Shearing 2020

?>

Shearing has a rhythm all of its own. It is a rhythm that I have strong memories of as a child and now as an adult I appreciate the momentum in a different way. While shearing and wool are often romanticised it is a unique part of our year where a full season of wool growing comes to an end.

Shearing

The sheep need to be mustered together, walked to the yards, counted, processed through the draft and moved into the woolshed to be shorn. It is essential that the sheep keep flowing through the shed so that the shearers don’t run out of sheep.

Shearing

Once the shearing is complete the mobs need to be returned to their paddocks and back to their feed as quickly as possible. All of this requires planning, organisation and timing between the contract shearing crew and the mustering crew.

Shearing
Shearing
Shearing
Shearing

For me personally it means keeping meals up to the mustering crew and generally providing background support where I can. It means trips to yards with thermoses and smoko food. Oh…and photography. The shearers have their own cook who keeps the team nourished with three meals and two smokos every day. Their menu is generally no nonsense with plenty of filling carbs and meat. Shearing and wool handling is hard, physical work that requires plenty of fuel.

Shearing
Shearing
Shearing

And then, just like that it is all over for another year. The yards and shed are empty and quiet, the shearing crew leave in a cloud of dust and the wool is eventually sold. This year our sheep numbers are down slightly but the sheep are strong and healthy and thanks to recent rain there is some green grass in the paddock. We have a lot to be grateful for and so the ongoing cycle of farming continues.

Shearing

Do you have shearing memories? Or memories of cooking bulk food for hungry workers?

Happy Friday, friends x

11 Comments

  1. Reply

    kate

    September 11, 2020

    I have no experience of this at all, so loved reading a bit of what it’s like. I do have very vague memories from my early childhood of mum feeding the hay carting team but I was way too young to understand that.
    I struggle to feed my family when they are all home these days, that maybe because of allergies and lifestyle choices 🙄🤦. I can’t imagine cooking for the Shearer’s or musterers. I’d be too scared my food wouldn’t be good enough.
    Also those sausage rolls look delicious.
    Cheers Kate

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 14, 2020

      Thank you for calling in Kate! I think cooking for shearers (or any large group) requires a thick skin and a certain amount of detachment! I always worry that my food wont be good enough! Take care and have a lovely week x

  2. Reply

    Anne

    September 12, 2020

    What a fabulous photo to finish with Jane. Your shearing is a bit like our harvest as a full stop to the end of the year. I hope you get a good price for your wool. My son got a frozen food delivery the other day and the insulation was wool, which seems an excellent idea – especially as it’s now being used for dog bedding.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 14, 2020

      That is interesting Anne re: the insulation. It certainly is a versatile fibre. We often use the ‘bits and pieces’ of wool that can accumulate in the woolshed for dog bedding or tree mulch. Unfortunately wool prices have taken a dive thanks to COVID and trade relations with China. Such is the reality of farming! Take care and have a lovely week x

  3. Reply

    Lenore

    September 13, 2020

    You have bought fabulous memories of shearing time back to me at Roto. It was hard work but it brought a vibe to the property with all hands on deck. I loved it. Hope you had a bumper clip. Xx🌺

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 14, 2020

      Thank you Lenore, it is a strong memory that seems to stay with people. Have a lovely week x

  4. Reply

    Melissa

    September 13, 2020

    That last image is wonderful Jane! Gorgeous kelpie.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 14, 2020

      Thank you Melissa, not the most focused photo but the light was too good not to share!

  5. Reply

    Sarah @ Say! Little Hen

    September 14, 2020

    Hi Jane,
    I haven’t commented in a while (hopefully this one doesn’t get eaten like the others, haha!).
    I always enjoy your posts and your beautiful photos. You capture the feeling perfectly.

    Happy new week,
    Sarah

    • Reply

      Jane S

      September 14, 2020

      Hello Sarah, lovely to hear from you! Thank you for calling in. Are you still blogging? Take care x

  6. Reply

    Jess64

    September 25, 2020

    Thank you for sharing Jane. I think I was about eight when mum started getting me to do the cooking for shearing, so she could work in the shed. She would leave a roast in the woodfired oven, but everything else was my responsibility. No way my 9 year old could pull that off. I do remember getting confused by fractions and adding 3 cups of sugar instead of 1/2 a cup into a recipe ( I added the 1 and the 2). Mum taught me fractions after that incident.

LEAVE A COMMENT

RELATED POSTS