Saturday, January 19, 2013

I remember when...I lost my mind:)

Hello from New Mexico! This has definitely been a different experience for me. Not only is this my first official time working as a rousie (which means I pick up the wool) but it is also the first time I have been this far west and the whole look of the land is quite beautiful in its own way. Kevin told me repeatedly on the way down here that I must prepare myself. He was sure I wouldn't like it here but on the contrary I find that the openness of the land is quite refreshing. Yes it's brown, yes it's dry, but so far the weather has been nearly perfect, there hasn't been much dust and being able to see some gorgeous sunrises has really made this place grow on me. 
Now to the actual working part of this trip...first off I would like to point out that Kevin runs a pretty awesome crew. All the guys (yup that's you too Leann) have been wonderful. There are no whiners on this crew! Kevin keeps  things pretty organized and its a smooth running machine...except for me. This is my first experience at being a wool handler and while there are a few positives ("wow my back doesn't hurt!") there are a few negatives ("wow I don't think I have used my leg muscles since high school"). I would like to point out to everyone reading this that being a rousie is all the work of shearing but none of the glory. My legs were so sore the second day I could barely walk down a flight of stairs. I guess in my usual day to day activities I am not using my quad muscles as much as I had hoped. But I have high hopes that doing this for a few more days might even out my fitness regimen and all my shearing pants will fit me this spring:) that's what I'm hoping! But back to the work, I am still getting the hang of the broom,which is actually a plastic paddle that we use to "sweep" the board. I have hit Kevin in the head twice and my first day I about took Paul's toe off. But shearer injures aside I think I'm getting quicker and more graceful. I'll just keep working on it. Although It was brought to my attention last night at I make a lot of noise with my broom, that I wield it like a hockey stick and I am always slapping it on the board. Well duh! I am a product of my environment, hockey is in my blood! I am beginning to see that you can never make shearers happy, if your not fast enough your too loud, go figure:) 
But all in all things are pretty great, I have been able to shear a few and they shear really nice. I have really enjoyed being able to take this chance to watch the guys shear and really see what their doing. Each one has a particularly good part of the sheep and a spot that gives them trouble. Being able to watch what they are doing will help me pick up tricks to make myself faster, cleaner and more well rounded. I am embracing this time at the broom to learn not only about the wool, how to keep it clean and properly skirted, watching experienced shearers shear and getting my legs in shape. I can't believe that a whole month has all but flown by. It won't be long till I'm on my way back home to begin my own shearing run. But until then Ill keep working on my broom skills and that freckled pinkish color I call a tan and Ill keep my fingers crossed that the good weather holds.