Wednesday 15 July 2009

Drying the washing

have you ever struggled to get the washing on the line, dried and off again before getting wet? If you have then you'll appreciate the frustrations facing Shep and Co at the moment. The weather is slightly disappointing to say the least and getting sheep dry enough to clip is a struggle (that's an understatement!)Bare fields are always a help to dry sheep in as the long grass isn't there for them to brush their wool against, you have to keep them on their feet to give the skirts and bellies a chance to catch the wind and help them dry off. Hours can be spent with wet sheep, herding them around trying to catch whatever air there is. Heat is helpful and sharp dries the backs off but with the blackfaced sheep having long flowing wool it can take more than sun on their backs to dry them.

The sheep are run into a shed as a shower approaches, being let out again once it has passed until the next shower arrives and in they go again. In weather such as we are having at the moment it is not unheard of to commence shearing in the mid/late afternoon - makes for a long day and late finish. It has also been known to get caught by a shower and should it be heavy enough and wets the sheep enough then basically you just have to wait till tomorrow arrives and try again.

Some are lucky enough to be able to house the sheep overnight in a shed. Should the weather blow out mid afternoon and sheep be dry by evening they are run into the shed and so long as the shed doesn't spring a leak they will be dry and ready to clip first thing in the morning. However you go about the job, it is all time consuming and frustrating. Fortunately the shearing season around here is getting well through, many were able to take advantage of the better weather earlier on, small consolation though for those still trying to get their sheep clipped.