I have been thinking for a while now about sheep. I want a sheep. Actually I want two sheep; I wouldn’t like her to be lonely. We’ve got more than enough property for a couple of sheep, and I’ve managed to sell Raven on the idea based mostly on the fact that he wouldn’t have to cut the grass… I’m not sure he’s totally convinced, but he obviously loves me because he’s at least pretending to go for it.

We’re new at this “farm” thing still, and I still have a lot of figuring to do – we have to design and build a shelter for them, figure out costs because I don’t have a hayfield – people who have sheep, please help – how much will a couple of sheep eat over a Canadian winter? The grass will be dead for almost half the year.

The first thing I needed to find out though, was: Am I allergic to sheep? Obviously I can handle wool, even at its most disgusting, but I’m allergic to a lot of animals in a stop-breathing-and-swell-up kind of way, and so clearly it would be best to find out before adopting someone I couldn’t go near! But, I’ve never met a sheep without a horse nearby, and horses are right out. Horses bad. So I needed to find a sheep in a horse-free context that I could pet and hang out with for a while.

Mom spotted her the other day. In a nearby town, there is a house with a large pen in the backyard, in which live a sheep, a goat, several small chickens and a very old, very contented-looking duck. Yesterday I drove over there, rang the doorbell and asked a sleepy looking young man whether I could hug his sheep. I think he thought he was still sleeping at first, but he said yes and introduced me to the sheep (and the goat, who didn’t want to be left out. The chickens and the duck didn’t care.)

Long story short, I did not have any dramatic reaction to the sheep. I know that I will have some reaction when cleaning their stable, feeding them etc, because I have some reaction to all animals including many humans. But it’s not like horses, seems to be more on the level of dogs, which is quite manageable. So I can have sheep!

I’m very excited. So please, any of you fibre-farmers out there, if you have any advice for me, PLEASE share! I definitely won’t be doing any actual sheep-shopping until next year, but the more I know going in the better. (Process-learning is fine, and all, but I’d like to have some grounding when someone else’s quality of life is involved, y’know?)

Meantime, knocking on people’s doors and asking to meet their livestock is fun. There’s an alpaca farm just up the road from here….

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