It’s the Chinese year of the Sheep — whether or not you are a ‘sheep’ this is worth checking out

Let’s start with my local Somerset sheep . . . did you know that they recognise each other and us?

Down here in Somerset alongside the many fields of cows we have multitudes of sheep and I love watching them, especially when the lambs arrive and fill the fields with fun.

Did you know that their furry faces are unforgettable — at least to each other? They can recognize up to 50 other sheep faces and remember them for 2 years, plus they can also recognize human faces.

Unfortunately Somerset sheep rustling is still alive and well and lambing time is a favourite time with thieves. Stealing a flock of ewes due to give birth is a devastating crime for a farmer and can be financially crippling. To add insult to injury sheep feed, lambing equipment and hurdles are often taken as well as flocks of ewes.

Have you ever heard sheep sing? No? You haven’t lived! Get ready, it’s fun so just click the link and listen up. You’ll never hear Baa Baa Black sheep rendered so authentically again.

6 things you should know about sheep

They are used in . . .

  • Tennis rackets (strings made of sheep gut)
  • Candles and soap (tallow rendered from fat)
  • Cosmetics and skincare products (lanolin, an emollient found in their wool).

Some are gay and they all have excellent vision

  • Approximately 8 percent of male sheep seek sex exclusively with other male sheep.
  • Sheep have excellent peripheral vision. Their large, rectangular pupils allow them to see almost 360 degrees. In fact, they can see behind themselves without turning their heads! So behave yourself when in sheep territory . . . you are being watched!

and we mustn’t forget Dolly . . .

  • The first cloned mammal was a sheep. In 1996, Dolly (named after Dolly Parton), was cloned from an adult cell. She was euthanized in 2003 due to lung disease.

Cheese

Finally before we move on to The Chinese Year of the Sheep it’s impossible not to mention cheese. Sheep’s milk is ideal for making cheese. It contains higher levels of calcium, vitamins A, B and E and other nutritional elements than cow’s milk. I love it. It has a wonderful smooth taste that ends in a lovely mellow afterglow.

Fosse Way Fleece Sheep Cheese

One of my local dairies at the local village of Ditcheat produce Fosse Way Fleece cheese which takes it’s name from the old Roman ‘fosse way road’ that runs close to the village. It’s the home of West country artisan cheese and they will even make you a wedding cake of cheese if you are passionate about your cheese.

THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP — 羊的一年 — Yáng de yī nián

How could you not love sheep especially if you were born in the Chinese year of the sheep? If you were born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 this will especially interest you.

  • FACT: Sheep are usually quiet, gentle and meek animals. In a herd, all the sheep tend to follow to their leaders and show esteem to them. They have an obedient character.

If you are born in the year of the sheep it is said that you tend to have this obedient streak. ‘Sheep people’ prefer to follow the rules and agree with others. They are normally afraid of expressing feelings explicitly and always stand in a passive position. Their success tends to come in later life, however if someone influential recognises their talents in their younger years they often distinguish themselves when young.

  • FACT: Sheep are sensitive animals who are especially fond of the quiet life and will run away from perceived danger (ie you entering their field)
This ewe saw me approach and quickly herded her lambs away

People born in the Year of Sheep also have a fondness for quiet living. They are tender, compliant, clever, and kind-hearted, loving beauty and art. They are wise, economical, gentle and compassionate.

Their weakness? Pessimism and hesitation . . . you have been warned.

Their lucky numbers are 3, 4 and 9 so make them part of your lottery numbers if you are born in the year of the sheep.

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