"If people tell you sheep shearing is easy, you can tell them they lie."
-John Seymour, lovable British father of modern self-sufficiency
Um. Yep. I think that's put rather well.
Except...that it really is rather fun, once you've lost your inhibitions, and just tackle the buggers.
I think football players ought to train by visiting farms across the state during shearing time.
Oddly enough, our impressive Ram, Durin, was the doll of them all, with no lambs to worry about, he was quite docile, letting me pin his gorgeous rack to the ground while he very sedately accepted the absurdity of his hoofs in the air...
The ewes had all sorts of anxieties about their babies, and would put up quite the fight when they were pressed to it by the pitiful bleating of their little'uns.
For you curious folk, a sheep on its bottom seems completely unable to do anything but marvel at the wonder of the sensation...and so, we found a little mantra does you the trick:
"RUMP, BACK, EAR." That is: Get them on their rump, keep them on their back, and persuade them with a little tug on the ear.
It really is something to see this dignified ruminant nose to the clouds...
The shearing, as all farm works, has given rise to some thought about necessity. I've been dithering about all my life, making excuses for why I don't knit. "Oh, I haven't the patience for it!" Well, after wrangling those lovely icelandics to the ground, and holding them in all sorts of not so lovely positions, and receiving some nice little hoof marks in all bodily nooks and crannies, I have come to the conclusion that our industrial economy insulates us from need, from the need of each other, from the need to make our own clothes, to grow our own food, to KNIT OUR OWN WOOL....but the sweaty enterprise of a very hot May morning pulls things back into perspective:
I JOLLY WELL WILL LEARN TO KNIT THAT WOOL BY JINGO!
On another note: The lambs are all filling in quite nicely. The pastures have sent up all sorts of nice clovers and grasses. How those thunderstorms do help things along!