I'm a compulsive doer, if that's a word. I want to do everything! (But you can forget sky diving or anything that has heights involved.) In 1983, I met a woman who was knitting a pair of mittens out of yarn that she had spun from wool, and I decided I wanted to do that someday. In college, I had a boyfriend whose family raised two pigs for their own freezer every year, (even though they had no other animals on their country estate), and I thought it would be cool to do that someday. I always admired hand-made quilts and vowed to make one myself someday. You get the idea, right? So, you can imagine that when people asked, "Do you shear your own sheep?" it really pained me to say no.
Then last year, I said to Mike, "Why don't we shear our own sheep?" I don't recall his answer, but whatever it was, it didn't slow me down as I looked on Premier's website and decided which sheep shears to buy. Mike and Margaret did all the shearing last year, and the sheep looked pretty bad, but the wool was great. And you know what they say about bad haircuts -- the difference between a good haircut and a bad one is about a week or two. Same is true for sheep . . . usually.
Margaret is no longer here, so this year, it's up to Mike and me. We were going to sheer a couple weeks ago, but it rained the night before, and playing with electric shears on wet sheep does not sound like my idea of a fun time. The rams were inside, so we decided to go ahead and sheer them. Mike did the first one, as I critiqued every cut. Then I wondered why I gave him the job when I was the one who knew how to clip goats and dogs. He'd never clipped anything in his life before last year when I delegated the shearing to him and Margaret. So, I took over on the second sheep and discovered that it is not as easy as it looks, and it is more challenging than clipping a dog or a goat. It took us about 40 minutes per ram, and they looked pretty dreadful. Sorry, I don't have pictures because the computer with PhotoShop is dieing.
Almost every day since then, one of us says that we really need to sheer the rest of the sheep. The other nods in agreement but says that we don't have time today, and that's the end of the discussion. The simple fact is that we don't want to shear the sheep. If you don't want to do something, you can always come up with plenty of excuses. When we hired a professional, we actually looked forward to shearing day. Now, we're procrastinating. So, I asked myself, is it really a big deal if we don't shear our own sheep? It's better for us and the sheep if we hire a pro to do it. Professional sheep shearers around here usually do about 24,000+ sheep per year, so it's no wonder that they zip through the fleece of a Shetland in two or three minutes.
Part of me knows it's silly to feel like a failure for not shearing our own sheep. Why do I need to be spinning, knitting, shearing, cheese making, soap making, goat milking, pig raising, quilting, and on and on? It's okay if I don't do everything, isn't it?