Wearing their food

This is the time of year when shearing can’t come soon enough. After keeping their fleeces clean and beautiful all year long, the ewes are now slowly ruining what I have taken so long to produce. Okay, I know I don’t produce all that lovely, lustrous wool — they do! But honestly, who works so hard to keep it clean: feeding only from below so that hay doesn’t fall into the fleeces, and changing coats whenever there is the slightest tear in the fabric? That’s me! It’s a lot of work, and the ewes now seem focused on undoing it all. They have begun wearing their food.

McKinley in her hay toupee!

McKinley in her hay toupee!

Grace incognito as a haystack!

Grace incognito as a haystack!

Even worse, they are hilarious in the process! I should be crying at what they are doing to the lovely wool it has taken a full year to produce, but instead, each time I visit the ewes in the low-nutrition group, I end up laughing out loud as I look at the faces looking back at me! How can I not?! Look at them! The Romneys are the worst offenders, but all of the ewes are in on the fun in some way. There is McKinley, who has taken to wearing a hay toupee, and Grace, who has simply decided to turn into a walking haystack! Besides those two, there is Kabernet, who has a bit of the sentry-lion look — she wouldn’t even get up for me to snap a photo, preferring instead to lay on the hillside, looking over her kingdom. Only a fresh bale of hay (more contaminants!) can make her move from her spot!

Ora seems to be carrying her very own grass snake atop her head!

Ora seems to be carrying her very own grass snake atop her head!

Nali prefers the bearded sheep look!

Nali prefers the bearded sheep look!

Kabernet as a sentry lion, perfect for the top of the wall near a gate!

Kabernet as a sentry lion, perfect for the top of the wall near a gate!

The problem is that the ewes’ fleeces are now so long that they catch and hold the hay as the ewes dig around in the feeders looking for the very best bits. And because the ewes are pregnant, they are looking for every nutritious bit that the other ewes might have overlooked. Each girl has her very own style when it comes to wearing her hay! Nali has decided on a bearded look, preferring her hay bits to hang well below her chin. Ora, on the other hand, has found larger pieces of hay that give the impression of a long snake on the top of her head — a unique look, to be sure!

Hattie's more controlled version of the wreath - she is, after all, a Romeldale!

Hattie’s more controlled version of the wreath – she is, after all, a Romeldale!

Even the Romeldales are beginning to get in on the fun: Hattie is displaying her own version of the holiday wreath with the grass hay circling her head. Because of their finer wool, the Romeldales much prefer the smaller bits of hay to the larger ones that the Romneys seem to attract. I have to admit that all of this hay in the formerly pristine wool is disturbing — but even so, I can’t help but chuckle as the sheep look up at me, seeming to always ask when the next bale will arrive!

Shearing can’t come soon enough for me! It is time to cut off all of this wool and start over again. Only four weeks left, and I’ve begun the countdown!

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