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Well that was entertaining - Tactical Ninja

Jan. 18th, 2013

10:06 am - Well that was entertaining

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So you know how yesterday I was all "Yes! Tonight I shall shear those lambs!" Well, that was all fine and dandy up until about 3pm when a giant thunderstorm rolled in from the south, and in about 5 minutes flat Horokiwi had disappeared completely and everything was being doused in sheets of rain. So much for that.

However, Charlene's show sheep still needed to be primped. The show is on Saturday and we had no time, so she got her sheep in in a lightning storm while I braved the motorway and people's having forgotten how to drive in wet conditions, and luckily it stopped raining just long enough for us to do the job. Since I've never done this before, I took pictures for posterity.


Here is the first picture of the offending backside. I have to say, having sheep tame enough to stand while you fiddle around with their rear end is a bonus in this situation. Are you horrified by the messiness of this *ahem* escutcheon?



No, nor was I. There are no dags there and to me it looks like a perfectly normal sheep's rear end. However, show judges are looking to take points off and the word on the ground is tassely bits on the hocks, straggly bits on the underside of the tail, and anything in the wool is Bad. So off they come. Here I am being shown what needs to be done:



First, trimming the tassels on the end of the tail, then shaping the wool so that it looks natural. The *ahem* escutcheon needed the removal of the shorter bits of wool that collect lanolin and urine underneath the vulva, which resemble dags but aren't. And those tassely brown bits on the inside of her hocks needed to come off, again making it look as natural as possible. Yes, I felt like a hairdresser.

Here is the finished article:



Have you ever seen such a tidy sheep's arse? No, me neither. Actually, I have. It looks like this:



But that's a bit obvious for the judges. The deal here is to make it look as though your sheep is naturally just too damn classy for tassels, straggles and daggy bits to ever form on its illustrious nethers. I like to think I achieved this. Here is the final result:



I think she looks stunning, myself. She is indeed a lovely looking sheep and has all the right characteristics*, but she'll be up against some tough competition (who I also shear but whose owner does her own primping). However, Charlene is one of those people who doesn't do anything by half and even though she's only got 9 sheep, they are all of very high quality and her breeding program is likely to produce even better ones in the future. I would love to see this sheep win a prize for her.



This is me brandishing my sheep primping scissors at the rest of them, while they give me the side-eye from afar. Yes, those are actually dressmaking scissors. In fact, they cost me more than my actual dressmaking scissors, because for fiddly trimming jobs around sheep's tender bits I want them to be sharp and stay that way. I think the sheep appreciate the lack of stabby too.

* Most characteristics sheep are judged by are based on the likelihood of them producing an efficiently cut-uppable carcase in the fastest possible time with the highest yield of meat (so things like a nice long flat back to produce lots of evenly-sized chops for example), or their ability to produce a high-quality, even fleece with minimum waste (hence the distaste for tassely bits). It's all about the dough with livestock, basically.


I also spent some of last night going through old photos. You see, I stumbled across this the other day - it's a history of the York Sub Aqua Club. As it happens, my Dad was a bit of a pioneer of SCUBA (and was a line diver before that), and some of the stories in that history were suspicioulsy familiar - particularly the one about the shooting and the one about the 'two blokes with buckets on their heads in a lake near Elvington' - and I have photos to prove it. So I contacted them. Turns out the BSAC is having its 60th Anniversary this year, and they would love to have the pics. Also, the guy who wrote the history probably knew my Dad. Among the pics I found a whole lot of other stuff, including this:



Note the bit in 'profession' where he's crossed out Electrician's Mate and written in Dolphin Trainer. Heh. This was 1961 and it was actually true. I have photos to prove that, and I think I'll put some in Monday's post.

My Dad was pretty awesome. Also, check out that knitted vest he's wearing in the pic. He never did have *ahem* subdued taste.

Comments:

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From:rivet
Date:January 17th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
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Having not known your dad, I didn't realise that Malcolm looked so much like him!

Also, I am disturbed that that sheep's nethers have been trimmed out in a HEART. So. Wrong.

Edited at 2013-01-17 09:43 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:January 17th, 2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
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They haven't - that's just the shape of the nethers! Which is also a bit wrong.

(the black bit is more or less hairless and it's the white bit that gets trimmed)

Having applied a Linux beard and pony tail to that picture, you're right, they are similar! Everyone used to say it but we never believed it.
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From:bekitty
Date:January 17th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
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Having applied a Linux beard and pony tail to that picture, you're right, they are similar!

But Malcolm doesn't look anything like a sheep's arse!

... oh wait, you meant the photo of your DAD. Right. :-)
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From:slavezombie
Date:January 17th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)

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I see a heart shape patch on one of those rumps
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From:tatjna
Date:January 17th, 2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
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What is it with all the people seeing the heart shape on sheep bums?

I am starting to side-eye my flist..
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From:stinkygoat
Date:January 17th, 2013 11:03 pm (UTC)
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Where's poor tidy-arsed sheep's tail?
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From:tatjna
Date:January 17th, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC)
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On some fulla's barbecue, eh?

There's no law stipulating a minimum tail length, and some people think taking the whole thing off is better, hence the pic above. Fact is, they're wrong - there are ligaments in the tail that lift the anus when defacating, and if those are cut then the poo just runs out (instead of being spouted away from the body) and sticks to the sheep, causing more dags. The recommended standard suggests leaving enough tail on to cover the vulva or equivalent. More about docking here.

You asked!
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From:stinkygoat
Date:January 17th, 2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Yeah I can see that, having watched sheep poo rather more than most people. There's a visible reconfiguration of the area that happens when the tail lifts up.

Most of my sheep have at least enough tail to cover their parts, and the boys born here still have their entire tails. Sure it means sometimes a cleanup job is necessary but I like to see them with their tails!
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From:tatjna
Date:January 17th, 2013 11:42 pm (UTC)
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There's a growing trend to leave the tails on here as well. I think people are realising that there's commercial value in not putting the lambs through that stress while they are in the middle of their most intense growth spurt - they are marketable earlier if you don't stunt their growth, right? Also, you can breed dagginess out fairly quickly if you focus on it.

But there are some parts of the country where flystrike is so rife that I doubt they'll ever stop docking. Makes me wonder why people keep sheep in those places though.
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From:laughingmagpie
Date:January 18th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
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You dad had my dream job!
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From:tatjna
Date:January 18th, 2013 01:00 am (UTC)
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It was fun when I was at school and they asked that classroom question "What does your father do?"

Timmy: "Policeman."
Sally: "Builder."
Me: "Dolphin Trainer!"

;-)
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From:sophiawestern
Date:January 18th, 2013 01:34 am (UTC)
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I love old family photons and history. That's awesome.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 18th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC)
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I have loads of it, being the designated keeper of the family archives, and both my folks having been avid photographers. They both had such interesting lives, I love looking through that stuff. And Dad wrote a sort of memoir before he died too, so we have school exercise books full of stories in block capitals, replete with Dadlike embellishment. It's fantastic. ;-)
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From:pombagira
Date:January 18th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
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whee.. you Dad a Hipster before the word was ever known.. *grins*

actually he looks awsome in that photo!! very smart!
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From:tatjna
Date:January 18th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure his wearing of that vest was completely without irony. ;-)
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From:pundigrion
Date:January 26th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
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It is like the worlds neatest crutching! As you'll be seeing in some of my next pic spams, here they go for a much....closer cut lol
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