Getting to know ewe
Andrea Bellamy |

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I am thrilled to be able to introduce you all to Esther, newly-appointed SpokesEwe of Heavy Petal.

Esther is a registered Icelandic sheep. She was a Chrismukkah gift from my husband, who knows I dream of having a farm in the country with animals galore.

Before you call the SPCA on me for keeping livestock in my 200 sq/ft backyard, let me explain. Esther lives on the Schacht Fleece Farm in Indiana.

See, the Schacht Fleece Farm has an Adopt a Sheep program designed for urban-dwellers. Besides being perfect for those with acreage envy, the program has an option to receive “your” sheep’s fall fleece, which makes it ideal for knitters, spinners and weavers. As a knitter, I’ll receive Esther’s entire fall fleece that has been skirted and then sent to Stonehedge Fiber Mill to be washed, carded and spun into yarn. The package comes with a number of goodies, including quarterly updates from the lovely Mandy, whose grandfather bought the farm in the 60s.

I chose Esther for her fleece, of course, but also because of Mandy’s description of her:

“Esther is a very aware ewe. She is the first to see me coming to the barn lot and never likes to do things the easy way. Instead of grazing a perfectly good pasture she will rest on her front knees and eat right next to the fence. She is also known to wait under the Sycamore trees in the fall for the leaves to drop to have as part of her afternoon snack. Everyone who visits our farm always remembers Esther.”

That, and because I noticed her little tongue sticking out in this photo:

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Maybe one day I’ll visit Esther and get to romp in the fields. This little girl looks exactly like my sister when she was that age. (From cuteoverload.)

On days when I itch to get out of the city, I dream of having a farm. My grandparents had a ranch in the Cariboo, and on their ranch (now Green Lake Lodge) raised horses and sheep and others assorted critters. Together with my many cousins, aunts and uncles, my mom, dad, sister and I spent summer and winter holidays at the ranch – skating on the frozen lake and snowmobiling in the winter, and canoeing and fishing in the summer.

Even without all there was to do, I loved the ranch for its resident animals; the horses, the chickens, the herding dog named Honey that herded everything – chickens, children, our own dogs – and mostly, the sheep. There was only one ram: a big, ornery guy named Ramalama DingDong that spent the better part of a year painted fushia as the result of a neighbour’s April Fool’s Day prank on my grandparents. Sigh… those were the days.

Whether you wish for acres of pasture to romp in, better access to organic manure, fresh eggs in the morning, or just a nuzzle from a wooly friend, now you can play rancher with the click of your mouse.

Am I alone in my farm daydreams? I suspect many gardeners are with me here. After all, pleasure gardening evolved from need-based agriculture, right?

Adopt a sheep here.



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