Sunday, November 22, 2009
**warning to my vegetarian friends...this blog contains mentions of meat and the enjoyment of eating it!**
When we began raising sheep, it was to have a some variety in the meat we ate. We were raising cows and chickens at the time, and the sheep seemed like a manageable addition. However, when we walked in the barn to pick up one of the lambs we had gotten for a "real bargain", I realized that this one was not headed to the freezer. No, somehow, we ended up in the sheep breeding/raising business....and this without ever having had a homegrown lambchop! I have no idea what we were thinking.
We got some more sheep, Tom and Amanda learned to shear. (that experience is worthy of it's own blog entry) The girls learned to spin, knit, weave and crochet. I began to understand veterinary medicine by necessity. We learned a LOT, and learned it the hard way. We even came up with a family saying that will live on in infamy. "....learned a LOT on that sheep, Tom...." Birth and death, illness and robust health, all took on new meaning once we started being shepherds.
When the meat was finally harvested, we felt a real sense of accomplishment. It was delicious...but, it was SO small! hmmm, back to the learning part of this experience. We found that you can't do it all. If you want wool, you don't necessarily get meat. We changed breeds, we learned more about nutrition.
The '09 lamb crop was the best yet. The lambing went well (for the most part) the lambs grew well (for the most part)....and the lamb chops were BIG and delicious (for the most part) aaahhh, the sweet taste of success! (and LAMB CHOPS!)