In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Yesterday, Canada Day Eve, the shepherds arrived for shearing. Here are more pictures from the day.

First, here's this year's crew who will work with Mary and Leroy.
Roland Belliveau and Joey D'Eon are the d'Entremonts' friends and neighbours from the Acadian villages of Pubnico. They will help gather the sheep and keep everything moving along once the flock is penned up.
Pauline Bolay is a master shearer from Manitoba. She spends the year travelling all over the world, shearing. She shears about twenty thousand sheep a year.
Phillip Woodward is a master-master shearer from New Zealand. I suppose he is a full professor of shearing. We gathered that there's a world-wide community of sheep owners and shearers that we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of.
After a three hour walk from the lighthouse, along the cobble beach, shepherds and flock appear at the cove.
Mary records information about each ewe and lamb. There's a great deal that happens besides the shearing. Each member of the flock is examined. Mary and Leroy are pleased with the condition of the lambs this year. Their decision last year to reduce the overall size of the flock appears to have paid off.
Joey and Roland will probably hoist every animal here before the day is over, maybe more than once.
A few portraits. Most of the sheep live on the southern end of the island, between the lighthouse and the point.
We don't see them very often.
And in close-up only twice a year.
The temporary red dye means that lamb has had its tick treatment and vitamins and whatever else it needed.
A few old ewes are being culled. The shepherds carry the portable pen down to the skiff where they'll be put on board and taken off the island.
The bags of wool will go to the woollen mill in Prince Edward Island.

The shepherds gathered fifty-six ewes and fifty-nine lambs. There are about fifteen others who ran off or otherwise missed the gathering. So there will be another, smaller gathering a few weeks from now. In the meantime the silly rams will have to go about with their hot shaggy wool coats.

For some more photos from the shearing, click on the Facebook page for Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia, in the column on the right of this post.


Anonymous said...

20,000 sheep is a lot to shear! [She shears sheep by the seashore].

Wonderful photos. Sheep are so photogenic.

LaurainNeb said...

This brings me back to my childhood. We had sheep, and shearing was always an event. They had a plywood contraption that looked like a flattened box, wound with twine. Us kids would take the fleeces, put them on this wood frame, fold up it's sides, and then tie it all up - resulting in a BALE of wool.

When I saw the bags of wool I couldn't help but hum "Three bags full - One for the master, one for the dame, ..."