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Published Articles by Hope Yankey

Sheep Shearers: An Endangered Species--Their Art, Their Zen

by E. Hope Allen Yankey, appearing in The Shepherd, Vol. 46, No. 5, May 2001

I wrote this article before I had the distinct pleasure of spending the day with blade = hand shearer, Kevin Ford. I "machine" shear. David DeLamater, friend and part-time sheep shearer "machine" shears—David Todd, the one and only professional, full-time shearer in the state of Maryland, "machine" shears. They are equipped with downshaft and handpiece apparatuses. I learned to shear using the heavier, more cumbersome electric Oster shearmaster clippers. Perhaps, I would have blade = hand sheared all these 20+ years had I learned from Kevin Ford. I did use blades the year I visited New Zealand and watched someone there shear several sheep with blades. I sheared my 13 ewe lambs that fall with a set of blades I purchased from Nasco. I did nothing to them, except start shearing...Read More...

A Tongue-in-Cheek Approach to Lambing 'Laissez-Faire' Style in the New Millenium

by Hope Allen Yankey, appearing in The Shepherd, Vol. 45, No. 3, March 2000

I received several letters and email messages regarding the article "Laissez-Faire Lambing" published in the October 1999 issue of this magazine. All were extremely positive. Perhaps, those who disagree or operate from a much different philosophy chose not to respond. At any rate, the questions I was asked, the responses I received, have prompted me to write this article. Lambing 2000 is just around the for most of us and what better time to begin and/or revamp our record keeping and selection process...Read More...

Lambing With-Ease Sure Beats Lambing With Dis-Ease

by Hope Allen Yankey, appearing in The Shepherd, Vol. 43, No. 10, May 1998

Lambing season this year gave true meaning to the cartoon Coopworth breeders in New Zealand use to harass all other sheep breeders there–"If you're raising Coopworths, hire yourself out to the neighbors who don't during lambing." I've always thought lambing season to be stressful. Anticipating those long, often late hours on the worst of all wintry days (more often nights) no matter how warm and mild the winter, no matter how early or late ewes are bred to lamb, when suddenly you find yourself faced with the impossible, or so it seems, most unpredictable leg and head contortions of one, two, or three lamb bodies trying to find an open door to the world. It's definitely a love, hate relationship all shepherds face and have faced since sheep were domesticated–I am not alone in this, by any means...Read More...

Double Your Pleasure: Dye for Fun/Dye for Profit

by E. Hope Allen Yankey, appearing in The Shepherd, October 1997

Each year I get another crop of wool from my sheep and more gray hairs appear on my head. So, when I get the urge to dye, I just want to dye it all—the wool and the hair. Actually, wool and hair dye similarly, because they are both ANIMAL PROTEIN fibers (they contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur) unlike cotton, flax, and rayon which are PLANT CELLULOSIC fibers (they contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen). Not all dyestuffs will dye all fibers. Some will dye both animal and plant fibers, but must be treated very differently during the dyeing process. All dyestuffs are "chemical" dyestuffs—all the things that make up the earth and our bodies are chemicals, for that matter...Read More...


by Hope Allen Yankey, appearing in The Shepherd, Vol. 42, No. 5, May 1997

Our much loved, but terribly ineffective Border Collie, Noni, was dying from cancer. We knew she wasn't going to last through the summer. It was especially hard, despite her being cross-eyed and unable to do a decent job of gathering sheep. We'd just lost our only other not-so-well-bred Border Collie, Bee, whom we loved equally as much some months prior to Noni becoming ill. Unfortunately, Bee has never expressed any interest whatsoever in sheep or sheep gathering. Nonetheless, we had Sam, our Golden Lab, but he was facing his 11th birthday, and the only sheep gathering thing he knew was retrieving sticks thrown in a direction that would create mass confusion and stampede- like behavior on the pad of the sheep, which actually helped in some situations to get sheep moving...Read More...

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