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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the paddock.. - Tactical Ninja

Nov. 18th, 2013

10:08 am - Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the paddock..

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Pet lambs. Everyone thinks they're cute - except people who've had them. Those people know them to be entitled little shits who will maraud you until you give up the goods - in this case, milk - and will not give up. Ever.

It's probably some evolutionary survival thing. They do the same to their mums if they have one - it's commonplace to see two lambs, almost as big as the ewe, one each side with their heads underneath, bunting away and almost lifting her back end off the ground as they try to get more milk from her while she wears this longsuffering look of resignation.

So imagine my distress when I saw this seemingly innocent little chap coming for me..




I should have run..



Instead I tried to get a picture.



Until... dun dun.. dun dun.. DUN DUNDUNDUDNDUDNDUDNDUDUN!



Argh!

After he had been pried off me with a crowbar and distracted by the application of a rubber ring to his nethers, I shore the rest of his flock. He lost his Mum with sleepy sickness, but he's not short of ovine companionship. His owners are contemplating how to make him not like people as he gets older. I say good luck to them.

While I was shearing this mob, I had my first breakdown while using an electric handpiece. Some wool got sucked into one of the vents (poor design?) and tangled around the drive shaft of the motor, which made it groan and wobble and generally be sad. I took it apart and removed the wool, but on putting it back together it was still groaning and wobbling. It might have been misaligned brushes, but my realignment of them yesterday didn't fix it, so it's off to the Fixit Folks to make it better.

Luckily, the people I was working for had one of their own that they use for dagging, and they let me borrow it to finish their sheep and also the ones down the road.

Presenting, the typical lifestyle flock:



So that'd be a mix of mongrel-bred sheep that contain various proportions of Romney, Suffolk, Pitt Island Merino, and Gotland, and have bred down through the generations to be mostly licorice allsorts. In fact, this one (who I reckon should be called Loaf):



Is actually called All Sorts If You Don't Mind. Longest sheep name ever. And she was a bit miffed about the whole affair, too. While I was shearing these, the neighbour came over and told me he had two and he'd just spent an hour and a half running round the paddock after them to get them in, and would I PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come shear them because his wife would have his neck if she got home and they were still woolly.

You see this is why I see the shearing as a communtiy service! ;-) So anyway, they got done and I returned the handpiece to its owners and then came home and spent my day's shearing money on a new handpiece. I've been thinking about getting a second one for a while, because breakdowns happen and it's always good to have a spare. TradeMe (NZ equivalent of EBay) has a distributor selling cheap and powerful ones, so I grabbed one of those. I don't expect it to be the same quality as my main one, but it'll tide me over.

So now I own four handpieces. Two traditional machine-driven ones, one of which I've never used but came free with Boris The Recalcitrant Petrol Shearing Plant; and two electric ones that will shear far more sheep than they were ever built for.

Meanwhile this year, I'm keeping a running tally of how many sheep I shear. I've never done that before. So far it's 99. In traditional shearing gangs, doing a tally that ends in 99 is called dying in the hole, and you are supposed to shout beer for the rest of the gang. Since I am the rest of the gang and I don't drink, I'm going to flout tradition and instead buy myself some fish and chips or something. Yep.

Oh wait, I'd forgotten Michelle's Polwarths. That brings my tally to 123. So I'm safe. Might get the fnc anyway...


Also, my 10 year anniversary on LJ was on the 15th. As usual, I forgot. More importantly, my 5 year anniversary with Dr Wheel is coming up soon. *goes to look it up* OK so it was December the 7th. Here is my post from the following day. Funnily enough, it's also mostly about sheep.

So what should we do for our anniversary? Suggestions we have tossed around so far include:
- Going to the Bahamas, Fiji and Tutukaka (not all at once)
- Having an up close and personal chimpanzee experience at the zoo (sadly they only do cheetahs, lions, giraffes, red pandas and meerkats)
- Him making me dinner and me ironing his shirts (because we're that domestic and suburban these days)
- Having lots of Teh Sex
- All of the above?

