OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWilliam, Darcy and Biak before this year’s shearing

We grew up on this farm
and have fond memories
of harvests—
wheat harvest,
egg harvest,
sheep’s wool harvest
(and, truth be told,
the day they loaded up
all the pesky turkeys
and drove them to market.)
Annual wheat harvest
was a nerve-wrecking
race with the spring rainy season
(in those days, we had a reliable
rainy season.)
But it was also festive—everyone
in the community
cutting wheat, hauling it to town.
It was the a momentary celebration
of the culmination of a year’s work.
Within hours of the last load binned,
farmers were back in the fields,
working ground for the next crop.

Sheep’s wool harvesting
involved a couple of days
of non-stop work
but we loved our job,
as young girls,
stomping down the oily wool fleeces
in a ceiling-high gunny sack.
It was a happy time.

Though on a smaller scale
(we have three alpaca)
alpaca-shearing day
is another festive event—
and it was yesterday.
Monty and Erik,
who shear sheep and alpaca from Oklahoma
to Minnesota,
are gentle with the animals,
competent and efficient shearers
and their good humor
adds to the festivities.
Even Biak, who usually whines
the whole time,
seemed less tense yesterday.
The three paca boys shed
pounds of beautiful fleece—
a year’s worth of growth
that will keep someone else warm
now.
And they’ll be much cooler
come triple-digit days.
There is only wonderful,
growing alpaca fleece.

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Darcy about to be stretched out for the shearing

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Darcy’s beautiful blanket of fleece

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William’s turn

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The paca boys after shearing

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