And you thought January 1st is the beginning of a new year? Or maybe if you are a teacher or a parent of little people you might even consider the day after Labour Day September to be the beginning of new year? Well, if you farm sheep your new year is just about now.
"Now" is when you let your ram stop pacing up and down the fenceline in one pasture fantasizing about what he would do with those women in that pasture just over there if only that darn shepherd would check the calendar and realize it is "now". "Now" is when the ladies in the other pasture start fluffing up their new wool coats and make "come hither" looks at the fellows over there in the "boys only" section of the pasture.
I say "just about" because for each shepherd the exact date may differ but for just about everyone in our climate it is sometime between the beginning and middle of November. The exact date will depend on when in the spring a shepherd wants to start the every two hour vigil of sneaking quietly into a dark barn with a flashlight to look for signs of lambing activity.
For me, 2016 lambing season will start tomorrow, Nov. 14th. That makes this New Years Eve.
In the barn on my New Years Eve the rams are standing up on their stall doors tonight saying "pick me, pick me!". Each one has very bravely offered up his services to do the very daunting task of ensuring that everyone who needs lamb meat in 2016 will get lamb meat. If that means he has to have sex numerous time with multiple females, well....someone has to do it. And so, there they stand, looking all eager and perky as they try to look very tall and masculine standing up on their stall doors on this New Years Eve.
Have I mentioned my ram's names? (the late) George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum. Why?
Well, because they are the world's sexiest rams of course, each ram having earned his title by my twenty-something daughters.
So, like any New Years Eve I am sitting now, with glass of wine in hand, reflecting on how things should be different in the coming year. And, really, I have a huge decision to make tonight....
Red, Green, Yellow, or Blue?
Until I started all this sheepishness a few short years ago I had no idea that there are sex toys for sheep. I wondered when I started the very first fall, how I was going to know when the relationship between my ram and a ewe had progressed past holding hands and necking in the back of the pasture while watching movies, to steaming up the backseat of the ram's little douce coupe. So, like any newbie, I googled it. Low and behold I found I could buy this perfect sheep sex toy, online , of course. A breeding harness. I know, I wondered if it was going to arrive in the mail wrapped in plain brown paper just like you are wondering.
And this is where the big conundrum comes in tonight about colours. Each ram , outfitted with a breeding harness can mark his sheep with a different colour. All you do is put a special piece of chalk in the fitting on the harness. When the ram jumps on the ewe, she then sports his "colour". I don't know whether I would liken it to getting a hickey or just wearing the ram's football jacket.
So, my colour choices are.......Red, Green, Yellow and Blue.
My first breeding season I had a little ram that had been destined for someone's table but was offered to me as a breeding ram with the full intention that we would eat him when breeding season was finished. My very talented artist sister-in-law depicts the fall story perfectly in a pillow she made me that year.
If you look closely each sheep has a blue dot except one. (The one without the blue dot is the ewe mentioned in my first blog that ended up being my introduction to lambing much earlier than anticipated.) The sheep upside down to the others is the ram that served the ewes and then served us many delicious winter meals, in his memorial picture on the pillow he is complete with breeding harness.
So, what shall the sex fashion colour be this year? Red, Green, Yellow or Blue?