Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Feeling Sheepish

Sheep. I know next to nothing about them. I am just like my hero Hart in Paradise who “now owned a vast quantity of sheep about which he knew absolutely nothing, save that they tasted delicious and their wool was warm.” Wool sweaters make me itch, and I can’t even remember the last time I ate leg of lamb.

When our kids were little, we restored (or tried to) an 1820s farmhouse on 40 acres. We had a fenced pasture, and our neighbor would put his sheep in it, and later his Clydesdale horses. It was perfect for us to experience the animal part of farming without the work. The only thing I could tell you for sure is that sheep sh*t a lot. But somehow I have gotten Mistress by Midnight’s Marquess of Conover, Laurette Vincent and their children ensconced in the West Yorkshire dales with a flock of sheep.

I know. As the mistress of my domain, I could have kept them in London or Dorset, totally sheepless. But honestly, how could I resist? The Marquess’ given name is Desmond Ryland, and there happens to be a sheep breed called Ryeland. Ovis Kismet. Ovis, by the by, is Latin for sheep. I now know drovers’ tracks through Britain, and that if sheep are not sheared, feces sticking to the wool breed maggots which kill the host. Ugh. According to the Medieval Bestiary, “The sheep is a defenseless, placid animal. It is covered with soft wool. Sheep gather grass in early winter before it is destroyed by frost. The ancients first offered sheep as sacrifices, rather than bulls.”

If you want to see an adorable lady with her adorable sheep, click here . According to her site, she met with Prince Charles and he and he is now the owner of two of her sheep. King George III (Farmer George) also owned Ryeland sheep, so if they’re good enough for royalty, they’re good enough for me.

How did I, a middle-aged woman who grew up in a suburb of New York City, veer off into sheep territory? I’ll do anything for romance.

What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve written or read about? What's your favorite farm animal?

The concept of two people living together for 25 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep. ~A.P. Herbert

Huge thanks to all of you who played along with Finish This Mess last week. Secret sheep and babies around the world are grateful for the recognition. You just don't know how your support and hilarity has helped me get closer to The End. A big bad baa goes to Terrio! E-mail so I can send you your prizes!


Tiffany Kenzie said...

wait that doesn't mean I have tonight to write my ending? I'm still writing it... tres busy... great tiff ending to come! Tonight... Watch for the sheep, Laurie an Con.

Maggie Robinson said...

Better late than never! Post it below, or here...but the prize is gone, sweetie. Will you work for free, LOL?

Elyssa Papa said...

I like pigs. I'm sure they stink to high heaven, especially covered in mud, but they look funny to me. It doesn't look like they should be able to walk on those little hooves, and they're pink! Who can't resist an animal who's naturally pink? LOL

Congrats, Terri!!!!

terrio said...

Whoohoo! Angst and sugar win out again. LOL!

My favorite farm animal might be goats. They are great watchdogs (uh goats), natural lawn mowers, and have enough personality to provide hours of entertainment.

For most unexpected thing I've read or written...hmmmm...CM's hero gives his heroine a rather unusual gift. Don't want to say any more than that. (quiet I was surprised when my first sex scene took place on the kitchen counter. Other than that, I hope I have more surprises in the future of that caliber. LOL!

Off to email my addy!

BernardL said...

You have a hero named 'Hart'?

Maggie Robinson said...

Bernard, technically he's a baron, Lord Hartford. But then there's all the deep subtext, LOL.

Ely, pigs are cute. Wilbur forever. Some pig. Sigh.

Terri, somewhere I've got a picture of a goat that's kissing me. I was about 6 or 7, I think. My stepgrandmother had eccentric friends who lived on a huge estate and let their pet goat into the house.

Anonymous said...

Elyssa's comment about pigs stirred a memory about something I read. A couple had a pig that lived in their house. The Law said they couldn't keep livestock within the city limits. The couple argued in court that the pig was a member of the family, not livestock. They claimed he came to the table for dinner, watched TV with them and drank beer. He was civilized.

They won their case.

RevMelinda said...

Thinking about sheep always stirs a scrap of doggerel from my past. . .as a student at Mount Holyoke (a women's college), we had a saying about Dartmouth (formerly a men's college) that we thought was hilarious and hooted and snorted over (ah, youth). . .here it is for your edification:

"Dartmouth College,
In the wilds of Hanover, New Hampshire--
Where men are men,
Women are few,
And sheep are very nervous."

I apologize to any Dartmouth alums who are reading this--it's actually a fabulous school (visited it this summer with my daughter) and undeserving of such inter-collegiate tackiness.

You'd think that, being a minister, I would associate sheep with the Lamb of God or something. But no, I think of Dartmouth. I am so messed up.

terrio said...

I just had to tell you that I blame you completely for the sheep that showed up in my dream last night. I have NEVER dreamed about sheet before. LOL! And to make it even weirder, the sheep were stacked hoof on hoof like wool-covered legos or something. Very freaky.

Maggie Robinson said...

I can't control your dreams, Terri. I can't even control mine, LOL. If it makes you feel better, this story has been keeping me up at night too!

RevM, love it. My grandmother "kept company" with a Yale man who still sang with the Whiffenpoofs (sp?) right up until he died at the age of 81. He was always singing "We are poor little lambs who have gone astray.Baa baa baa." You gotta watch out for those Ivy League guys.

Anon, if George Clooney could keep a potbellied pig, I don't see why a beer-swilling pig should be discriminated against. :)