Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hide and Sleek

It appeared in a box on the doorstep courtesy of UPS. It is huge, shaggy and gray, softer than expected, heavier than expected. It is our first hide, from our first ram and our first slaughter.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about hides hanging around in the house. When we first started thinking about sheep, I had this vague idea that it'd be great to have the hides, we could drape them on the couch or use them on the floor by the fireplace. But then, when we got to know the sheep and named them, keeping the hides seemed a bit um, gruesome.

I couldn't imagine I'd want to lie on one or step on it or touch it at all. I wondered how I'd feel when it came back from Bucks County Furs. But I kept an open mind. If we'd committed to slaughtering a sheep, I didn't want to waste any part of the animal. That seemed far worse an act than enjoying the pelt. And many shepherd sell pelts. I wanted to get a sense of the quality we could expect and whether selling future pelts would be an option for us.

What surprised me is how much I love the thing! It is cozy and pliant and nice to lie on. Since we don't have any "home decor" to speak of, it doesn't clash. The dogs don't chew it (Expected this might be a problem) or try to herd it. It is something entirely seperate. Not "Gus" much at all.

In a way, this hide completes our own shepherding journey, from newbies naming our first four sheep to seasoned shepherds who've experienced all aspects of our chosen vocation, from lambing to slaughter to the creation of food and farm products.

1 comment:

Christy said...

This was an interesting post as someone who wants to raise sheep someday. I have no idea how I'm going to feel about the processing etc. I have no problem with meat and where it comes from but I can see it being totally different when it is your own animal, especially if you don't have a lot of them.