By: Blonde Two
If you asked people to list ten things that they associate with New Zealand, they would probably include sheep along with mountains, adventure and green hairy fruit. They would be right to do so. When I first visited here 27 years ago (suddenly feel old), it was said that there were 20 sheep for every person. The most recent statistics that I could find suggest that the ratio has changed – at the end of 2011, New Zealand had 4.4 million people (compare that to the UK’s 62.7 million) but only 31 million sheep. This means that each person in NZ is now only represented by 7ish sheep.
I went to visit my cousin and little cousin today. We had a lovely time, some delicious food and lamb for lunch. When I say lamb for lunch, it is probably not what you are imagining. This lamb is 5 weeks old, called Smokey and lives in a pen outside Little Cousin’s bedroom. Smokey is an orphan lamb who loves drinking mild from a bottle, boinging around the lawn and wandering around the house nibbling things (including my sheepskin boots which was a bit weird).
Smokey is being reared and loved by Little Cousin in preparation for Calf Club in October. You know how school kids in the UK have fancy dress or Easter bonnet competitions? Well, over here they have baby animal competitions. Little cousin took great pride today in showing me the ribbons that she won for last year’s baby lamb. If Smokey’s good looks and cheeky behaviour are anything to go by, there will be another load of ribbons this year! It is a bit like having a puppy, sometimes she does as she is told, sometimes she doesn’t. In fact, we went for a walk down the road to get some hay today and the lamb and the dog both came with us. They took it in turns to be on the lead according to whether chickens (nice to chase) or daffodils (poisonous) were the nearest hazard. They also take turns when it comes to who is going to chase who!
As well as a lamb and a dog, this happy household includes two cats and four chickens who donated lovely eggs for our brunch (the chickens not the cats). I had a lovely day bouncing around the place with Little Cousin and the animals and would secretly quite like a pet lamb for myself. I wonder if Dartmoor would miss one next Spring?