Monday, November 10, 2008

Update 1: The Sheep

Okay, okay already. At least you are reading my blog, though! hehe! So, the sheep. So we started with 8 sheep with an intention to only have 4 for the winter. These are the ones we are keeping to breed - 3 ewes and 1 ram. Really it is 1 ewe, 2 ewe lambs and 1 ram lamb. At this point we have had the first 2 rams butchered. I sold one to a friend and the other we have been eating. I have to say that Icelandic lamb is the best lamb I have ever tasted. It truly is very mild flavoured. It is very tasty!

That was Oregano and Taragon. I must admit that we didn't take their slaughter easily. Dean had got especially attached to Oregano who was very sweet. He wanted to keep him as a pet.... We all felt sad saying good bye and we had some interesting conversations about the effects of domesticating animals - how unneeded males aren't eliminated in other ways, etc. How they are now so dependant on our intervention and management. As soon as they were dead, though, it was all business. The slaughter guy came to our house and did it here on our property. My homeschooling neighbours took the heads to dissect. That was a bit much for me. I could deal with the carcas but I didn't want to see their faces... I saved the skins which I have washed and are currently rolled up in my freezer waiting for a piece of plywood I can stretch them on... We have two more to be slaughtered - Bubba and Paprika (Pappy). Bubba will be going at the end of this week and Pappy will be around until the spring. He is just too small to be worth it.

So I am in-love with my sheep. I have been tethering them in the hayfield since August. Consequently they have become very tame. And since feeding them many apples, they now come running to me whenever I approach them. Renald is still a bit crusty but that's okay. You don't want a ram who is too friendly. Freya (the white one) jumps up on me like a dog, demanding apples. She can smell them hidden in my pockets! Draga is the sweetest. She will come when I call her name - come running from anywhere like a well trained dog. And she rubs against me to get petted and stays glued to my side when I am out there. Here she is running towards me. How appropriate that her names means 'precious one' in Croatian.

And Brida is just so beautiful. Sometimes I just stand and watch her from afar. She looks so wild and natural with her brown (moorrit) wool and her long horns. She is like the ancient Goddess to me. There is just something so primaevally female about her..... I know, I'm dramatic but that's how I feel when I look at her. I love her!

So breeding could be happening right now. I am not sure. Renald occasionally does that lip thing that rams do when they are sniffing out a female - they turn their top lips inside out and stretch their heads out in front of them. It is rather hilarious. So far no ewe seems especially impressed. They go on eating grass right beside him. I wouldn't mind if they don't breed quite yet. I would rather have April lambs.

I got them shorn at the beginning of September. Bags of wool! Beautiful lambs wool - so soft! And I have managed to work out a trade with a local spinner and mom in our homeschooling group. She is trading with me to clean and spin my wool! I am so excited! I'm going to have to make something great for myself! Unfortunately there will be no brown wool as Brida was shorn so late in the spring it wasn't long enough yet. But I have white and black!


Caroline said...

Cool! Thanks for sharing Andrea. Maybe we'll have to come out some time and visit your sheep, and you ;0) What is the name of your farm again? Rhiannon thought of it, right?

Anonymous said...

I love how you view life with your sheep so holistically. That way you have of looking at life from so many lenses is one of the best things about having you for a friend.

mudsy said...

It is very entertaining to have so many "literarily" talented daughters to enjoy. Yes, your sheep experience sounds very romantic and idyllic. I can just taste that lamb---hey! What happened to the fence buuilder's lamb? Recently I put some leftover lamb in one of my turkey soups and it has been so good. I'd never thought of lamb being good in soup.

Andrea said...

Well, officially we have no name but Rhiannon did once make a sign calling it "Sheepblossom Farm" with a cherry blossom with a sheep head in the middle... And thanks, anonymous... Is that you, Ronni? C'mon and get a google account already! And Mom! You're reading blogs now? I think you should write one of your own, too! After all, where did all those literary genes come from....