Shearing, Part II

After a long day in the plot that Saturday, Big Brother had more work on his hands.

He had sheep to shear.

Here, DR is heading them off into the fank on the machair. See Jenny Miracle?

What would they do without my wee fella out on the left flank? 

Laurie was taking all these photos. At this point, I think my body had told me in no uncertain terms that enough was enough. Laurie is made of sterner stuff!

It was such a calm night, and the machair flowers are beginning to bloom.

Despite the temperatures trying to fool us, it must be approaching summer after all.

Is that a bag of crisps the Wee Guy has in his hand? 

Sheep. Crisps. Such high levels of hygeine.

Now, this is where I need to check some facts with BB.

These are the sheep that are going to be 'shown' at the shows this summer. For that reason, he doesn't use the electric clippers he used on the rams in the last shearing post.

He uses the hand shears. The old fashioned way.
Hang on until I ask him another question:  

Why use the hand shears on these, when you used the  electric clippers on the rams the other day?

 "I use the hand shears on the sheep with lambs. You can't shear them too early because it affects their milk production. When they're cold, the energy their bodies get from the food they eat is used to keep their bodies warm, rather than for producing milk. 

The machine goes really close whereas with the hand shears, I can leave more wool on them." 

Well, you learn something new ever day.

And this is the way the Wee Guy felt about it all...

On top of the world.

PS: Over the past week or two, I've had some questions left in the comments. Instead of trying to answer them with other comments, I'm going to put the questions - and the answers - in a post, which I'll post later this week. The questions range from crofty things (on which I'm an expert, of course) to general island life to homeschooling questions to blog questions. If there is anything you'd like to ask, please leave a question in the comments, and I'll try and get through as many as I can. 


  1. Really admire shepherds that are good with the hand shears... beautiful pictures!

  2. Many, many years ago when my mother was a child, her father raised sheep. I was fortunate enough to get his hand shears. I look at them and UNDERSTAND how they work, but the idea that a person can actually shear a not-so-cooperative animal with these is AMAZING! Thanks for the education!

    My question for your post is, are you really as isolated there on the Isle of Lewis as it appears on Google Maps? I'm not meaning to say it Is a bad thing, but you folks are a LONG, LONG way from even any place in your own country! How does that make your daily life harder AND easier?

  3. Your pictures look great. What an opportunity for your son to help and watch the whole process. My son said he wishes he could have a cow so he could milk it. So funny. He would probably love to have sheep, too.

  4. The Wee Guy looks so cute, up on that post! Great ending to a great post. I love learning new things, and am fascinated w/ your way of life over there. I'm afraid to ask, what is your average temperature this time of year? And also, when are you coming to the states so we can go on a road trip exploring mountains together??? ;o)

  5. Loved all the photos and the interesting info! My family raised sheep, though ours were "hair sheep"! We'd never heard of such a thing till we started researching which type of sheep we'd want to raise for meat. And we found that hair sheep do not have to be shorn, ever; they will simply "shed" their hair when it gets hot, rather like dogs! And they were fun to raise! And my word, the lamb is wonderful eatin'! Seriously! I LOVE lamb and ours was just superb! :) Thanks for posting such interesting blogs, and thanks for the beautiful photos!

  6. Such fun facts to be found!
    That "on top of the world" guy is SOOO CUTE!
    My little boy jeans have the same ventilation going on! Me thinks their knees have some hormone exuding from them that destroys fabric.

  7. Once again, loving the photos. Is it weird that I'm only 25 miles away and yet am a bit homesick looking at them?! The sea was so calm that night, although it was a bit chilly down there at 11pm! So glad I found your blog (albeit by accident) as it's lovely to see these photos.

  8. I learn something new every time I read your blog! I was wondering if your children speak Gaelic, and if you use the language much on a daily basis?

  9. Hooray!!! Answers to questions!! Your blog is too lovely to leave if you chose not to respond, but since you have an international 'audience,' I'm so glad you are going to help us out.

    (Thanks Kezia for asking the one about Gaelic. I wanted to, but I'd asked too much already!)

    Since you have said you integrate your blog into your homeschool lessons sometimes, is there anything we can tell you about us, or where we live, that your children might be interested in?

  10. I wish I'd gotten a photo of CF holding up the fleece when he'd finished. I just didn't realize what was going to happen. One long piece, taller than himself! Then he wrapped it up in a tidy bundle. Note for future photo shoots!

  11. I love learning things on your blog. I find these sheep to be so beautiful. Also...wee guy is awfully handsome.

  12. Oh my goodness, that field with a view of the sea? I just want to run through it barefoot... SO gorgeous!


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