children's books

Sheep Shearing

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder has so many wonderful fibre references in it. Time to share another one.

Farmer Boy shearing

It was time to shear sheep. … and they drove the sheep down to the washing-pens. …Almanzo took hold of a woolly sheep and pushed it through one gate. … the sheep struggled and kicked and yelled. But the men rubbed their wool full of brown soft-soap and dragged them into the deep water.

There the sheep had to swim. The men stood waist-deep in the swift water, and held on to the sheep and scrubbed them well. All the dirt came out of their wool and floated downstream with the soap suds. …

As soon as a sheep was clean, the men made it swim … The poor sheep came out bleating and dripping wet, but the sun soon dried it fluffy and white. …

Washing sheep was fun for everyone but the sheep. …

When evening came, all the sheep were washed. Clean and fluffy-white, the scattered up the slope, nibbling the grass, and the pasture looked like a snowball bush in bloom.

Next morning, … [Father] and Lazy John each caught a sheep, set it on the platform, and began cutting off its wool with long shears. The thick white mat of wool peeled back, all in one piece, and the sheep was left in bare pink skin.

With the last snick of the shears the whole fleece fell on the platform, and the naked sheep jumped off it, yelling, “Baa-aa-aa!” All the other sheep yelled back at the sight …

Father’s sheep were prize Merinos. Merinos have the finest wool, …

Laura certainly got that right. We still love merino wool today, 143 years later. But aren’t you glad you don’t have to go to all that effort?

One thought on “Sheep Shearing”

Comments are closed.