A Brief Moment Between Jobs

On Sunday, I paused for a brief moment between two shearing jobs to change my combs and cutters and disinfect my equipment. I did so in my father-in-law’s driveway, which was on the way to my second job and enabled me to see my sweet husband for a few minutes. While we were there, local photographer Clark James Mishler was passing by and took our portrait. I have since found Clark’s fantastic portrait blog, which does not disappoint. Thank you, Clark, for this gift. Fortunately, Clark found me when I was still fairly clean, having sheared only three sheep so far.

Cleaning my tools, seeing my husband. Portrait taken -- and copyright held by -- Clark James Mishler.

Cleaning my tools, seeing my husband. Portrait taken — and copyright held by — Clark James Mishler.

On Saturday, I volunteered at the second annual Barn to Yarn event. I love my wool community. Here they are, gathered round for stories told by sheep rancher Jean Near, who is pushing 102 years old. She entertained us with stories of folks being horrified that she wanted the black sheep, and of surviving and walking out of a hill slide with a broken ankle.

Jean Near tells tales to shepherdess Brittany Cole Bush, in the spinning circle at the 2016 Barn to Yarn event.

I returned home to find that my husband and father-in-law had built me a portable sheep shearing rig, aptly timed before my Sunday shearing jobs. They even attached it to a post on the front porch before I got home – utterly adorable. Surely, this rig will never grace a fancier spot again. I’ve been meaning to get around to building one, but never seem to, especially during my busy season. It really did feel like Christmas morning.

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The rig and ratchet straps worked out very nicely on both jobs. I would have had a tough time using my motor and drop without it. Alas, the rig could not prevent me from cutting my hand for the first — and hopefully last — time with my comb and cutter. I am very, very fortunate that — initial blood splatter notwithstanding — it was a minor cut on the tip of my finger that did not even require stitches. My customer was calm and valiant, and found and cut my veterinary gauze while I held my hand above my hand. I still had two sheep left to shear at that point and I finished them.

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Not to worry. It’s my blood splatter, not the sheep’s. The shearing plywood got the worst of it.

Surprisingly enough, I have two upcoming shearing jobs IN San Francisco proper. I will definitely need to write a post on The Hidden Sheep of San Francisco (without revealing their undisclosed locations, of course). I bet there are more…

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