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Jul 9

Sheepish

Posted on Thursday, July 9, 2009 in Family, Philosophy

I love sheep.  There, I said it.

A slight complex may have formed as an impressionable five-year-old as I gazed out the window of our family Datsun Cherry while passing a lush field, and my father replied to my innocent cry of ‘Oh!  Look at the baby lambs!’ with; ‘You ate one of those for dinner last night you know.  One of their legs, to be more accurate.’

Since then, pictures of sheep have populated my bathroom and kitchen, a fridge-magnet or two hang around, despite having been dropped and rendered legless, they still cling and hold onto coupons for dear life.  I even had a handcuffed sheep hanging from my rear-view mirror as a trainee driver.  His name was Randy Lamb, and he failed me my first driving test, right from the offset.  Driving testers don’t have a sense of humour apparently.

I’m not a vegetarian though, don’t get me wrong.  When I can afford it, lamb is one of my favourite things to eat.  I’m not a hypocrite either… if a farmer gave me a knife and told me to kill a lamb for my family’s consumption, I would do it, albeit through a wall of tears.  It’s lower in the food chain, no matter what way you look at it, and it goes too well with mint sauce.  Sorry Randy Lamb.

This is a point I worried about, regarding Puppychild.  She likes to talk about her food.  Pizza is Pizza.  Sausages and rashers have obscure names and don’t prompt questions.  Chicken, however, gets a raised eyebrow.  Puppychild has heard all about chickens on Old Mc Donald’s farm and is dubious, and to this end, she won’t eat meat unless I lie through my teeth (or chewed food as it were) about what her dinner actually contains.

drseuss

(robbed from Magneto Bold Too)

Last spring, I saw how the other half lives.

A fellow pre-schooler’s mommy brought Puppychild and me to a farm during lambing season, much gushing and cuddling of leggy awkward fluffiness followed, not to mention congratulations to tired and bedraggled looking ewes… the children were in their element.  Upon cramming said kids into the car afterwards, fellow mommy rolled down her window and, in full ear-shot of the children, asked a few questions.

“When will they be weaned do you think?”

(assumed answer from farmer)

“And how much would it cost to buy a lamb?”

(random figure from top of farmer’s head)

“And how much would it cost to have it chopped up into pieces?”

(head-scratch from farmer)

“And if I was to buy two lambs, chopped into really small pieces so that I can squish them  into my 40 Litre freezer leaving out things like their little heads and feet and tails and things… could you do me a deal?”

… The conversation continued along this way, with this kind motherly lady mentally butchering small fluffy animals in a pensive but very vocal sort of way.  I turned around to view the children’s expressions, to find them gazing nonchalantly staring either out the window, or at their colouring books.  They were hardened children, used to the life-cycle of farmyard happenings.  Puppychild, however, had turned a whiter shade of pale.  Her eyebrows were no longer visible, now buried high in her fringe.  I watched as she clamped her hands over her ears and went to her happy place.

At least she can’t blame me for that.  I had it easy, in retrospect.

black-sheep

(robbed from Early Recovery Blog)

Bring on the comments

  1. I love sheep, they are sooo cute! I have a sheep his name is Ewegene, I don’t eat lamb cause of him (only when I’m seriously wasted and it’s Maxi’s doner kebab)

  2. JD says:

    I love sheep too! All we have around here are cows. :)

    I remember me grandad taking me to a local dairy farm several times a a wee lad. I learned how to milk cows and got attached to one calf. He asked me one day if I enjoyed running with the calves, and, of course, I said yes. He then proceeded to let me know it’d be on my dinner plate one day and that my cowboy boots were probably the remnants of one of his relatives. I named that damn calf! :)

    Sheep are cool or should I say warm? :)

  3. GrowUp says:

    Ah, mountain geisha. Not a big lamb fan actually, but had similar issues of late with my 4 year old about fish. She asserted that she wasn’t going to eat fish fingers because it meant fish were killed. The following day she chomped into some seriously tasty ones, so much for principles.

    More recently it’s been: “Are chickens made of meat?
    “yes”
    “Are pigs made of meat”
    “Yes, so are rabbits you know”
    “You can eat rabbits?”
    “Yes, you want me to get some?”
    “Is it yummy?”
    “Definitely”
    “OK”

  4. Baino says:

    Baby lambs? Oxymoron . . If I can’t kill it, I don’t eat it . .except nice juicy fillet steak, medium rare with pepper sauce . . Wabbits, you want wabbits? Get that gun weilding Puppychld over here! Now!

  5. Brianf says:

    I had a sheep once. His name was Ernie. He ran away with a goat named Sabina. They didn’t live happily ever after. It was an urban tragedy.

  6. Growing up on a farm has left me with the inability to eat lamb…It may sound mad but lambs have a certain smell.

    Well they do when their mum has rejected them and you stick ’em in a box on top of a range for warmth whilst feeding them by hand.To this day if i even get a whiff of cooked lamb i gag. Poor puppychild :(

  7. K8 says:

    Jelly monster; Mmm… yes, kebab from Abrakastabra is yer only man after a night on the tiles.

    JD; Never get attached to baby livestock! The only calves I can even look at now are the ones below me kness.

    Grow Up; I’m really looking forward to that conversation about fish not having fingers and buffaloes not having wings!

    Baino; Baby lambs are the very cute ones… normal lambs are the ones with shitflicks on them. It’s very simple really. With you all the way on the pepper sauce.

    Brianf; I hope it didn’t involve any Geeps?

    Green Of Eye; They do have a sort of musty crappy sort of smell, I know exactly what you mean. Puppychild will be fine in her vegetarian state, she’s surviving very well on olives and M&Ms. She’d give anything for a runty lamb on a range though!

  8. unstranger says:

    The things we do!

  9. Granny says:

    You have County Clare farming stock blood coursing through the veins, no doubt the little one has a dollop too!

  10. Kirk M says:

    I’m still chuckling about that bastardized Dr.Suess cover.

    I love (to eat) lamb, I freely admit it. I’ve done lambing season (why oh why does it have happen on the coldest night of the month?) and I guess that makes me a bit immune to their cuteness I suppose.

    Sheep have two purposes…wool and meat. Okay, they also do a fine job at keeping power lines clear of scrub and underbrush.

    Give me a leg of lamb any day.

    I make myself absent during slaughtering time though.

  11. K8 says:

    Unstranger; I blame the parents.

    Granny; I’d prefer vineyard expertise!

    Kirk M; I can think of a third purpose for sheep, but I’m a good Catholic girl so I won’t mention it.

  12. Brighid says:

    My advice: beware the sheperd with the oversized rubber boots

  13. holemaster says:

    I love a bit lamb but I’m training myself to choose fish before red meat as much as possible. I’m still learning.

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