Have you ever completed a business transaction and found that you had been fleeced? Well, if you have, you can identify with some rather trim looking sheep running around on our farm. Knowing that summer heat was upon us and that we had a flock of very warm sheep who spent their afternoons panting in the shade, I realized that it was time to get out the sheep shears and go to town. So last week my brother Stephen and I rounded up all the sheep into one of our barns and began to catch them one by one and remove their fleeces. You may be thinking, “Oh, how wonderful! Now the sheep will be cool.” But in reality the sheep were thinking “Oh, no! He’s coming to get me with those big shears. I might die!”
Each greatly reluctant sheep was pushed and coaxed onto the shearing mat for their personal five minute dance with the shearer. For both sheep and shearer, this dance is not at all romantic or enjoyable, but rather is a five minute struggle between the shearer trying to remove the fleece and the sheep trying to get free. The shearer is forced to pose in a permanent bowing position while he constrains the sheep in a sitting position. Once both partners are in place, the shears are turned on. And starting at the head, one swipe at a time, the fleece is carefully snipped away. Once this perfectly choreographed act of kicking, grasping, and clipping is finished, the sheep is let loose to go bleating back to the flock. And the shearer slowly, and with an occasional painful groan, stretches back to an erect position.
Getting fleeced is always an unpleasant situation, but if you were to ask one of our sheep I think he would rather lose a few dollars on eBay then go through another shearing!