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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have shearing memories? Or memories of cooking bulk food for hungry workers?
Happy Friday, friends x