I was so heartened to read your lovely comments on my last post about the project on which I’ve been working on with Muriel! Later in the week we’ll be talking more about the yarn with which we have been working. Stay tuned!
Before we get into that, though, I have unrelated Joy I want to share with you.
It’s a sheep! Or rather some sheep I met on Birthday Adventures last week.
Through 2020 and the early part of 2021, like many of us, I barely left the house. We’d do one short local walk around the park per day; I’d pop to the near shop in my mask for essentials; or I’d drive to my storage unit to fulfil KNITSONIK orders to keep the KNITSONIK shop going. There were very few outings. I am incredibly lucky that I was already working from home; am quite hermity in nature anyway; and had ways to keep my business going from home throughout the pandemic. But last week, when they surrounded our car with their inquisitive faces and rough, just-shorn woolly bodies, I realised one thing I’ve really missed while sheltering in place has been the underrated company of sheep.
In normal years there would be at least three or four annual occasions, not to mention visits-with-friends, which would entail some quality time spent with ovine friends. I can’t put my finger on why, but hanging out with sheep is just the best.
This was a new-to-me type of sheep; likely – after a little research and asking on IG – to be Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep, Torddu type. They surrounded our car on one of many winding roads through The New Forest, like a little cloud. Meandering, unbothered, curious, stopping to scratch a scritch, or look on at us with mild interest, (did we have any treats?) they slowed us and all other traffic to a near halt until suddenly, with the most delicate patter of hooves, they had evaporated into the surrounding lands. We parked up on a verge, intent on finding them again so I could take some pictures to try and identify these winsome, stripy creatures.
They had covered a great deal of ground in a short amount of time, and had quietly relocated to a deeply wooded area.
Here the sheep found wondrous plants on which to munch…
…lovely rough trees against which to rub a bothersome itch…
…and buddies with whom to rag and scrap amidst the ferns.
We watched them for a while.
Until slowly they began to again disperse.
And just as quickly as they had materialised around our car, with their curious little faces and quiet, peacable presence, they seemed to be absorbed again into the winding roads and treelined pockets of The New Forest.
We were left, then, with their close associates, the wild ponies.
I have missed these animals so much; their lives beyond and totally outside of our human nonsense; their social behaviours; their quiet, unfathomable presence.
It was a gift to meet them in the forest.
Yours in sheep and horses –
5 thoughts on “Birthday Sheep”
I love your photos — they’re beautiful. What a wonderful gift in my inbox to start my morning!
What a treat! Those sheep just made my heart swell up – and the ponies (we would call them horses here – our ponies are very very much smaller than horses) are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing these treasures. And – I live in the US – “common grazing”? And the horses are not owned by anyone, free to wander where they want? I don’t think we have common grazing here, but I haven’t been everywhere so I might be wrong. But it sounds so kind and civilized.
Thank you for this lovely post, Felix! It’s so uplifting to read about your encounters with these beautiful animals and to see your stunning pictures of them. Common grazing is such an important part of our heritage and it’s fabulous that we still have places where this ancient tradition happens and where people can encounter animals in this way, who are often so curious and friendly from their life-long and flock-memory experience of meetings with a huge variety of people. I’m inspired to go and visit our local common fell ponies!
Lovely lovely photos. Not often surrounded by sheep, but I have the privilege of having a Highland pony (at one point I had 6),whom I haven’t seen since March and I miss him. He is being looked after by trusted friends as I had an accident in March (no I didn’t fall off!) and broke my hip,which resulted in a total hip replacement and an ongoing recuperation. He’s 22 and his quiet presence is very peaceful.
Aw your beautiful Highland pony sounds lovely and I’m glad he’s being cared for while you’re healing from your total hip replacement. I’m not surprised you miss him, and hope you are reunited soon. I hope you recover soon and are able to be with your pony.