Chemicals in a woolshed.

Part of the photo below contains this is image of

a 20 litre drench (rectangular) drum and a 5 litre back pack.

Drench (or medicine) helps keep sheep and cattle healthy…internally,

which then has a flow on effect of external well-being as well.


There are several types of chemicals available to keep animals

in their best productive condition. 

Some people say that farmers do not care for their animals. 

Quite untrue! 

Without healthy sheep/animals one’s income drops significantly. 

So why would any business want that? 

Every year I would spend nearly $3,000 on the health

of my animals, which equates to about $3 per adult sheep.  

And that figure is only the cost and does not labour 

 or my budget for extra, high-protein supplements.


Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Chemical




For many years I would have said that…

live lambs on the ground this time of year

was the fruit of my labours. 

It took countless hours of animal husbandry,

each year to survive winter and have

healthy ewes and lambs as spring approaches.

Nearly thirty years ago my attention turned to education. 

A university education for myself and then assisting to

prepare these students for the real world

with an all day trip to Melbourne

via a three-hour train trip (each way)

as part of the Year 8 Geography curriculum.

This group would be around thirty years of age now.


Now the fruits of my labour are photos such as

this mornings sunrise at Geelong’s Corio Bay.

Don’t know how things are north 

of the equator, but in Victoria

the sun beat me this morning. 

Only the cloud bank helped in any sort of shot.


A Photo a Week Challenge: Fruits-of-Labor


One Word Photo Challenge-Pen


Probably not quite the ‘pen’ thought of for this challenge,

but pens just the same.

My old wool shed.

Under the left skillion Is where sheep stand waiting to be shorn.

These are called ‘sweating pens’ 

The shearer’s operated at the far end of the gable roof line.

Under the gable were catching pens.

Here shearer’s would have a pen of sheep each.

They would catch a sheep drag it onto the ‘board’/floor

and shear it prior to realising it into their letting go pen,

where the sheep would remain for each two hour work period

after which, all sheep would be counted and

each shearer would have those sheep added to his totals.

 At the top of this image I have noted the sheep yards.

A collective term.

  Sheep yards are comprised of many smaller yards/pens.

 At livestock selling centres, it is not unusual to see 50,000 sheep

sold through the yards, on sale day, during peak periods.

However, there will also be hundreds of numbered selling pens

so each owner can identify their sheep.


The text ‘sheep yards cans also be called pens’ is my largest pen.

 There are, including counting out pens,

nine other pens of diminishing sizes along with two races

used for drafting and animal husbandry purposes.

And that is my pen post.


Apologies for the quality of the photo.

 It is a very small section of a larger photo

taken close to twenty years ago.


One Word Photo Challenge: Pen




In a few weeks time (June) this was

a sight I looked forward to…

 as it meant an income for future years.

Some years, though, it was heart breaking

especially if the weather was nasty…cold

and wet…lambs often died before they stood up.

This was also part of my farming life until the 1983 drought.

After that year it was decreed that sheep had bellies

which were much easier to fill than cattle,

especially in a drought year.

Sheep also did less damage to fences

than hungry, or not hungry, cattle did.

Goodbye cattle.


A Photo a Week Challenge: Livestock


Weekly Photo Challenge-Prolific



My contribution for this week’s challenge…



The first thing which came to mind were cockatoos.

They often descend on our front or back yards

and proceed to dig it up in search of sustenance. 


 Not that any of them appear under-nourished. 

At least this variety, the Corella,

does not appear to be as noisy as its

cousin the Sulphur Crest.

Down under these are fairly prolific also.

I think we used to have more sheep than any other country,

however, Google tells me that China now has that honour.

Finally, one of our most memorable game drives in Botswana.

 We drove for five or six kilometres with a constant wall

of elephants progressing right to left.

The bumps on the horizon are also elephants.

Our guides estimated there were at least 1,000 elephants

in this sighting alone.

Truly a magnificent experience.






Cee’s Black and White Challenge:



I will wager most people saw the grass

in this photo, posted last week…

Picsand not the fence.


These are the fences which I used to erect and demolish,

when time came.
fence_0021Although this fence is nearly due for the old age pension,

with a bit of care it still has plenty of years of life.

Signs of modern times…the rubbish bins.


Tying knots on in wire is a skill which is fast dying out.

This appears to be where a header, or combine,

has entered the paddock to strip the grain.

fence_0039This post and wire would be around forty or fifty years old.

To replace it will cost around $10,000 per kilometre…

so I have been told.

This post would have cost $1-$2.

To replace it will cost around $10 per post.


However, these ewes and lambs would not even see

this fence if there was no feed on their side of the fence.

The lamb has villain written all over its face.


Cee’s Black & White: Fence







Wool Classing

My Former Career

This afternoon I received a message from PacificParatrooper’s Guest Poster, GreatestGenerationLessons seeking clarification of the term: Wool Classing (my former career).

This was to be an addition to my ‘About’ page, but I decided to make it a post as it was too long.

Wool classing, as I refer to it, takes place in wool sheds/shearing sheds, usually when sheep are being shorn. After the wool is shorn off each sheep fleeces are picked up by a shed hand and thrown onto the wool table to have the lower quality, or undesirable, wool removed, skirted. The main wool to skirt off is fribs. We wash perspiration off with the next shower.  Sheep do not have this luxury and when they perspire the moisture stays in the wool capturing dust and builds up to be a black greasy lump known as frib.  The main thing wrong with this wool is that it needs extra washing ($) to clean so it is removed because buyers will pay for the lowest quality they see on display on sale day. Think of two family members wearing same clothes, one works in an office the other works in a greasy or dirty environment…one set of clothes will need (cost) more cleaning.

Burry wool, yellow wool, cotted/matted wool, or non-conforming wool are other examples of wool destined to be ‘skirted’ off the fleece.

After each fleece is skirted the Wool Classer ‘classes’ or sorts it, based on:

  • staple length – short or mixed staples lengths are processed separately.

  • colour – whiter wool is better as pale shades of fabric can be created from pure white wool.  As the amount of colour increases, so do limitations for wool’s use.  Darker wool can only be used to create dark coloured fabrics.

  • fibre diameter (measured in microns. 1micron = 1millionth of 1 metre/39 inches). Prior to actually measuring wool fibre classers relied on visually assessing the size and regularity of the crimp to convey information about the fibre and how fine, or strong/coarse it was.  Finer, or finest wool is used for apparel, e.g. Women’s clothing, Italian wool suits, whereas stronger/coarser wool is used for outer garments (jackets, coats) and carpets (coarsest wool).

  • soundness (staples should be able to withstand a 7 pound tug during processing)

  • fleece softness (softer is better for making fabric worn close to skin)

Depending on the grower’s wishes and size of flock, the skirting process, along with how wool is classed varies from flock to flock, location to location and grower to grower. Unfortunately wool producers were slow to change procedures. If their great-grandfather had been skirting wool this way then that is how they wanted it done!

Wool Classers are said to be able to “dazzle you with brilliance or baffle you with bull“. Five hundred words is time to stop dazzling you!!

Wikipedia was not my source for this post but I did check to see if there was anything imagerelating to wool classing…..and found a great deal.

I will also happily answer any reader’s questions, about Wool Classing, to the best of my ability.


January, 9th, 2014

Just noticed that I did not mention that there are over 1,000 different types of wool.  Generally we do not see anywhere near this amount, of types, within one flock or wool clip.  From the producers perspective it makes sense to have as few types of wool as possible as more of it can be sold in one ‘line’.  A ‘line’ is three or more bales of the same type of wool.