I have been asking myself how many times I've finished the clipping season this year, it is fair to say my celebrations on the 16th August were indeed just somewhat premature. Friday 24th August saw me once again conclude the season may well be over, however, I kept the revelation to myself - not wishing to tempt providence y'know!
Sure enough, that gut feeling proved right again and another 'phone call saw a return to the clipping boards on the 2nd September, although I will be honest and admit to passing the buck, got someone else to do the clipping and Shep did the handling. I did clip one or two it is fair to say to give the guy a break as there were more sheep to clip than we had anticipated and really, Shep ought to have had her machine there to shorten the day, but hey ho, it got over.
There was a feeling of relief. Surely that has got to be the end, has it not? Aargh! There was another 'phone call......... Commitments to dip and spaen sheep meant I was unavailable for a day or two and phew! The sheep got themselves clipped with out my interference.
I feel that at long last I can safely say that the clipping season is over for 2012, I know I will still clip an odd one, those that missed the gathers will find hand shears taking their wool off, hopefully there will just be odd ones and no more. At least with the hand shears more wool will be left on their backs as unlike electric clipping where you follow the sheeps body, with hand shears you follow the rise. The rise is the depth of new wool growth. Hand shearing sees you clipping at the base of the old wool which ensures plenty of wool is left on the sheeps back at this time of year as they have a decent rise of new wool - a different and slower challenge than electric shearing, an art in itself and clipping odd ones is no great hardship.
I laughed to myself when the clipping came to a close, my final real days clipping was on Swaledale hoggs. Hoggs are last years lambs, they are the first sheep that are clipped in the season. It was the 2nd of June when I commenced clipping this season, on Swaledale hoggs, two and a half months and 2,800 sheep later I finished the season on Swaledale hoggs! Can't say that has ever happened before, but as the saying goes, "there's a first time for everything!"
Just shows what a topsy turvy season it has been!
On the subject of topsy turvy, I want to share with you the following photo. Not a good one as it was taken in the dark of night and with the help of some quick fix button on the computer it has enhanced the shot to enable us to get an idea of what exactly it is. I'm calling it a moonbow. Nowt terribly rare about such a thing as I have revelled in their amazing beauty before but it does seem topsy turvy to see rainbows in the dark of night
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