Shearing day is next Tuesday! It’s one of the most important days of the year for our ranch, and we prepare accordingly. Though this year may be a bit more hectic than usual since Mom and Dad won’t be getting back from London until late Friday.
Organization is the key to keeping track of fleeces during the controlled chaos of shearing. Thankfully, all our animals are different colors (or different enough to tell apart, at least) and we don’t have many. To keep confusion to a minimum, we pre-print two labels for each alpaca: one for the prime blanket off the back and another for the less desirable leg and neck fiber. We bag the fiber as soon as it comes off the animal, preferably in clear plastic trash bags for the prime and plain white bags for the leg and neck hair. Finding clear plastic bags is the hardest part of the whole thing, really. I’m going to try an office supply store.
I think this year we may also try to skirt the prime (remove the lower quality fiber around the edges) before we bag it. So we’re likely to have a skirting table set up in the barn as well as the shearing table. Dad, Jare, and the shearer will handle that part of the operation while Mom and I prepare the fiber to be sent to the mill.