"I see you have goats!"
If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me...
For all you city folk out there, let me explain:
Goats have small pointy tails that stick straight up in the air, kinda like a deer, while sheep have long tails that hang down, kinda like that of a cow.
There, that was easy, wasn't it? But, you say, I thought sheep had short stubby tails and thick puffy wooly coats! Well, katahdins are a type of hair sheep, so they aren't very wooly to speak of. They shed their winter coats sort of like a horse would in the springtime. It isn't necessary to shear, or clip their coats, because they shed naturally. Of course, if you are into wool and want the fiber, then hair sheep are not for you. However, if you are looking for a meat breed that tolerates the heat well, then meet katahdins.
When I was growing up, my family had a tradition. On Sunday nights we would gather around the table and a big wooden bowl of golden, fluffy and fragrant, freshly-popped popcorn. We sat around and stuffed our faces and laughed and recounted stories together and basically had a grand old time. Sometimes a few of our friends would join with us and that made it all the more fun. We would find something we deemed hilarious to talk about and then laugh until our sides hurt. Dad would cut up apples and pass the pieces around and we would slather the crunchy slices in delicious peanut butter. “Apples with peanut butter?!” I remember a couple of times that some poor friend had never seen such a thing before, and it would garner odd or quizzical stares. Invariably however, if we could just get said skeptical person to try it, the usual response was, “Hey this is pretty good!” Yep. When we had all eaten just about as much as we could, and dad’s offer of more apple pieces was met with, “No really I’m just too full,” instead of, “Well maybe just one more,” we would clear the table and play Apples to Apples and laugh some more until our sides hurt again.
Phoebe is only a yearling. She just had her first birthday this past December. Yesterday as we were taking a walk around looking at things, Lance noticed that Phoebe was in labor. I had wanted to witness a lamb birth for quite some time. Up until this point though it had always somehow happened when we were either sleeping or gone from the house altogether, as though the stork had just delivered them out of thin air and they appeared like beautiful little presents in the field, received lovingly by the expectant mothers. This time though we were fortunate and privileged to witness a miracle.
You can learn a lot from your neighbors. Sometimes even the smallest bit of wisdom learned from a neighbor can completely revolutionize your life. My neighbors have literally saved the lives of a few of my animals in the past. But those are stories for another day. If any of my neighbors are reading this, and you know who you are, then please know that I am deeply grateful for you. In any case, back to the story at hand:
My friend and neighbor, Sonny, can literally grow anything. Her freezer is full of blackberries and figs and peaches. She and her husband grow, harvest and sell the most wonderful pecans, and she never hesitates to share. On more than one occasion she has lined the back table at church with a beautiful offering of fat green cabbages and plump juicy red tomatoes. The advantages of being in a small church community in the South are, “Ya’ll take some I’ve got too many! Here’s you some plastic Wal-Mart bags to put stuff in!”