This past Saturday we sheared all the sheep for spring. Several were sheared at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival as part of the shearing demonstration by Emily Chamelin (she is so cool! World-known shearer who competes internationally in sheep shearing... yes that is a real thing! http://chamelinshearing.com/), but the rest at home needed to be done before summer.
Because we consider ourselves a "show flock", we shear twice a year, based on our show schedule. We aim to have a minimum of 12 weeks of wool growth for each show. This is obviously not possible for every show, so our shearing schedule is based around our biggest shows: Maryland in May, and the Big E and New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in September and October. This means that we shear right before Christmas in December, and then again in May.
Every time we shear, there's usually an audience. This time is was my uncle and aunt from Kansas who were visiting for the weekend. My friend who does it for us is pretty used to that by now. Each sheep takes about 5-10 minutes depending on their size and how "squirmy" they are. We then quickly "skirt" the fleece, meaning we go through it to pick out any organic material and unwanted wool. We generally pick out the leg wool and the belly wool, as they do not have as high quality as the rest of the wool. Whatever we don't want gets thrown out, and the good part gets bagged and weighed for selling.
Because we just sheared, we have plenty of raw fleeces for sale ranging from lighter charcoal in color to dark black, both lamb and adult fleeces. Contact us if interested. Fleeces are $10.00/lb.
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, has a passion for Lincoln sheep and loves educating others about her breed and farm, She currently serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.