– by Lorna Madson
I still recall shearing at Dad’s place,
All those early starts,
Learning to skirt the fleeces,
Pulling off the daggy parts.
I remember Dad sewing up sheep that were cut,
With a needle and big piece of cotton,
Sometimes we helped him yard up the sheep,
Or bring in some the dog had forgotten.
There’s a definite art to throwing a fleece,
One that i’m still yet to master,
The only time I ever tried,
Was a complete and utter disaster!
It was always a guess as to when we would shear,
Dad never knew quite when they’d come,
But you always knew by their thirsty look,
When they were about to do the last run.
Mum prepared meals and worked in the shed,
While us kids got up to mischief,
One time we shore so late in October,
Mum asked if they’d be there for Christmas!
Every year without a doubt,
The straw broom went down to the shed,
Either Dad forgot to buy one,
Or it was easier to take Mum’s instead.
On school days we’d race from the bus to the shed,
There was no time for homework or chores,
Getting tossed in a wool press, riding sheep in the pen,
Our hands full of prickles and sore.
When we cut-out half the district would come,
The wool table would be covered in grub,
Plenty to drink and the odd song or two,
It was better than any session at the pub!
This is a glimpse of what shearing was like,
Or at least it’s the bits I remember,
The shearing shed’s where all the action was at,
Usually somewhere around August-September.
But I doubt if Dad’s memories of shearing,
Are as fond to him as mine are to me,
For I didn’t have to worry ’bout microns,
Wool packs and presses you see!
The Kilkenny – Iverk show, is held in the village of (Piltown, county Kilkenny) each September.
It’s a great day of agricultural events from horse and cattle shows to equipment demonstrations.
The sheep shearing competitions and demonstrations each year bring in a big crowd. The images below show how sheep are sheared both in modern and older times.
Sheep shearing demonstration gallery