We do an awful lot of bartering here.
I swap eggs for a haircut…. it works … don’t knock it. We recently swapped pork for some line caught tuna, and we used to swap bacon for lamb. However, our neighbour decided not to keep sheep/lambs anymore. We were devastated.
I love lamb almost as much as I like pork roast.
There was only one thing to do, we’d have to start keeping sheep ourselves. So we jumped in head first. Neither of us have had any dealings with sheep, but figured our neighbour would be on hand if we ran into difficulties.
The only consideration really was that the area that would be best to keep the sheep in gets very wet and soggy in winter so the decision was made to be summertime sheep farmers. (Oh, how nice it would be to be a summertime pig farmer! Just saying.)
Decision made, we spoke to our friend Suzanna over at Zwartbles Ireland, and ordered 4 sheep from her – 2 for us, and 2 for another neighbour.
The sheep-herd number was applied for. That is a laugh in itself, the amount of questions you are asked, it is quite hilarious.
In mid-May we picked up our 4 lambs.
These guys are so very friendly – that, of course, was a worry – were we going to become too attached!!!
They settled in well. Three of them were really friendly, and came running the minute any human appeared. I spotted lots of people who stopped to buy eggs from our honesty box, wander over to chat to the sheep too! They became a bit of a tourist attraction. Well, they are handsome sheep.
Every morning they would be lined up at the fence waiting patiently for me to appear and give them some grain. I know we all say that the sound a sheep makes is ‘baa’…. well these Zwartbles it is more of a maa.
We didn’t name them all… there was Timmy Tag (the nervous one), and then there was the one I named Bosco.
Bosco was a hoot. He learned to jump the wall. Yep, he was a jumper. He regularly jumped the wall… trotted along to our front gate, and settled in on the lawn – just on the other side of the fence to his brothers!!! He never went anywhere else. It was very much a case of the grass on the other side of the fence was sweeter.
Now that they have gone to pastures in the sky (or the freezer), I have to say that I do miss their bleating. However, the meat is so totally delicious. We will be doing this again.
There is nothing quite like knowing where you meat comes from, or better still growing your own.