Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sheeple

I think it's quite possible that by now most of my blog pals know I have a special fondness for sheep. I've loved them ever since I kept a small flock of Jacob sheep centuries ago (well it was in the last century) in my life prior to leaving the UK in my youth. Jacob sheep are highly intelligent and very canny. They like nothing better than outwitting their owners - well at least, that was my experience. Mine had great personalities as well, especially my grande dame of the flock, Emily. She was a very special character and led me a merry dance on many an occasion.

Jacob ram, courtesy of David Merrett, picture sourced from
Wikpedia

As a result, I love the fact that at the crumbly cottage, we often have sheep in the field at the back of the house. I don't have to care for this flock, so I don't know if they are naughty at all, but they too have real personalities and Koos and I love 'chatting' to them in 'baar' language. What saddens me is that we never see any lambs. I can see when the ewes have been covered, because they have coloured patches on their backs, but where they go to have their babies remains a mystery. I don't even know who they belong to; I never see the farmer tending to them, but they come and go and I miss them when they aren't there. Some of you might remember that last year, we had a solitary ram in the field of which (whom?) we became particularly fond. To my shame, I've forgotten what we called him now, but he loved having his head scratched and whenever he saw us, he would dash over to the fence for some good communing. Then he too disappeared, presumably to mix duty with pleasure by getting lusty with a flock of ewes (maybe that's where the word lewd comes from...haha).

This year's sheeple have been in the field for a while now, and a couple of weeks ago, there were visitors at the house next door who brought three children with them. It was delightful to see the youngsters interacting with the sheeple. I thought how good it was for them to have this opportunity and time to see that sheep, and all other farm animals too, are not just dumb creatures with no intelligence put there for our convenience; they are sentient beings with likes, dislikes and obvious emotions.  Here are a few photos I took of the kids feeding our ovine friends with 'snacks', most of which were weeds and grasses they'd gathered, but it didn't matter to the sheep. They enjoyed the attention anyway!





And sorry for the plug, so if you don't want to see it, look away now, but if you happen to be interested in my own and very real adventures with sheep, especially Emily, they are all here in my semi-autobiographical novel, How to breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics. While the story itself is fiction, the setting and all the animal incidents are true! Oh I had so much fun, I did...

12 comments:

  1. I'm glad someone loves sheep! One of my brothers is a farmer, and he believes that sheep have one aim in life and that is to die and the farmer's job is to thwart them and keep them alive. (His son, however, loves them and has a small flock!)

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    1. Oh Jo, I've never known sheep with a death wish! All the sheep of my acquaintance have had a 'dash' wish...as soon as they see a gap, they make a dash for freedom - even the ones in our field here do that. I'm glad your nephew likes them too :)

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  2. Fleecy soft memories...I think I'll float off to sleep tonight in a field of sheeples. And you should mention "How to breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics" without apology. A sparkling humorous book that's so much fun to read - but folks have to know about it first!

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    1. Thank you, dear Steph! That's so kind! Xx

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  3. I think if you get to know any animal you will find they all have personalities. I had never thought anything about chickens before we had them at a villa we rented in a Turkey. I got to love them all and they were all so different until the owner told me they wouldn't be there in a few months. Which is why I could never be a farmer.

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    1. Anne, I love chickens too!! They are so funny! You're right about all animals having personalities. I coud never have slaughtered any of mine, I know. It's the main reason I became vegetarian.

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  4. What a lovely, happy post Val, thanks for sharing your fondness of sheep, a very enjoyable read

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    1. And thank you so much for the comment Angela! Sheep are just delightful when you get to know them!

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  5. Hi Val - I should have read this before I wrote my A-Z posts ... so I will get to read it at some stage. I'd no idea the word sheeple is a word - but describes people so well ... lovely to see the sheep out back, but yes they do tend to go elsewhere ... sometimes I'm very guzzlingly delighted! Cheers Hilary

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  6. Thank you for sharing your memories. I once thought of getting a few sheep to keep the grass down but my husband thought I was off my head! Perhaps I am as we do live on a housing estate.

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  7. The Jacob ram is new to me - quite different from our Australian sheep. It does sound like you had fun with your sheep back in the day. Loved reading your memories Val.

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  8. I like sheep too - next week we are off to the South of England Agricultural Show where many splendid specimens are exhibited...

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