Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A History and Vocabulary Lesson

First, let's dispense with the history lesson: The official Wikipedia explanation of Cinco de Mayo says, "The holiday commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. " Key word being "French," not Spanish, which is what most people think. But this is all a little boring, mostly because it doesn't involve margaritas, so let's move on to a more entertaining topic.

How about sheep? Okay! Continuing my practice of answering all questions, here's one from my lovely and very witty mother:

"I'm surprised and impressed that you sheared the ram. Who held it, or was this a solo act?"

You're surprised we sheared the ram? Never underestimate our powers. But you should be impressed, because it was not a fantastic experience. It was definitely a joint effort, although A. did most of the hard labor, as usual. Donnie the ram (full name: Don Juan) has to be close to 200 pounds. Luckily, he's so fat and barrel-shaped, once he's down, he can't get up easily. But getting him down was the hard part.

Unlike the ewes, he's not so greedy for corn that we can put a bucket down and catch him while he's eating. So we sort of herded him into the barn and cornered him. He has a dog collar on, with a cowbell so I can hear where he is, so A. grabbed the collar and managed to wrestle him to the ground, with considerable effort. He tried to bolt, and it took all of A.'s weight and strength to hold him. I was not much help in all of this. Luckily, Donnie is more afraid of people than the ewes. This is the way you want a ram to be, so they don't get overly aggressive when people enter the pasture, and he didn't really fight once he was down. I held the collar and his head down so he couldn't get purchase to get up. He tried a couple of times, and one of those escape attempts was when I got stabbed with the pointy end of the shears. The stab wound is on my left wrist, right where my watch normally sits, so now my watch is on the wrong wrist and this is throwing me off entirely.

ANYWAY, Donnie was actually easier to shear, since he's a different breed and his wool cuts easier. The only thing is, with the rams, you have to shear their, uh, ram sack carefully, because I guess if they get too hot with all the wool it affects fertility. You also have to be careful not to cut their pizzle. And that is indeed what it is actually called by sheep people, with no trace of humor. But I found more than a trace of humor when I said it, because I am not a sheep person. PIZZLE! AHAHAHAHAHA!!! You can all try to use that word in a sentence today.

But Donnie's sack and pizzle (snicker) escaped unscathed, and the MiL is dropping the wool off to be processed today. This time next year, A. should have a nice wool sweater knit from the wool of his very own sheep. How quaint.

And let's end this post on a humorous note, shall we?



SaraPMcC said...

"Pizzle" made me laugh! I'm a 10-year-old boy like that.

mil said...

Bulls also have pizzles. In fact -- now this is a bit gross -- I know of a family who actually possesses a walking cane made from a bull's pizzle. I've seen it. It looks functional, but I definitely did NOT try it out!

SaraPMcC said...

A pizzle cane? That IS pretty gross. And funny!