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Falkland Shearing
January 2, 2016
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falkland islands bernie harberts
It’s not all about sheep. Here, a Magellanic penguin, also known as a jack ass for its braying call, takes shelter under a Land Rover.
falkland islands bernie harberts
In to the shed they go. The shed holds about 70 sheep. The sheep go in one end. At the other….
falkland islands bernie harberts
…shearers tip them on their backs and get busy. The sheep being shorn here is called a double fleece. That sounds like a good thing. Twice as much wool, right? Actually, the wool is very coarse and not worth much. It was thought this sheep escaped shearing last season because she took to the island cliffs during shearing. Trouble is, a sheep like this can lure others away from the herd come shearing season. The island has to get its mutton somewhere….
falkland islands bernie harberts
Yes, sheep shearers eat mutton. This ewe was butchered, hung and taken to the house where…
falkland islands bernie harberts
…she was reduced to ribs, roasts and shanks. That night, we had the thickest lamb chops I’ve ever eaten. I spent an enjoyable hour after that meal sucking the mutton grease out of my mustache.
falkland islands bernie harberts
Shearers are paid on a per sheep basis. Every time a shearer goes for a fresh sheep, he clicks this clicker. A good shearer should be able to clip over 150 sheep per day. I’m not a good shearer. In fact, I’ve never sheared a sheep before in my life. That didn’t stop me from buzzing 6 inches of wool off a big ewe whereupon the hand piece was returned to the pros and they got on with the job.
falkland islands bernie harberts
And the cycle is complete. This is the view from the shearing shed roof. The sheep in the middle pen have been shorn. Soon they will be turned out and they’ll scatter across the island.
falkland islands bernie harberts
After three days of shearing, we take to the hills. After a shower, nothing removes the smell of sheep like 30 knot winds atop a cliff like this.
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Posted Saturday January 2, 2016 by Bernie
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