Over the weekend, Jeff (the significant otter) and I hooked my great-aunt’s horse trailer to the truck and drove halfway across the state to visit a farm full of Shetland sheep. The farmer was reducing her flock numbers and let us take a look at the ewes and rams for sale.
The sheep were closed into the basement of an old, wooden barn for the morning, and as we entered, they watched warily, fleeing when we stepped into their flight zones. Colors of all sorts decorated their wool: black, brown, spotted, white.
One of the white sheep was nicknamed Cloud.
Her registered name was New Zealand.
I hid a smile and resisted jumping up and down with joy. The Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud.” When you visit the South Island, you can see a long, white cloud off in the distance, lining the Southern Alps.
I sorted through the sheep for sale, examining their legs for soundness, their teeth for good structure, and their breed characteristics to make sure they looked like a Shetland should look. I settled on five ewes and a ram.
One of them was, of course, New Zealand.
The others are named Froot Loop, Maserati, Lemur, and Spain. The ram is named Blue Jay.
On the way home, we ate at a pirate-themed smokehouse. A pirate ship and ocean coated the bricks of the outside wall.
Inside were skull and crossbone flags and dishes named for piratey things. The place was packed, and the food was delicious.
Before we arrived, Jeff placed Frodo the Kiwi on his shoulder to practice being a pirate. But I decided Frodo had better stay in the truck lest the pirates decide Smoked Kiwi sounded good on the menu.
By the way, I’m marrying this guy.