Naming My Sheep

Tess, Socks, and Suzy

What fun, I thought after the sheep arrived, now I get to name them.  Tess’ name came to me right away.  She’s the oldest of the three and as soon as she settled in she walked over to me and checked me out.  I scratched her neck and she let me.  Some names are just good sheep names.  Tess is one of those names.

But Tess also has meaning for me.  Tess, the person,  bought my first quilt.  When I  started my company (it was YesNo Quilts at the time)  I was only selling quilts and Tess was my best customer.  Sales were slow back then, but Tess always seemed to come through just when I thought I might never sell another quilt.  And she stayed with me, though all the changes.   We got to meet briefly a few times, then last year she came for a visit.   We found we had so much in common,  If we lived closer to each other we’d be good friends.  As it is, we’ve become long distance friends.  Naming the sheep, Tess, seemed just right for my new business venture, which is  also a personal  venture into another  part of myself.  I feel a different kind of  responsibility  for these sheep,than I’ve ever felt before,  like it’s up to me to make it work.


Suzy is named after another internet friend.  I first met Suzy when she  and her family she came to visit Bedlam Farm.  I liked her right away.  We kept in touch on-line and met from time to time at shows and readings. Last fall I invited Suzy to be in the Functional Art Show at the Pig Barn Gallery.  She’s a spinner and knitter (has sheep of her own) and she made hats and shawls from her wool, which were a bit hit at the show.   Although we live far from each other and  have very different lives,  Suzy and I just “get” each other.  Especially those things that I might think twice about saying to just anyone.   Suzy, the sheep, is still a bit shy, but she did let me get close enough to get this picture.  Soon I’ll be scratching her neck.

Socks is the smallest of the three.  She’s the first to run, when I come around.  I’ll probably have to get the grain out for her, and just be patient.  Mostly she hangs around with Suzy.  I was thinking about all the things a person could make with wool and socks came to mind.  It’s a cute word and that little sheep, who keeps running away from me, is pretty cute.  I thought it was a good fit.

Today, as I was walking down the hill from the pole barn where the sheep were resting, I thought again of my responsibility for them.   I saw myself in the New Bedlam Farm, surrounded by a  large flock of sheep, my sheep, and we were in it together, taking care of each other.  Me providing them with a good, safe, nourishing home and them providing wool.  One of the old stories.

20 thoughts on “Naming My Sheep

  1. What lovely faces they have, Maria. I am excited for you and can feel the confidence in your words. I know this will be a successful and satisfying venture.

  2. Love the names you have chosen. I think it is important to choose the right name for an animal . I have had a lot of cats in recent years (I have had a foster home since 2009) and I have named many of them. Sometimes the name just pops out, as with your Tess, but when it doesn’t I spend a lot of time thinking it over. There needs to be a story behind the name.
    I liked reading aout how Tess was so immediately drawn to you. Last year a lady called to make an appointment to meet one of my foster cats. When she walked into the room one of the other cats lifted her head, jumped up and rushed over to her and when she sat, jumped into her lap. She had never reacted that way with anyone before. To me it was obvious these two spirits had been together before. I don’t try to understand it but Inam convinced that it is so. The lady adopted her, of course and two months later the other cat was scooped up by a couple who were totally the right people for her. It’s so great when things work out right, isn’t it! Good luck with the sheep!

  3. Maria, Happy Anniversary!!! I think it’s wonderful that you and Jon are moving to the New Bedlam Farm with new adventures and a house that you both fell in love with!! I hope one day soon to buy one of your quilted pieces.
    Good luck with Tess and the girls!!! As a knitter, I look forward to reading about your wool business.

  4. I hope I can acquire some of your wool in the future. I’m buying my daughter a spinning wheel for Christmas this year and will need wool to go with it.

  5. Tess, Suzy and Socks
    Won the lottery of flocks
    No need to worry or bleat.

    With Maria’s huge heart
    They’re off on a fine start
    Prospects look oh so sweet.

    A new farm in their future
    Much love there to nurture
    Makes this human wish to be sheep!

  6. Such wonderfully fitting names! They all have such individual personalities, don’t they? What a joy to get to know them and for them to learn to trust and love you, their new ‘shepherdess’.

  7. Great names for all 3 sheep. Your friend’s idea that you consider selling fleece for spinners in addition to selling yarn for knitters/weavers/crocheters, made all my pistons fire. Hope that it’s something you will consider, whether you sell the fleece ready to spin or raw for crazy people like me to skirt, wash, card and spin!

  8. Maria, I love the way you connected with your sheep–the names seem so appropriate. It is obvious you will love and care for them the same way you do for the donkeys, for Rocky and all of the animals. You are a natural, and you have such a stong way of connecting to each and every one of them. I’m sure your next venture with the sheep will be as successful as all of your others. I look forward to the day when all of you are in your new home. Wishing you much success with the upcoming show.

  9. Mari, loved your sheep story, you are a writer and maybe don’t know it yet! Will be looking forward to “your sheep” adventure. Good luck.

  10. As a longtime shepherd and spinner, I want to welcome you to the fold. Women make the best shepherds! (I read where Jon admitted to not feeling much of a connection to the sheep that were at his farm before.) I think we can relate to a sheep’s nature better for some reason. Though there is sometimes heartache (which I just had with a favorite ewe), the joys do outweigh the sorrow. Love the names you’ve chosen.

  11. Love Tess as a name! I named my dalmatian dog Tess, I just love it each time I call her. From Aussie Tink

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