The year of the sheep (natch)

2015 is, in Chinese astrology, the year of the sheep. Er, otherwise known as the ram or even the goat, but let’s forget about the alternatives and settle for sheep.

sunny sheep

Of course, we’re still in the old Chinese year – the horse – but only just. (Next year is my year; I’m a monkey. As my parents often perceptibly said. And as a monkey I need to avoid bungee jumping in June or July this year, or so I’ve been told. Seriously. No problems there.)

So here, in celebration of the Year of the Sheep and marking the fact that I’ve just got to go and quickly sort through – grammar police, are you watching? – my patterns before heading off to a yarn sale (!), are some shots of sheep to celebrate their year, sheep in my local landscape.

sheep on cliffs

This also gives me a great opportunity for some shots of Ardudwy, my part of paradise. That’s the Llyn Peninsula in the distance, and the sea is Cardigan Bay. Ardudwy is the piece of west Wales between two estuaries, essentially between Dolgellau and Penrhyndeudraeth, and between the mountains and the sea. Gerald of Wales, the twelfth-century chronicler, described it as ‘the wildest part of Wales’. That was then, though parts of my garden probably fit that description at the moment. Ahem.

Sheep – aka, to some of my friends whose garden they have recently invaded, those feckin’ woolly maggots – are everywhere. They’re on the hills, in the woods, browsing on top of cliffs, hanging around on the fringes of the dunes. Sometimes they are curious, looking up to check what’s going on, and sometimes they pretend to be boulders. Sometimes they pose. Lambs, I’ve found, are particularly good at this – when they’re not doing something else like bouncing, seeing if you can eat fence posts, escaping under gates, or just shouting their silly heads off.

Sometimes there’s just one sheep

sheep streambut you know that the rest of them are round the corner. This is probably a scout (‘you go and see what they’re doing’, ‘no, you go, s’not my turn.’).

They are almost always there, except when you want to find a good shot for some specific purpose – then they vanish. People think sheep are stupid, but I think they’re in tune with the infinite and are out to deliberately annoy – oh, OK, I don’t. But they’re not stupid. They’re flock animals (tell me humans are not – look, for instance, at the way teenage girls conform and follow a leader), and if you get a bright lead sheep you’re stuffed.

But by and large, they’re not generally that interested.

not talking

They’re quite happy to ignore you and get on with doing sheepy things. As long, that is, as you haven’t got a dog with you, because all dogs are wolves.

So may everyone have a good year of the sheep,

sheep in dunes

when it actually, officially, starts, that is. But I reckon it’s here already. The office / basement (its an office when it’s a bit warmer) is full of unwashed Gotland fleeces which I’ll have to move or wash if I want to do my tax return. It’s probably a sign.

Yes, of having the willpower of a maggot when it comes to fleeces. Sigh. Now where are my patterns?


15 thoughts on “The year of the sheep (natch)

  1. Elaine

    Happy Year of the Sheep to you, Kate!! I enjoy your postings so much and your personality is so upbeat. Have a great time at the Fiber Fair and let us see what you found! Happy fleece washing to you too (I must get on to this also as I have pre-ordered two more which will coming in the next couple of months!!). Time to learn how to use my combs!!

    1. kate Post author

      And to you! Would love to get wool combs as you know, must do something about it this year…

      PS: I’m not upbeat all the time, because that would be unbearable for all concerned, but I’m definitely a glass-half-full person – probably because I had a lot of death around me at a comparatively early age and realised that (as far as we know) we’re only here once and the world is fab and/or fascinating, and we’d better make the most of it. A difficult concept to carry with you as you commute on the tube jammed in some beefy Aussie traveller’s sweaty armpit – a morning which clearly left its mark – but hey…

  2. thetinfoilhatsociety

    Reblogged this on The Tin Foil Hat Society and commented:
    Yay! Year of the sheep! Maybe I can finally get all those 14 fleeces I got off Craigslist spun up and used! (14 fleeces is equal to about 50 pounds of wool….and you need about 1.5 pounds for a woman’s sweater or 2 pounds for a man’s. Or 5 pounds for a kilt.

  3. thetinfoilhatsociety

    I bought 14 fleeces from a Craigslist seller this past May, and I sent them too my friend Rita to be processed at her mill. Now I have a store room filled with bags of fleece waiting to be spun. I hope the year of the sheep will be good to me and allow me to get them spun up! Happy spinning to you as well!

    What a beautiful place you live in. I live in the high desert which has its own subtle beauty, but there’s little blue outside of the sky and many shades of brown with patches of green. I see a riot of color in your photos.

    1. kate Post author

      Worse than me, tee hee, there’s someone worse than me – but at least you got them processed – what a great idea. I’ve tried the power of positive thinking on my fleeces but will just ave to go with the power of Fairy Liquid instead. Rats…

      It is a lovely place, and I do have a tendency to forget – well, not forget but take it for granted. I spent 20+ years in London, working there before t’internet made it possible to work from wherever you wanted, so you might have thoughts I’d not do that. And I’m making a deliberate effort this year to celebrate it. But I think we all have the tendency to accept where we live – your high desert sounds fantastic!

  4. grackleandsun

    I had no idea it was to be the year of the sheep. Exciting. Love your pictures of the sheep and the countryside. I just finished watching Hinterland (Y Gwyll) last night. Have you seen it? It was very cool for someone in the middle of the Midwest to see a series set in Wales. Very beautiful. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, if all those hills were once covered in trees? Anyway, have fun with your taxes. (runs and ducks…)

    1. kate Post author

      I have given away my sheep hat (shaped like a sheep’s head, complete with horns, designed to be worn when supporting Wales in the rugby; well, it was for a child and threats were made – to the hat – when I insisted on wearing it), or I’d spend the whole day wearing it. I may have to mug a nine-year-old…

    1. kate Post author

      It won’t if this morning is anything to go by… grrrrr…. Start of working week, making soup, didn’t notice slug on kitchen floor (???!!*$22!!!), squashed it, slid across floor on slug remains and threw open tin of tomatoes down the oven.

      Hope your start to 2015 goes better!

  5. carys davies

    Great that people are watching Hinterland in the US! They filmed some of it in Welsh and English, don’t know if Grackleandsun got the all-English version or if there was still a few subtitles. Ioan Griffith (now Hollywood, Fantastic Four) was once in an all-Welsh detective TV series also set in Aberystwyth. To many sheep further north!

    Lovely photos, btw Kate, I once helped repair Roman Steps near you in Harlech.

    I have two huge bags of Jacob’s fleece to process. I don’t really even spin! Duh.


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