How Many Sheep Are Too Many Sheep

Jon skirting wool
Jon skirting Kim’s wool

I never wanted nine sheep.   Four, maybe five at the most.  I think  because with more than that it’s hard to keep track of them, it’s hard to get to know them.  And like most things, the more sheep, the more time it takes to care for them, the more Vet bills, the more hay you need and on and on.  Sheep are not my passion, wool isn’t my passion.  But I like having sheep and selling their wool.   I’ve become attached to our sheep, but there’s a line between having a few sheep and selling some wool, and being a sheep farmer.

I’m not a  farmer.  Lambing cured me of any ideas I may have had about my ability to be a farmer.  I believed when Jon and I decided to lamb that I’d have no problem giving some of the lambs back to Daryl, who would either breed them or send them to market.   But I do have a problem with it.  I seem to have gotten attached to them.  And as much as I didn’t want more than five sheep, I don’t want to give the lambs away even more.

So Jon and I came up with a way to deal with it.  (You can read his version of it all on his blog)  Ted the ram will go back to Vermont tomorrow and so will Kim, the sheep we got in the fall.  Kim’s a nice sheep, with lovely wool and the face of the puppet Lambchop.  But she came with Ted and hasn’t been here very long.  And being a sheep, she’ll go back to where she came from and become a part of the flock again.  (As I know, would any of the other sheep if we sent them to Daryl’s)

So next year, we’ll have eight fleeces to skirt instead of six  (Ted was here for shearing so I’ll have his wool in the fall) and more wool to sell. I’ll be sad to see Kim go, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing for us to do.

Many times during lambing I thought I’d rather not be doing it.   That it wasn’t worth the suffering the sheep endured and my emotional ups and downs that went along with it.   But then I remind myself, that like love, I’d rather have it than not. I would rather have animals and experience the pain that goes along with the joy than not have them at all. And although I haven’t always felt this way,  if I’m going to be alive, I want to live life fully.  And not let fear of loss or pain stop me from experiencing all of it.

13 thoughts on “How Many Sheep Are Too Many Sheep

  1. I just read your last paragraph to my husband – we are sitting outside on the patio having a cocktail – he said wow! What a wise woman…she could make some great pot holders out of that! It cracked me up because it’s true and also because I didn’t realize he was paying such close attention to the characters on ‘my’ blogs. Great post. 🙂

    1. Oh thanks Brenda, Hmm I’ll have to think about what your husband said about the potholders. There could be something there. Tell him thanks too.

  2. “And although I haven’t always felt this way, if I’m going to be alive, I want to live life fully. And not let fear of loss or pain stop me from experiencing all of it.”

    Gosh, and that is such a hard one. Good for you, Maria. I’m trying but have not quite gotten there yet.

  3. Thanks for your post Maria. As I struggle with the health issues and care that come with aging dogs, it was good to be reminded of why I do it. Your last paragraph summed it up – I will always feel that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I hope I will always feel that way.

    Althea

  4. Kim’s fleece will give you incredible wool and it will be “OOAK” as they say in knitting circles (one of a kind). I’m glad you had her for a while. You’ve got a nice flock now and some beautiful lambs. Red has more sheep to herd. And, you’ve had the experience of lambing. It’s all good…

  5. Is it possible to sign up in advance for some of Kim’s yarn and next year’s wool? I would love to have some skeins of this rare Karakul wool to knit!

  6. Maria, I have grown to look forward to your posts; your strength in who you know you are is uplifting. Thank you!

  7. I thought this was just beautiful!
    “I would rather have animals and experience the pain that goes along with the joy than not have them at all.” And although I haven’t always felt this way, if I’m going to be alive, I want to live life fully. And not let fear of loss or pain stop me from experiencing all of it.

    My husband feels this way too about our dogs. “It has been difficult losing them but we would rather have the animals and experience the pain along with the joy than not have them at all.” And usually when we lose one we get another. Probably not again, since we are getting older. Thanks for the article. Touched my heart.

  8. Feeling it all..your blog and art help me do just that. Thank you for sharing your lambing experience from the heart.

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