Comments:

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From:myrrhmade
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
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Aww Lämmchen. So cute.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
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CUTE BUT EVIL
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From:myrrhmade
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
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Agreed. Similar to baby goats. But not as bouncey >=]
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From:tatjna
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:37 pm (UTC)
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Also unlikely to be found nipping the buds out of the top of your favourite ornamental shrubs.

More likely to be found booting the dog out of its kennel. ;-)
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From:meri_sielu
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
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All of the above, more is better! :D
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From:tatjna
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
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But then I have to iron shirts!

(i suppose just this once...)

;-)

I'm kind of bummed about the chimps though. Dad had one he trained when I was little, but I didn't really appreciate him at the time.
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From:meri_sielu
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
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Cheetahs are cool though! :D
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From:tatjna
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
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This is true. ;-)
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From:pombagira
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
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it makes me absolutely squeelisly happy that you and Dr Wheel have been together for 5 years...

*skips about*

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From:tatjna
Date:November 17th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Hehe me too, and you know, I still think he's bloody fantastic and wouldn't want him to change anything about himself. Which I think says something about our compatibility and also that maybe this is what a good relationship looks like.

<3
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From:pombagira
Date:November 17th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
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yes i would say so..

*hooray!
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From:blue_eye
Date:November 18th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
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Travel and sex always win.

Every time.

Sheep are so damn cute.

What happens to sheep if they are never sheared? is it bad for their health?

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From:tatjna
Date:November 18th, 2013 01:14 am (UTC)
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It can be. Feral breeds tend to shed their fleece once a year in spring, and some domestic breeds do too. However, this trait has been bred out of a lot of breeds in the quest for longer fleeces, till some sheep will never shed their wool and you end up with ones like Shrek, who skipped the muster for 6 years and ended up like this:



But that sheep was an exception, living in a very dry climate and luckily not getting stuck upside down with a heavy, bulky fleece preventing him from standing.

Most sheep would die of flystrike or being cast after about 2 years of not being shorn.
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From:t_c_da
Date:November 18th, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
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And I'll bet you're glad you didn't score the job of shearing him....
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From:tatjna
Date:November 18th, 2013 03:47 am (UTC)
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Merinos - definitely not my forte.

Blade shearing - also not my forte.

I would be about 45,784th on the list of people they'd ask.
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From:blue_eye
Date:November 18th, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
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Holy shit!!!

That's some fluffy sheep.

I put him on my Pinterest...



Edited at 2013-11-18 03:16 am (UTC)
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From:blue_eye
Date:November 18th, 2013 03:19 am (UTC)
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I must be exhausted.

I said "sheared" instead of "shorn" in one of my comments here.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 18th, 2013 03:48 am (UTC)
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He was world famous in New Zealand! ;-) And he lived to 17 years old, which is pretty impressive for a sheep.
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From:phd_fan
Date:November 18th, 2013 04:35 am (UTC)
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Soooooooooo CUTE!!

Even with all your warnings, I still want a lamb after that bundle of cuteness ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 18th, 2013 08:36 am (UTC)
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Clearly you are a masochist.
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From:meathiel
Date:November 18th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
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What a cute lamb ... haha ... and fluffy sheep!

Congrats on your LJ anniversary ... 10 years is a long time!
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From:tatjna
Date:November 18th, 2013 08:36 am (UTC)
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It really is. I didn't think anything lasted that long on the internet! ;-)
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From:c_maxx
Date:November 18th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
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Licorice Allsorts, indeed!

So if you do shearing as a community service, do you get "get out of a speeding ticket free" vouchers?
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From:tatjna
Date:November 19th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC)
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Hah! I don't think I shear the sheep of any traffic cops..
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From:raincitygirl
Date:November 19th, 2013 01:23 am (UTC)
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I had to look up Tutukaka on Google, but the pictures there look *fabulous*. Fiji also sounds fabulous.

I loved the sequence of lamb pictures.
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From:pundigrion
Date:November 19th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
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Oh bottle lambs. So much cute and so much trouble all in one! Sucks that he's a boy. All our boy bottle lambs were first to butcher no matter what the bloodline just because they were too dangerous as rams and we didn't keep wethers.
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From:forestgreenivy
Date:November 19th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
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Haha, yeah. I have fed goats in the past and felt very violated afterwards.
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