Today's folklore photos come from last week when we had the opportunity to watch and assist in sheep shearing. Dale, Rachael, and I were able to stop in to see and photograph the process of removing the woolen fleece of a sheep with shears. The sheep in this flock were mostly Icelandic and are shorn or sheared by hand with blade shears twice a year. Once in the spring, and again in the fall. This sheep shearer often keeps the wool to spin, and then knit products for herself, family, and friends.
Shearing the back and rump
Dale assisting with the shearing process by holding Luna the sheep steady
Yesterday evening Tolson Rendell of Heart's Content invited me to observe him shearing one of his sheep. It is a tradition that only two people in the town still practice, the other being his good friend Jack Smith. Tolson will be putting his animals out to pasture for the summer this coming weekend, so has lots of work to do before then. It usually takes him just over 2 hours to fully shear a sheep, and he uses scissors rather than electric shears because he believes them to be safer for the animal. He takes his time and makes sure to do a thorough job. Tolson clearly loves his animals and exclaimed "Isn't nature wonderful!" more than once during my visit. There were many newborns animals around the yard, and I couldn't help but notice how happy Tolson was to see them running around. This photo shows the mother sheep named Black being watched by her new lamb, who wasn't very patient about waiting for this whole shearing thing to be done.