Our friend & neighbour, