A Visit To Sheep Country

Today we drove from Auckland to a small town--I don't know its name. Since we only have three weeks to go, all our relatives and friends are e-mailing us about coming-home parties, when we'll come to see them, and how they can't wait to hear all about our trip. I'm really excited about seeing everyone, but the first week we get back is going to be really hectic!

On the way to the small town, we stopped at a bee farm. It turned out that there wasn't much of a bee farm to see so we went to the Sheep 'n Show instead. Four little kids and their parents were sitting on wooden bleachers facing a man named Greg, who was standing in front of a little wooden stage with a sheep dog tied up next to him.

At first I thought it would be drop-dead boring. But he started out by asking me if I wanted to kiss the rather harmless dog (named Dick) sitting quietly next to him. "What the heck!" I thought, and walked down the bleachers to take my position. By that time, Greg had opened Dick's mouth and bared his teeth. "No Way!" I thought. I politely said "no thank you" and walked back up to my spot. After everyone had a good laugh, Greg took us out to a fence and we watched him tell Dick what to do. Dick happily trotted the circumference of the fence to where a small herd of 10 sheep were crowded together. Within five seconds, Dick and another dog, Pam, had brought the sheep right over to us and kept them crowded together by continuously circling them. Greg noted that if he didn't call them off and we left and came back four hours later, they would still be there, simply because they love to herd sheep.

When that was done, we went back under the tin roof and prepared to see our first sheep shearing. The machine is long, thin, and suspended in mid-air. Different kinds of shears are attached at the end. The poor sheep had never been shorn before and she wasn't very happy. After Greg got her down and controlled, he let us shear her. I didn't want to because I was afraid I would cut the sheep but Fraser and Mommy tried.

At the very end, Greg brought out five bottles and all of a sudden five fluffy lambs came running in. They went for the bottles immediately and started drinking so hard it made your hands vibrate. After they had drained all of the milk, Greg brought in two-day-old lambs to hold. They were so cute because their eyes would droop and they would slowly fall asleep in your lap.