Fall shearing is always bittersweet. Bitter because it means the departure of a good portion of the Spring lambs to the butcher.
Sweet because it never fails to bring the farm together for a few hours....for a happy chaotic union of paws, horns, beaks, and fleece.
"The mountain sheep are sweeter, but the valley sheep are fatter. We therefore deemed it meeter to carry off the latter."
The day was made lovely by a misty drizzle. It was Jane Austen weather. The kind of weather that swells the heart, crinkles the nose in delightful ways, and gives even the dullest soul thoughts of writing a novel in one's slippers. The kind of day that makes you hang around the kitchen and rebell at the thought of tromping out in the gray dampness....but once you do, you soften into a gentle sort of happiness.
The cats were laying about in the lotiony fleeces...
the curious laying ladies came about...grabbing up grain for themselves....
the sheep would playfully nose them...distracted by the stress of a smaller enclosure and the buzzing of the electric shears.
Melba loves the camera.
To look at her, is to understand the essence of a warm and dear (and slightly pudding-y) Grandma.
But once shorn, she is (in the words of farmer Shane) a veritable SPRING CHICKEN, galumphing about as if she was not but a little lamb...ready for a first mating.
8 years ago I found a small note tucked into my College mailbox...I unfolded my curious and mysterious little epistle and found scrawled these words by St. Exupery from The Little Prince:
"If someone wants a sheep, then that means he exists."
and I must confess a romantic attachment to them ever since. There is nothing you want to lunge for a grab and cuddle more than a sheep when it has been newly shorn.
chocolate, fresh from her hair cutting appt.