Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shepherds watched their flocks

My father was a dairyman and raised Jersey cattle but I was more intrigued by the sheep who came to visit our farm each year.  After my father had harvested his hay and grain, flocks of sheep would be driven to the fields to graze.  My father would tell me that sheep were the most stupid of animals but I loved them.  I loved their baas and their woolly coats.  Most of all I loved the lambs.

Along with the sheep would come a sheep herder or shepherd.  He would bring his wagon home as well as a sheep dog or two.  I thought that the round roofed quarters would be the perfect cozy place to live.  We would walk to the fields to visit and see the lambs.  The sheep and their herder wouldn't stay long just long enough to finish off the fields and then they would be off to another farm.  One year the sheep were sheared while on our property.  A sheep shearer can shear a sheep in less than a minute.  It is a fascinating thing to watch as the wool coat is removed in one piece.

When I hear the Christmas story I can visualize the sheep and shepherds under a star filled sky as the lambs bleat and the mothers baa while the shepherd sits by a fire because I have experienced it. 

Photos are not from our farm but represent it well and are courtesy of Upper Snake River Historical Society.

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