Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Sheep shearing

After some adventures with the car (the double-V belt slipped off) and taking the ferry to Wellington in the midst of the night, I finally arrived in Taihape on Jan 5th.

Chris welcomed me at his "little" sheep farm. 1200 sheep he has, on a piece of land 4 km in diameter. And this is called "little"?!


Chris riding on the quad, flanked by one of his dogs.



My friend Karolin planted these threes a few years ago. They are growing well, Chris said. He built a fence around the trees and expects they will become beautiful big trees in 20 years.



We like to have clean wool, but sheep can be dirty at times, with poop sticking to the wool. So we were going to "clean" them, i.e. shave the mess off their butts. First we whipped a flock into a shed, from which smaller groups were led to a smaller room and finally to the torture room one by one.



Sheep are ever unmanageable creatures, except when they are lying on their back with all legs sticking into the air! So the first step is to turn the beasts upside down. A lamb can be handled quite easily with one hand, but the bigger monsters need some pressure to get them in the right position. First you had to grab the head with your left hand and bend it 180 degrees to the right, then push your right knee to their back and at the same time pull the body downwards and towards you; if necessary kicking their back legs out; next you had to grab his long breast hair and pull 'em upwards, idling the upper legs as well and now even the fiercest orc becomes tame as lamb!



Here you see Chris doing the actual job. I also mimicked shaving one sheep for the picture (see gallery). I am a sheep farmer now, says Chris. Awesome!



We also visited one of the sheep wool shearing barns. This one is next to his house; the sheep are actually his neighbour's, but a sheep is a sheep, right?!



In the afternoon we visited Mike and Adele's place, who had built a group of beautiful little houses and sheds all by themselves. They also grow a number of vegetables.



Mike lets the bees (and the worms) work for him. Good craftmanship, I'd say!

Thanks Chris for the very interesting experience out there!

Photo gallery

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