Friday, April 16, 2010

Baa Baa black sheep…

Our sheep have no wool.  The are registered Katahdin Hair Sheep.  Their whole purpose in life is to grow big and provide meat. 
They’ve had another purpose, though.  They’ve provided us a lot of joy.  Jim especially. 
For ten years, he’s hopped on his four wheeler at least once a day, usually twice, to check on the sheep.  You know, they need a bit of grain to bring them in each night, and a flake of hay here and there.  Or a LOT of hay during the winter.  
Every year during lambing season, I’ve grabbed my trusty Pentax camera and headed down to the sheep field to cuddle the new babies and take pictures.  It has been a ritual of ours.
This lambing season has resulted in some really sweet, docile lambs.  This little guy kept wandering over to where I was sitting on a milk carton.  I held him for the longest time.
What is that saying about “the eye is the mirror of the soul”… something like that… 
When the babies are only a few weeks old, it is difficult to get pictures of just the babies without their mamas.  These little guys didn’t seem to give a hoot, though.  I think they were planning their escape.
Have you ever been fussed at by a sheep?  I think I just was.
One of our first sheep was a bottle fed baby, Mary Ann.  She would always greet us when we’d come down to the field.  Ten year old MaryAnn didn’t survive the harsh winter, being the last of the original five sheep to die.   This pretty white baby is MaryAnn’s grandlamb and has her grandewe’s personality.  So sweet.
”Watch that crazy lady over there.  Yea, the one sitting on the milk carton.  She’s going to do something really nutso in about five minutes.  She always does.”
This little guy had just been born moments earlier. 
Have you picked up that I’ve been using the the past tense?  We have decided to get out of the sheep business.  We like to travel and that is difficult to do when you have farm animals.
Here is our biggest dilemma.  Radar.  We both love this dog.  He is a guard dog.  Having been bred for that purpose, he needs a job to do.  If there are no sheep, there is no job.  We are thinking the best thing for Radar is to let him stay with the sheep when they are sold.  It is a hard decision to make.
Actually, the whole decision to sell the sheep has been a difficult one.  I hope we aren’t making a mistake. This was supposed to be a fun post, and it turned into an emotional one for me.  Oh dear.  Maybe we aren’t ready to quit yet…


Funny in My Mind said...

You know how I like to talk to animals so I am coming over to talk to and love on those babies!!!
That lamb in the bowl, preparing himself for a future on a plate! Ha!
When you travel next, come by and meet me at the restaurant for coffee (and bring that white lamb!)
Good luck trying to decide on your future, hope it all works out.
Are there a lot of people who want to buy a sheep farm?

Anonymous said...

This almost made me cry. I hope your heart leads you to the right decision and that it will be a win-win for you as well as all the critters and Radar too. :-(

The Blue Ridge Gal

Toriz said...

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you are happy with your decision.

Sheep aren't the only thing Radar can guard. He can guard you humans too!

Flat Creek Farm said...

Oh, what a tough dilemma! Those lambs are just darling. We weren't in the sheep business very long. It was many years ago, and we couldn't keep the coyotes at bay. But then again, no one but me wanted a guard dog :) If they'd listened to me, we might still be in the sheep business. Men! :D Love your pictures and memories about them. -Tammy

That corgi :) said...

they are sooo cute! I think if Radar could go with the sheep (if you decide to sell) it would be a good thing for him to keep his job up, though I know you will miss him and the sheep

good luck with the decision making! I know you guys will make the best one for you all (sheep included)


katie said...

What a tough decision. Listen to your heart. I know what mine would say, but that might not be what yours will say.
I guess I wasn't much help was I.

Queenie Jeannie said...

What a tough choice!! I think you will both know what the right choice for you is, and WHEN it is. Try not to stress over it.

They really are incredibly darling!!!!

Anonymous said...

How old is Radar? Maybe when he dies would be the right time to get rid of the sheep. You don't know if others would treat him the way you guys do. The lambs are sooooo cute. I would want to keep them all.

AliceKay said...

Wow...really tough decision for you and Jim to have to make. :(

I loved the pictures of your flock. The lambs are so cute. This post brought back memories of when my grandfather raised sheep. (our trailer sits on land that used to be part of his sheep pasture) He raised them for the wool and the lambs. I just looked up the breed he had and they were the Suffolk...with the black faces.

Yep, I've been fussed at by a few sheep before. I had a ram chase me up one of my grandfather's apple trees one time when I was a kid, and my dad had to come rescue me from the tree....and from the sheep who gathered below the tree. (i think i've mentioned it to you a time or two)

The eyes are the windows to the soul. I firmly believe that.

When I read the last part of your post, my heart went out to you. Radar is such a loyal dog. Tough decision to have to make there. I know I wouldn't want to have to make it. *hugs*

Intense Guy said...

The fact that you have "invested" ten years into this and have enjoyed it so much, coupled with the oh-you-can-get-any-cuter-ness (its a new word - I just made it up) of seeing the babies makes this a very hard decision without even considering Radar.

I hope you will retain "visitation" rights if you do sell - maybe Jim can get hired on as a sheephand - I suspect he has a bit of experience with it and the electric fence.

LadyStyx said...

If you're not sure if you're ready, then that's your answer. I think Anon had a good idea, keep going until Radar's ready to retire for the business because you don't know how well he'll get along with the new bosses...

Teri said...

I just love these photos. I don't if I would be able to keep myself from hugging those little lambs all the time.

Hope your travels are fun. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Awww hugs you tight and hopes that whatever decision you make you and your family will be happy, what beautiful pictures of the sheep and the doggy thanks so much for sharing and I can only imagine what a difficult decision that would be to make....hugsss

Anonymous said...

PS, I love your new blog layout, I wish I was talented enough to do something with mine :o)

AliceKay said...

I came back to mention that the pictures you have at the top of your blog are really nice and homey. Makes for a beautiful heading. Love it. (Lynn is right)

Privet and Holly said...

Hi, Silly Grama : ) What a heartfelt post about a big decision. Follow that inner voice and you won't go wrong. Adorable flock, adorable dog, adorable YOU. Thank you for visiting earlier today and you are welcome back any time! xx P&H

jewelzmomof4 said...

AWWWWWW!!!!! Mom I know this is a very hard decision for you and Dad. I wish Radar was able to stay on with you all it might maje the decision a little easier you said he is a working dog and he needs a job. I wish I could give you some help with the decision but....I can't I know what Travis would say though... "Grandma and Grandpa just pack them all up and bring them to my back yard and i will care for them" lol. You know he would too. Good luck with the decision I love you all very much.