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See Spot's Spot?

Oh my — time flies — not sure I’m having fun but I’m really looking forward to our shearing weekend.  Jim and I have been busy getting the barn ready.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of “stuff” (being polite here) that can accumulate in a big old barn during the winter months!  There’s always more to do but I think we can shear without tripping over ourselves or each other now.  

While I was cleaning around the skirting table today I found a tag from one of last year’s fleece bags on the floor.  It read “Spot ??”  I had to laugh!  Spot is a sweet little white ewe with a lovely fleece…and a mystery.  

Here’s a photo of Spot as a lamb…you can see why she’s called “Spot” —

baby Spot

Little lamb, Spot, shows her spot.

Here’s Spot after she was sheared last year…notice something missing?

After spot!

After her first spot!

I haven’t looked under her coat recently.  Wouldn’t it be funny if her spot has reappeared?  Well, even if it hasn’t, she’ll always been known as “Spot.”

There are many mysteries when it comes to raising sheep…and somehow there aren’t any less as we learn more.  That’s  because Mother Nature is involved… and she always has something new and interesting up her sleeve!  I do think we learn to roll with the punches over time.  And hopefully, we learn from all the punches and from each other.  BUT…there’s always a “but”…genetics is another ball of wax entirely.  We would have to file the mystery of the disappearing spot under “genetics”…and more specifically “color genetics.”  

I know this is hard to believe but color genetics in sheep has just begun to be studied.  That’s because for a bazillion years, all black (colored) lambs were “done in”  before they could make more and usually the poor parents of the black lamb were also killed.  It was all about white!   I mean, what the heck were you to do with black wool?  You couldn’t dye it or anything, right?  (Wrong!)  Of course, if the black sheep had been around long enough for its fleece to grey or silver out, those folks who were all about white would’ve discovered all the fabulous colors that could be had from overdyeing shades of grey.  Oh well…  at least they got to enjoy a lamb dinner now and then.  Back in those days, you could lose your hands or tongue or something for eating anything other than a sheep that was no longer productive.  No wonder mutton got a bad rap… 

Anyway, I may just send these photos to someone who might know what happened to Spot’s spot …but I’ll wait until after shearing just in case it’s come back.

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