Also because of Saturday being Sunday for me, yesterday was Saturday and I went shearing. Three clients, three breeds of sheep, and a lovely sun(burn)ny day. I am keeping the sunscreen folks in business single handedly at the moment.
First up were some Suffolks. Or, supposedly they were first up. They didn't have them in when I got there, and the sheep took one look at me and went "OH HELL NO!" and took off down the paddock. Because sheep social structure isn't that different from our own, sheep have the ability to remember human faces for a long time, and they recognise me. This is not news to me - and pretty much all sheep I've dealt with once before will avoid me in future. However, it's news to most people because most people think sheep are stupid. More fool them.
So they didn't have their sheep in and the sheep disappeared at high speed on sight of me, and trying to get them in was fruitless, and they learned something. Meanwhile, I took off down the road to shear some others and give them a chance to sort themselves out, so first up was actually Romneys. Romneys that hadn't been shorn for 18 months, and one of which had a full 8 inch staple. It was beautiful.
Then, back to the Suffolks who had succumed to their innate greed and the lack of my face, and were ready to go. After their original recalcitrance, they sat there like lumps and just let me shear them and it was so very un-traumatic that you wonder what all the fuss was about. But anyway, they were obviously feeling better with their wool off, and taking full advantage of the opportunity to have a good scratch:
It must be hard, having a thick woolly blanket between your itches and the scratchy things for 80% of the time...
Meanwhile, off to Pauatahanui for some Arapawas. These ones are purebreds and so they don't grow a lot of wool. A full year's fleece only has a staple length of about two inches, but it's fine like Merino wool and a deep, deep charcoal colour. Here's the pile at the end:
These people actually use it as mulch, because black wool that short isn't really worth anything to sell, and these sheep are true feral in type so they have what's called 'hairy britch' - where guard hairs appear through the wool all down the rump and hind legs. It's a feral thing and I've no idea what purpose it serves, but the Arapawa sheep have been feral for over 100 years so they've had a good chance to revert. Here they are, wondering where their hairy britches went:
You'll note that some of them have horns. They are wethers - the rams grow the fully curly ones and the ewes have stubs, but the wethers get these little goaty ones. Which might explain this strange phenomenon:
Normally I get large bruises around my lower shins and ankles, but this time I have this smattering of tiny ones all over the insides of my knees and upper calves. I can only think it's from the horns. I also have a nice one on my sternum where one chap thought he'd use his head like a hammer and got me hard enough to make me let go. Frickin Merinos and their aiming!
It's kind of hard going from one breed to another like that - they all have different body shapes, wool types and attitudes and it always takes one or two to get back into the swing of how these particular ones are. One of my favourite days is when I do one guy's Perendales - he's got 50 or so of them and I get to spend a whole day doing sheep that are all the same. It's a real treat, and makes me feel like a proper shearer and everything.
We were all done by 2 in the afternoon, so after I got home there was still a bit of day left, which I spent doing my washing (again - shearing clothes are stinky and you can't leave them hanging round or your whole house will smell like sheep) and having conversations with dragons about time travel. True fax!
And then we watched Pitch Perfect. There were so many wrong things about that movie but I still found it highly amusing and the singing was pretty bloody cool. Weirdly enough, one of my clients for the day had been telling me about how a capella and barbershop are getting really big here too. It's a Thing.
Apparently there was a Christmas parade? I think I missed it.
 I have this friend. On here she's perseph12. She's very smart, funny and caring and one of my favourite folks to read, because she's always interesting. She also has adult-onset epilepsy, and I've watched as it has done it's damndest to mess up her life. And yet, she hasn't let it, mostly by sheer force of will. Now, she's trying to find ways to get it under control. But it's expensive - $5000 expensive. Here's a thing where you can help her out. Normally I don't post these things but perseph12 is awesome and she really deserves a break.