Yesterday afternoon the clouds were so pretty and I had sheep on my mind (perhaps due to seeing the sheep in the ranching exhibit a few days ago). I decided we would take a little trip to see if the sheep shearers were getting set up. We found plenty of sheep in the general area, along with their faithful guard dogs. We also found some activity at the sheep-shearing corral. So we got out and headed over to see what was happening.
They were really nice and let Desert Boy get on the horse. Desert Boy couldn't remember riding a horse (although he did several times when he was younger). He loved it. I think part of the reason he was so excited to be on a horse is that his friend Ava is totally into horses and talks about them all the time.
Desert Boy was all smiles for his little ride.
Thanks so much for giving him a ride! That five minutes was so memorable to him.
After Edwin teased us about if we had come to work or not, he got on his horse and headed out to gather some sheep.
That gave us time to look around. They were unloading panels and setting them up to make a chute that came from the recently-arrived sheep shearing trailer.
Here's the chute, where the sheep can be easily counted, vaccinated, and whatever else needs to be done.
Here's a view of the purple sheep shearing trailer. It has seven doors with ramps leading down into stalls. This is where the sheep go after they're sheared.
Morgan was a sweetheart and showed us around. This is the inside of the shearing trailer. Above each shearing station is a little motor that operates the cutting blade.
When Desert Boy found some wool, he came up with all sorts of ideas of what to do with it. He is creative. Maybe not practical, but why not dream big? Or with some of his ideas, small? He was ready to make some doll clothes from this piece of wool. He figured pressing the wool flat would work well.
Off in the distance we could see the sheep moving this way.
A couple of boys were on foot helping Edwin move the sheep. Sheep are apparently much easier to herd than cattle.
It was so much fun watching. But then we weren't just watching. Morgan said we could help move the sheep, so we tried to keep them going towards the corral.
They plan to shear about 1000 sheep here, and these are the first couple hundred in the corral. They stay the night in the corral as it's easier to shear them when they don't have full bellies. I love the sheep dog's expression in the photo above.
Some of the sheep were just as curious about us as we were about them.
Edwin went out to get more sheep, and Desert Girl took the time to admire Morgan's colorful fingernails. She was really impressed with them.
Desert Boy went and hung out with the older boys for awhile.
Then he discovered some bones, and from then on, everyone was on bone-finding duty. This is not a task to be taken lightly. We went to the other side of the corral to pick up more bones than I really wanted to take home. But Desert Boy was already planning his next dinosaurs.
Edwin and the sheep gradually approached, with the storm clouds looming in the background.
I like how the leading edge of the sheep and the leading edge of the storm nearly intersect.
We tried again to help get the sheep into the corral, but we weren't the best help around. Some of the sheep tried making a run for it.
Edwin brought them back around.
Morgan helped get them moving in the right direction.
They were added to the group, making the inner corral full of sheep. Hopefully the weather will cooperate (wet wool is difficult to shear), and it will be a good couple days of shearing!
Hi! I'm Gretchen, an ecologist, rancher's wife, mother, writer, and dreamer. I've lived and worked in three of the four North American deserts and visited the fourth. This blog is about what it's like to live in the rural high desert on a ranch, spending lots of time outdoors with kids, and our journey to live more sustainably. To learn more about us, click here. If you'd like to contact me, leave a comment (I love comments!) or email me at desertsurvivor @ live.com.
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North American Deserts
Four deserts are found in North America, each with distinct characteristics. Click on the image to learn more.