Sheep have been domesticated for so long that, like cows, I don’t think of them as ever having been wild.
But every once in a while they do something that reminds me there was a time when sheep were not bred and kept by humans and had very different lives.
I see it when they butt heads for reasons I can’t understand. And in their strange horizontal pupils which allow them to see almost behind them while grazing with their heads down.
And I saw it in this picture I took of the sheep grazing a few weeks ago. There’s something about it, maybe it’s their determination to graze even when most of the pasture is covered in snow, that makes them look wild to me.
As if we were strangers and I just happened upon them unexpectedly in their natural habitat.
Liam put his front feet up on a rock and looked right at me as if posing for a photo shoot. So I took some pictures. Maybe he was thinking of the photo shoot I did of his mother Suzy last week and wanted to get in on it.
Suzy is working on a new shawl. It wasn’t planned, she just felt the urge to make another, a need to work with these colors.
Suzy and I make an effort to sell her shawls leading up to the holidays. But winter is going to be here for a while and it’s quite possible that someone who wanted one of Suzy’s shawls is still looking for one.
Anyway, it’s never a good idea to stifle a creative urge.
“I’ve been thinking of it as Kitty’s Shawl,” Suzy texted me.
We’d been discussing a name for it, it’s the shawl I saw as feathers, the one with the natural wool. Wool from both my sheep Socks and Issachar. As well as Churro, which comes from Navajo-Churro sheep.
But I couldn’t write “Kitty’s Shawl” as the name of the shawl on my blog because it was Kitty’s Christmas gift from her husband Charlie.
Kitty sent me this photo of her in her shawl on Christmas morning. You may remember Kitty, she’s a dancer and artist as well as a good friend. She introduced me to Bellydancing and had her drawings in the last two Bedlam Farm Open Houses.
The funny thing is when Kitty texted me the photo she wrote…”I love my Suzy Shawl!”
Suzy has the most expressive eyes of all my sheep. That is, no doubt, because they show up in her face so prominently. I didn’t realize it when I took these pictures of her, but later saw we had a successful photo shoot.
When I looked at this picture after taking it, I didn’t think sheep, I thought wool. With snow on the ground, the sheep and donkeys are hungry by the time I feed them. First hay, then I put out three buckets with grain.
We have three feeders too. Fanny and Lulu get one and most of the sheep are at the other. The twins, Asher and Issachar go to the standing feeder. Some of the other sheep sometimes join them there.
They all get their fill, but I make sure the older sheep, Socks, Suzy, Biddy and Kim, get enough grain. They can hear me fill put the grain in the buckets in the barn then are at the gate when I bring them. The younger sheep haven’t figured that out yet.
But they may as the winter goes on.
Like many people around the country, we’re expecting a snowstorm to arrive this evening. There’s no new snow yet, but we are as prepared for it as we can be.
Last week I wrote about the shawl that Suzy was making. The last one of the season. Today she sent me a picture of it. This is the shawl that has wool in it from my sheep Socks and Issachar.
It also has Churro wool in it too which comes from Navajo-Churro Sheep. It is the tannish color spun in with the lighter colors on the shawl.
When I first looked at the picture of Suzy’s shawl I kept thinking it felt like something, but I couldn’t quite place it. I saw the woods in it, but also the sky. Then it came to me, the shawl feels like feathers.
Something in the way the colors blend and fade in and out, balanced by the darker areas. It reminds me of the hawk wings I found a few days ago. I think that’s why when I first connected it to the woods, to trees, it wasn’t quite right.
This shawl is more of the air than the earth.
And it is sold. Even before I got to see it finished, to think about it, to name it, Suzy’s shawl was sold.