbery wood.
Stacey and I started the day by skirting the wool that had been sheered from the sheep. we had to lay out the wool and pick out all the nasties. We were told to be brutal but it was so hard to through any of that wool away. it was so beautiful and warm from their bodies. After the wool is skirted it is rolled up and placed in a plastic bag, labeled with the sheep number and tossed up to the loft where the bags are opened to dry out. Apparently wool is completely different when the Ewe is going to lamb in the spring. It is important to get the wool shorn before lambing season because the wool is at its weakest at that point. Makes sense to me, all the important stuff has to be used for the milk and nourishment of mama and sweet baby.
after the sheep are sheered , they are brought over for hoof trimming and a vaccination of Vitamin E. This will give them energy and strength for the season to come. Finally the barn door is slid open and the rather disheveled lady is smacked on the rump and set free. They generally did this with their tongue sticking out and a final Baaaaa!
i went outside when the sun came out and found this girl getting some sun on her body, i knew exactly how good she felt at that moment and her sweet face was blissed out.
For lunch we all sat down at the farm table for black bean lamb chili with grated pecorino from the creamery!
we had gorgeous weather and only 2 sheep got a nick form the sheers. The sheerer was AMAZING! that is one tough job.
Another tough job that looked so easy was the actual wrastling of the ladies into the holding pen. OH MY GOD, it was insane. after getting one sheep wound through the rest to the other side of the barn, i was gasping for air and sweating. no matter what you hear about the brainless antics of a sheep, if they dont want to go somewhere, they will not go. period.
At the end of the day we got a tour of the farm and the creamery and got to taste all the cheese.
YUMMMEEEE! I also bought some Feta, Pecorino and Tomme. The pecorino went into my Risotto last night. The day was lovely and we went home happy and exhausted.