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Shearing-A Family Tradition

Our shearer, David Hinman, died last June while shearing sheep at a farm in southern VT. His daughter, Gwen came and sheared for us this year. David always boasted about how well his daughter could shear sheep. He said, “Don’t tell anyone, but she can shear sheep faster and better than I can.” The two of them often went on shearing jobs together when they traveled to large farms. They would spend their entire day shearing side by side. There seemed to be a wonderful father/daughter bond between the two of them. I had never met Gwen but David talked about how tiny she was yet able to handle the largest rams. You could tell that he adored his daughter.

Ah…a good scratch at last!

After David died, I spoke with Gwen on the phone. She talked about how difficult it was to continue shearing without her dad. They shared shearing stories together as well as shearing jobs. Gwen wondered who would care about her stories now that her dad was gone. I was thrilled when she responded to my call this winter asking her to come shear for us. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to go to farms where your dad used to shear.

The llamas seem to say, “What happened to you?”

Gwen, like her dad, obviously loves what she does. She took her time, chatting the entire time. Though she did not talk directly to the sheep the way her dad did-I could tell that she felt a bond with the sheep. If I struggled to bring a sheep to the shearlng floor, Gwen would come over and so calmly bring the sheep over. Even our big wether at 200 pounds seemed a breeze for her to control.

The llamas were quite curious!

Chloe’s Wool

We shared stories about her dad and showed her a poster we had made a year before he died with pictures of him shearing our sheep. I know the past 6 months have been difficult for her but she came in good spirits and willing to share with us. It felt good to have Gwen at the farm-I am sure her dad would be proud of his daughter and how she continues the family tradition of sheep shearing.