Click go the shears…
The shears were clicking today. If you listened to the song, it will require a whole other post from me to translate the different Aussie terms used, so we might leave that for another time. Suffice to say it’s an iconic tune that sums up the agricultural history of Australia beautifully.
What you see below is what this farmer’s wife (would-be novelist) does when she’s asked to…
Looking out across the dry, empty paddocks now the sheep are in the shed and undercover for shearing over today and the next day or so.
Yarding the sheep.
No fancy clothes, Hermes scarves, nailpolish and brand names here…
Some of the ewes undercover ready for tonight in case there is a heavy dew. They must be dry for shearing.
The shearer hangs in a sling to protect against back injury and works with electric shears.
The sheep are shorn annually and are quite used to it. They may not like being naked so much but they go willingly into the yards and shed and the shearers know their trade. We don’t use dogs at the moment. Our Wonder Dog – a proper Scots Border Collie – died and we haven’t replaced him.
Rousabout works at the table, skirting the fleece (pulling off the dirty grubby skirt). The skirtings are baled separately and used by processors for things like socks. The skirted fleece is then placed in these bins, waiting for my son to press into bales. This is the wonderful merino fleece loved across the globe by Italian and Chinese spinning mills.
Some of the rams waiting to be taken to the shed. Our rams are Border Leicesters used for producing a nice little first-cross lamb. The Borders’ fleeces will be baled separately so they don’t contaminate the merino fleeces.
Bright white sheep off shears.
Back into the kitchen at 5 PM to get our dinner and make next lot of slices/cakes for tomorrow’s smokoes. Smoko is an antiquated term from the 50’s/60’s when the tea break at 9.30 AM and 3PM was indeed a smoking break. Not many shedhands and shearers smoke these days. Although our rousie snuck off to have a puff today! Shearers used to have a hot meal in the middle of the day provided by the grazier’s wife. Now they opt for light meals like sandwiches and rolls. Thank the stars!