I was surprised when I looked at this photo of my sheep Kim, how she looked old to me.
That seems to happen with my animals, they age gradually and since I see them every day, it’s hard to notice. Sometimes the truth is easier to see in a photo.
Kim is a Karakul.
She’s an Asian sheep, and one of only two of my sheep who hasn’t had her tail docked. (Izzy is the other). Karakuls are thought to be one of the oldest domesticated sheep. They come from harsh environments with little food or water. So they’re very hardy and not prone to common diseases like foot rot. They store fat in their tail, which provides them with nutrition when they need it.
I got Kim after Tess, one of my first sheep, died. She came from the same farmer. His daughter was raising Karakuls and I liked the idea of having a different kind of wool.
We didn’t know that Kim was pregnant when we got her so when she gave birth it was unexpected. The lamb died, I was never sure exactly what happened. We found her dead outside the pole barn one morning.
Karakul lambs are often raised for their tight curly wool. But the wool isn’t shorn, the lambs are slaughtered and skinned. Their pelts were made into hats and sometimes coats. I brought Kim’s dead lamb out to the woods. I think of how, in another time, I would have skinned the lamb and made a hat from her wool.
Kim has always been skittish. She won’t let me get too close to her. Although she never challenged Red, she’ll lower her head and stamp a foot at Fate or Bud.
I’ve read that Karakul wool is good for felters, but lately I’ve been mixing her wool with Rosemary’s and Liam’s and either dying it or keeping it white.
Even though Kim has gotten older, I still think she looks like Shari Lewis’ puppet, Lambchop.