Friday, September 01, 2006

what is important?

I've been amiss it seems. Missing the point of showing and selling sheep.
I'm thinking that both of those efforts can fog what's really important.
Sheep, no matter how charming and lovable they seem, cannot replace people in our lives.
Who is your most important person? Have you let them know that they are that important to you?
Does showing your precious lamb or ram with his shiny horns mean more than your friendship with the other breeders showing? Will you latch on to a prospective sheep buyer, and discredit the other sheep around you to make sure they buy from you?...this year, next spring?
I hope not, people will eventually learn that there are many pretty sheep, some fancy, some plain....some friendly, some shy....but sheep they are.
Same thing with breeders....some breeding a long time....some less....some experienced....some not....some love each and every sheep....some think of them as livestock. Buying a sheep is not like adopting a child....we could all buy the very next sheep we saw and make a wonder flock addition out of that sheep. It really doesn't matter, a sheep is a sheep.

They are not people, not friends, not helpers, not permanent. The oldest sheep will never live as long as the children, the partner, the parents, the neighbors.
No matter how good a shepherd you attempt to be, the sheep will get sick, they will be sold, they will die. Look around. Is there a real person there, who you ignore....because your sheep are "better".....more expensive.....less expensive.....longer wooled, shorter wooled, straighter legged, shorter tailed.....always spotted, always twinned.....always friendly....always best.

Every fall, I take stock of my flock. What can I do better? Who should breed, who shouldn't?
Who could be sold....who do I HAVE to keep. Which genetics do I need to keep in the spring?
I'm not sure when these thoughts cross my mind, in the fall or in the spring.....but often I say to my partner. That's it!
I'm not selling another sheep.

Let them buy some from others. I'm going to keep them all! Then someone nice calls or emails and explains that they NEED a sheep....and I am convenient. I have always relented....I have always gone ahead and sold my sheep to them. It seems like the friendly thing to do.
I will say that most of my friends, I have met because they are sheep people. Sheep people seem to have a caring way about them....they care about the most tiny lamb...the biggest ram....the strangest people. I number myself in there somewhere.
But , you know, I am not an important sheep person. I don't have the best, the only shetlands in the world. I do have the best husband, the greatest children, the kindest brother in the world.
Those are the things that really matter. I have GOT to love my family first, my friends next....and my sheep last.
Now I suppose I need to go out and feed those little sheep their they love me the most!


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