Monday, 15 November 2010

Chocolate Woolly Jumpers

For several years, our croft has been home to 10 Shetland sheep - a race of feisty yet friendly little critters which come in an amazing selection of different colours. Ours range from dark chocolate through milk chocolate to white chocolate. And if you think it’s strange to compare wool colours to chocolate, then you completely underestimate the importance of chocolate to the (not so) Little Bo Peep in charge of this delightful miniature flock...

There was great excitement this weekend, as our two tups (Scottish parlance for rams) were unleashed on their eight unsuspecting lady sheep partners, split between our two paddocks (one amorous tup per paddock = no fighting over women!).   

Old Spot gives the impression of being on his last legs - both his horns are broken, and there’s a bit of grey appearing round his muzzle - which is no doubt why Scottish Natural Heritage were disposing of him last spring. I suspect that in offering him a home, we may well have saved him from a swift trip to that great sheep shed in the sky.

His sidekick Cocoa (so-called because his tummy is a gorgeous shade of chocolate brown) is, by contrast, young and fit - and quite the lad about town.  So if HunterGatherer was expecting trouble, he’d have bet on Cocoa being in the thick of the action.  And he’d have lost…

Because while HunterGatherer was busy allocating a couple of the ewes to Cocoa (the ovine equivalent of David Beckham), dear old Spot (more akin to Sir Alex Ferguson) had been contained in a small pen in the corner of his soon-to-be paddock). However, he had obviously espied his new lady friends already and had promptly decided that nothing was going to stand between him and a long-awaited bit of nookie. 

Evidently forgetting his advancing years - and completely oblivious to the potential hazards to his ancient family jewels - he launched himself into mid-air from a standstill and cleared the gate of his pen by miles. Before HunterGatherer could say "hold your horses", Spot was happily pursuing sheepish brides around the paddock and looking happy as a pig in clover (apologies for mixing animal metaphors!?).