The last day of 2012 was spent shearing the sheep. An annual task, this is not as romantic as it sounds. In fact it is really hard work, and for me, a baptism by fire.
Preparations started the day before with rams, sheep and lambs separated and brought up to the house paddocks into the pens adjacent to the shearing sheds. Although the lambs are now at least half the size of their Mums, and most are weaned, they are still closely bonded. As such the separation caused some angst and much talking.
The process itself is a little fraught with animals moved from the main paddock with quad bike and dog, then sorted via a run and a chute with lambs and sheep separated by a gate operated by someone whose task it is to swing the gate directing sheep one direction and lambs the other. With almost 180 animals to process, this is a challenging task. The sheep don't always do what they are meant to either which further complicates things. Sometimes they come through in multiples, other times they bottle neck and need to be pushed through and yet other times the come through in reverse! I have seen this sheep sorting take place on tv and it isn't as easy as it looks! Once sorted though everyone settled quietly enough for the night, ready for a big day's shearing.