Susan has her Teeswater Sheep sheared each spring and fall. When I called to inquire about photographing the event, she told me they were in the middle of shearing and to come out asap. I quickly put myself together, grabbed my camera bag and jumped in the car.
When I arrived, Laura the shearer was in the middle of working on a sheep. Laura owns Psalm 23 Farm and is in her 2nd year of shearing having learned the craft from a well known sheep shearer from New Zealand. She prefers hand shearing instead electric. It's quieter, doesn't take that much longer, and leaves more wool on the sheep, which is important for warmth during our cold springs.
I was impressed with how Laura was able to wrangle the sheep to the ground. They generally weren't very cooperative at first. She explained that once you get them on their rear-ends, they turn docile. And after being in that position for a bit, they assume they can't even get up, so they don't even try. They will just lay there until she gets them back on their feet.
Once the wool is removed, Susan takes the fleece to a large flat rack where she inspects it, picks and shakes out debris, weighs it then bags it. She also keeps a record of the fleece weight and a strand of wool of each sheep jotted down in a notebook. She sells them through E-bay and in her shop.