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Friday, May 4, 2007

Shearly Interesting Field Trip

On Tuesday, my Appalachian Arts students and I traveled to visit my friend Martha's farm to watch her sheep being sheared. The shearers are from Australia and come to America each year and travel around to small herds. They stay with the farm owner and shear sheep daily for as many days as needed before moving on to another herd. One of the guys said he had probably sheared a million sheep, at up to 30,000 per year. He started shearing at the age of 16 because it was what he had always wanted to do, and he added that not many people his age could say that they had spent their entire life doing what they loved to do. My students had never seen this anywhere other than on TV. They really enjoyed talking with the shearers, and were amazed at how these guys manhandled the sheep "at their age". The shearers seemed to really enjoy talking to the kids and answering their questions. As we were leaving, the shearer thank me for bringing my students; he said he had really enjoyed talking to them and that it helped break up the "sameness" of the job at hand. This was a great experience for my kids ...and I bought a beautiful fleece from a sheep named Natalie. My daughter and I will have fun washing, carding and spinning.

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