Archive: February 2014   |   View all recent posts

02.17.14Personal

A Sheep Shearing Adventure at Rising Meadow Farm




M
y wife Karen and her best friend Carol -- of whom I affectionally refer to as winkin’ and blinkin’, invited me along to a sheep shearing at Rising Meadow Farm in Liberty last Saturday morning. I’m not known to be an early riser especially on Saturdays so... when the alarm clock blasted at 6:30, I jumped out of bed, grabbed my pistol, and looked for someone to shoot. After a few seconds I realized it was Saturday morning and time to get ready for the big adventure. I got dressed, had breakfast and walked outside. It was cold, wet, and windy...three winter weather elements that I detest. I began to doubt my commitment but I knew how privileged I was to share time with winkin‘ and blinkin’. (They are pretty stingy with their time together). I also knew that I wasn’t there for my intellect or charm, I was merely a chauffeur with a camera, a camera that was a step above an iPhone. By the way, I refuse to make photos with an iPhone. Substituting an iPhone for a camera is like substituting a kazoo for a trumpet, in my humble opinion. We picked blinkin’ up at her house and made our way to our destination. When we arrived at the farm my curiosity got the best of me and I soon forgot about the weather. It was so interesting watching Flavia, Joy, and Kevin work. Flavia is from Switzerland and is on a temporary visa in the U.S. She was the sheep wrangler. Joy shears sheep part-time because of her love for the farm, working full-time as a physical therapist. Kevin is the master, shearing sheep full-time, traveling all over the world for work and competition. I love to watch people do things in which they excel. Kevin made the task look so effortless. I know enough about animals that it’s tough to put a four-legged animal on the ground but, with fancy footwork and proper hand position Kevin was able to shear sheep all day long without a hint of exhaustion. After about a hundred sheep were sheared everyone was invited to the farmhouse for a delicious meal of lamb chili, squash soup, homemade bread, and dessert. Sheep shearing is done on the farm every year and open to the public. Here is the link to their website so you can see the many things they have to offer. I know I’ll be going back...hope to see you there as well.


Flavia wrangles the sheep to Kevin and Joy. It's not as easy as it may look. There are a set of instructions on how to do it. You can find those instructions in a book written by Kevin. You can find the book by searching Kevin Ford sheep shearer on Amazon.com. Kevin is a very interesting person you will enjoy reading about him.


Kevin places his hand under the sheeps head, then with careful foot placement he is able to put the sheep gently on it's bottom.






Keeping the shears sharp is very important!



Joy and Kevin work side by side.






Kevin's work box. Tools to sharpen and maintain the shears. Medicine and sewing material in case of cuts.


Waiting their turn.


Llamas keep the sheep safe from predators.


Winkin' and Blinkin' getting their hands in the wool.


The sheep have names. I wonder if this one was a singer.



Looking spiffy after a winters cut. Kevin only shears the sheep with hand shears. They don't cut as close to the skin leaving a little wool to keep the sheep warm through the rest of the winter.



A good pair of specialty shoes makes the job easier.







02.06.14Children/Families

The Styers




Happy to photograph once again one of my favorite families, Brian and Cynthia and their beautiful children. Thanks guys!


























 

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