Tanglewood Farm

where alpacas are a passion, not just a business

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Shearing Day

Shearing day at Tanglewood Farm, is always a day full of surprises, and this year's was no different. I was still running around getting stuff prepared when my great helper, Shannon and shearers, Maegan and Mike arrived to start the day long activity to shear 27 alpacas. Echo, one of my older German Shepherds , was in the yard to greet them, and even Isaac, Maegan and Mikes oldest boy, who was scared of dogs, made friends with her.

I had not had time to move my male herd from their summer pasture to the new leanto I had built for them, so we got the roll of bright yellow caution tape and with everyone holding a part of it, created a moveable fence to get them all moving in the right direction. I had first tried my method of getting a stainless steel bucket filled with their favorite food, grain, but they were much more interested in the green grass growing between the two pastures, to take any notice of the grain bucket. So that is when I resorted to using the caution tape, and it worked quite nicely again, and we got all eight of the boys into the small dry lot area that I had prepared for them, right next to the girls. I let the girls out into their pasture next to the barn, so we could set up everything in their barn for the shearing, but had forgotten to close the gate that was halfway down the drive, so, of course, being the smart girls that they are, they were out in the driveway in a flash and munching on the nice grass there. Again, the grass seemed sweeter to them than the grain bucket I used to try and lure them back in. So out came the tape again and with the help of Jason and the rest of the crew, we soon had them back in the small dry lot where we had also set up a 13x 13 pop up tent to give them shade while they waited their turn for their hair cuts.

We laid down the extra large canvas tarp that I had gotten last year to put down under the overhang of the main barn, and then put the shearing mats down on top of that. This helps to keep things much cleaner. The actual shearing went very smoothly, thanks to the strong Mike and Maegan team who had no trouble getting even the most recalciant alpaca down on the mat, and Shannon's quick tug on the ropes once we had the feet in them. Not one nick anywhere, the whole day, and even Maegan and Mikes two boys helped Shannon with the sorting of the fiber. Several fans along the walls helped to keep the temperature down as well, and I kept throwing water bottles into the chest freezer, so we would always have cold water on hand.

Lunch was served inside since it was cooler there than outside, and that also kept the bugs away. I had planned to take a bunch of pictures, but was so busy and involved with other stuff, that I totally forgot, so no pictures of this year's shearing. We actually finished about fifteen minutes earlier than last year, and all had a small sip of Shannon and Jason's homemade apple mead, which was powerful stuff indeed, and very tasty. It was a great way to celebrate another successful shearing day. They promised to bring their cherry mead next year.