Pearl

What's In a Name?

What's In a Name?

Lots, actually, when it comes to livestock.  Anecdotally, cows with names give more and better milk, and in my experience, named sheep generally grow more and better wool than the flock average.  But of course, there's even more, when social structure comes into play. I'm finally back from my self-imposed "summer" break, which has extended well into northern hemisphere summer.  It turned out to be an even better idea than I thought, giving me much-needed time to reflect on the business and my life in general.  Time away from writing affirmed my love of the work I do.

A Bonza Year

A Bonza Year

I first encountered the word “bonza” in Nevil Shute’s wonderful story “A Town Like Alice”.  (And no, Alice the sheep is NOT named after the town of Alice, but after Arlo Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant”—the line about “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant—excepting Alice…”).

One Flock, Indivisible

One Flock, Indivisible

Those of you who know me personally and through reading the Yarns will have a pretty good idea of the horrified fascination with which I watched the US election campaign—a bit like watching a forest fire raging out of control—and the dismay I felt at the result. Until yesterday, I hadn’t found the words I wanted to write, but after watching changes in flock behaviour after I re-united the “mothers-to-be” with the main flock, I was inspired to share the following perspective with you.

The White Gum Wool Working Dogs

The White Gum Wool Working Dogs

The working dogs are so much a part of my everyday life on the farm that I’ve neglected to give them their own Yarn. A friend recently asked me how the dogs were coping with the abrupt onset of winter (two big snowstorms in the last 2 weeks), and particularly whether the dogs were allowed in the house.  They aren’t.  But their kennels have floor heating, so I don’t feel guilty.  Plus, Oscar and Skye, the house cats, would have plenty to say, none of it politically correct.

Sweetness and Light

Sweetness and Light

If over the last few months I’ve given you the impression that growing White Gum wool is all sweetness and light, November was certainly a counterpoint. It was a tough month, and December followed suit. The refrain has been “desperately dry”—we have had only 60% of our annual average rainfall, and our official 12-month rainfall deficit is sitting in the “severe” category.

The warfare between the sheep and the rose

The warfare between the sheep and the rose

In his 1943 classic “The Little Prince” Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote (more poetically in French, mind you): "The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years. For millions of years the sheep have been eating them just the same. And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them?