Blog Tour November 8-15, 2014
On Sheep Shearing
As of the middle of last year, there were 30.8 million sheep in New Zealand. That’s down from a peak of 70.3 million sheep in 1982, but still. That’s a lot of sheep. And they all need to be shorn. In New Zealand, sheep are shorn during the summer months (December to March), and they are also often shorn prior to lambing season (May to July in the North Island, and July to September/October in the South Island). This means if you’re a good shearer at the top of your game—a gun shearer, as Shane in Cutting Out is—you can work in New Zealand for 10 months of the year. Not all shearers work that much; some supplement their shearing with other jobs in the off-season, and some take the opportunity to travel, stepping into shearing sheds in Australia, the UK, Europe and the US. Some shearers in New Zealand spend their lives on the competition circuit, and a few even spend their time shearing sheep for tourist demonstrations.
Most shearers in New Zealand work for shearing contractors. It’s a bit of a gypsy lifestyle, travelling all over the country for jobs, but it’s not a lonely one, because each shearing job requires a shearing gang, comprised of shearers, wool classers, wool handlers (also known as rouseabouts, or rousies), and wool pressers, as well as a gang cook. Each shearing gang can be anywhere from seven to ten people. A shearing gang really has to work like a well-oiled machine to get the job done by the time the farmer needs it finished; the shearers can shear the sheep as fast as they can, but if something happens to slow the rousies down, or if the wool press breaks down, there’ll be piles of wool all over the place and someone will be working until midnight! The video below shows nicely how the rousie works with the shearer to keep the area tidy so he can work, and to get the fleeces off the board efficiently:
To be a shearer you have to be physically fit and strong, with good coordination and balance, because you have to be able to lift an animal that might possibly weigh more than you, and keep it subdued enough to shear it – you’ll see in that video that the shearer’s whole body is involved in getting that fleece off, and when his first sheep starts to struggle he’s got to get her under control enough to finish the job, because he won’t use the clippers near her eyes if she’s throwing her head around.
Shearers get paid by the sheep, and the more experienced you are, the more sheep you can shear. Someone who’s been shearing for a couple of years generally averages 200 sheep a day, while someone very experienced, like Shane, can be expected to shear 300 to 400 a day. Shearing’s a hard, demanding job, but from all I’ve seen and hear about it, once it’s in your blood, it’s there for life.
Bottom Drawer Publications is proud to present Cutting Out by Meredith Shayne, a contemporary mm romance based in New Zealand.
Book Details: Novel
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Release Date: October 11, 2014
A twenty-year veteran of the shearing shed, Aussie Shane Cooper loves his job, and the home he’s made for himself in New Zealand. If he’s a little lonely, he’s got good mates to keep his spirits up. When a hot, cocky young shearer named Lachlan Moore catches his eye at a competition, he’s content to look but not touch, knowing the young man is out of his league.
Lachie wouldn’t mind a piece of Shane, but the gorgeous gun shearer from Australia is soon forgotten when the Christchurch earthquake hits, and tragedy strikes Lachie’s family. Lachie deals with it the best he can, cutting himself off from all he knows. A year later and he’s back in the shearing shed, out of practice and lacking confidence. That Shane’s there to watch him flounder doesn’t help his nerves.
As Lachlan struggles to re-acclimatise, Shane can’t resist giving him a hand to get back on his feet. As they move from friends to something more, Shane finds himself wanting to know everything he can about Lachie. But Lachie’s got secrets he desperately wants to keep, and when things come to a head, those secrets might just mean the end of them before they’ve truly begun.
The e-book is available for sale for $5.99 via the BDP Digital Shop
and other online booksellers.
For more information:
About the Author
A scientist in a past life, these days Meredith Shayne mainly uses her scientific training to poke holes in television pseudoscience. Originally from Australia, she moved to New Zealand to start a new life a few years ago and hasn’t regretted it for one minute, even if she frequently wishes that the New Zealand weather was a little better; if she’s forced, she’ll admit that the refreshing lack of animals that can kill you in New Zealand makes up for a little rain.
Meredith travels a lot, so much so that she has developed a shameful love of airplane food and knows her passport number by heart. When she is at home, she enjoys baking, horrible music from the 1980s, reality television, and gloating any time Australia thrashes the living daylights out of New Zealand on the sporting field.
Find Meredith at her website:
Release & Blog Tour Giveaway
Paperback copy of Cutting Out
$10 BDP voucher
3 x Cutting Out e-books
FB Giveaway URL Link: http://tinyurl.com/kgtd52v