Sheep for My Birthday

Sheep for My Birthday

examining ram
Analyzing a ram.

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. Continue reading “Sheep for My Birthday”

I Moved, Christmas Music, and Philosophical Questions

I Moved, Christmas Music, and Philosophical Questions

October sunset.

Blogging, oh blogging. Why have I neglected you for so long? 

Actually, I can answer that pretty easily: I moved.

For a little while, I lived in a town north of here, and it took 15 minutes to get to the farm. That doesn’t sound like much for any other job commute, but for the way I like to work, it was a lot of driving. I’d go to chores, go home, eat breakfast, go work on the farm again, go home. Most days, I’d just pack up everything I needed and worked online at my parents’ house. (I stayed disconnected at my old house.)

But then, a house opened up close to my family and the farm, so I moved back down here.

And I got Internet. Continue reading “I Moved, Christmas Music, and Philosophical Questions”

Shorts from New Zealand

I’m back in Christchurch, which means I will have spent a third of my year in New Zealand in this city and the vicinity. My working holiday visa expires in a little over two weeks, so I’m working to sell my car and wrap everything up here. But it’s not quite time to return home–I’m taking the scenic route. I’ll first fly to Sydney and visit Australia, then I’ll visit Southeast Asia, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. I’ll return home in October and revel in my second autumn of the year.

So for this blog post, here is some

Miscellany from Down Under

For this story, keep in mind I’d been working and living almost exclusively with Kiwis for the four and a half months prior.

All year, I’ve been told Americans are loud, and I’d felt that, too, often speaking more quietly by a few notches when talking with a Kiwi. I thought it was just the volume at which we speak (and how slow we speak) that people noticed.

But when I visited a sheep station in Queenstown during a week of touristy activities, there was a group of Americans who sat in front of me during the sheep shearing demonstration. Continue reading “Shorts from New Zealand”

The Middle of Middle-Earth and Settling in at the Dairy Farm

I’m taking advantage of a lengthy break to write. Things are quiet on the farm for me, as calving season just began. I take care of the calves: giving them colostrum, feeding them, making sure they are clean, making sure we have plenty of pens and milk for them, and other duties as assigned. Once I’m done in the morning, I head back to my rental house until I need to feed in the afternoon.

I took the train from Auckland to Wellington on July 7, then spent a few days on a Shropshire and Ryeland sheep (both of which are considered rare breeds in New Zealand), Red Poll cattle and Clydesdale draft horse operation outside the city. I returned to Wellington and enjoyed the company of 15 other 20-somethings during a dinner at the flat where I was staying. It’s been nice finding those places and people where I feel at home.

Now, home for a few months has an astounding view: Continue reading “The Middle of Middle-Earth and Settling in at the Dairy Farm”