Sunday, April 12, 2009

Noodle & Harriet

Well, I wrote about just some of what I learned yesterday at Alice's farm. What I didn't talk about much were two of the sheep and several of the delightful people that I met.

I met Alice, the shepardess. I also met her boyfriend, who for a first-time shearer, did a super fine job. I also met Cat, who had come into to help with the shearing, and like me was looking to score some fleece. I also met Alice's mother and father.

Now, some of the sheep that I met... There were a bunch of sheep. I think Alice said she has 30 or so. She also has dogs, chickens, horses and cats. The neighbor had goats and pigs. Alice said she has 8 acres and is getting ready to lease 5 more from one of the other neighbors for additional pastureland.

But individually, I met one or four meat sheep. These gals have no names. Just gets too complicated. I met two or three Finns. I believe they have names, but don't remember them. The bottle lamb, named Flynn, is a Finn. I think that Alice uses the Finns as dual purpose sheep (I could be dead wrong here) but I know that Flynn is not going to the market.

Then there was Iona. She was mother to twins, I think. She is a Shetland and her fleece was reserved. There was Brownie, who had also given birth to twins, but one little one was stepped upon by a larger sheep and did not survive. Her fleece was also reserved. There was a lovely Shetland Ewe in with the Wild Ones whose job was to help them become calm. I cannot remember her name, unfortunately. Then there were the Wild Ones. One of them, as I will tell you later, did earn her name.

The Icelandics I met were Blackie, and she was the mother of the yearling who half fleece I brought home. The yearling was named as she was sheared. Her name is now Harriet. Harriet was a rescue, just as her mother was a year before. Harriet, once shorn, was seen to be in very thin condition with her bone structure very evident. She is very tiny which may be due to poor nutritional care as a lamb. But her fleece is lovely and I'm delighted to have half. The other half went with Cat who is doing a fleece study.

But the wild ones... they were saved from the slaughter and seemed very healthy. Their feet needs a little work but not as much as Harriet's (she of the toenail overgrowth from hell). We only captured and sheared one. Alice and her boyfriend entered the small enclosure where the Wild Ones were being held. If I had not gone to look I would sworn there was a bar fight going on. Thumping and bumping and banging about! It was frightening to hear. I finally went and poked my head around the barn door opening to see sheep literally flying, leaping and crashing against the walls in desperate attempts to escape the horrible humans! But Alice's boyfriend caught one in mid leap and hung on.

I'm guessing this ewe weighed about 45 or 50 pounds. Her fleece was beautiful. Golden on the outside, greys with browns on the inside. Her face was beautiful, almost deer like in it's aspect.

When we attempted to put her into the head holding frame on the shearing stand, she simply laid down and pulled her slender head and neck downward until she slipped out. When the neck chain was tightened to the point she could not pull her head out, she just decided death was the better option and chose to try and hang herself. We quickly realized this animal was not beneith self sacrifice, so we put a halter on her, took her out of the head holder contraption, and with three people holding her and one shearing, we got her out of her fleece.

She reminded me of the protesters during the Vietnam War. If the Man came to get you, they were told, go limp like a noodle and they will have to either leave you there, or carry you out. So, Noodle became her name.

Cat purchased Noodles fleece and I decided to "adopt" her and gave Alice enough money (so Alice says) to pay for her regular maintenance shots, wormings, food, etc. for a year. I will get her Fall fleece. I think Alice is under pricing Noodle's care, but we will see.

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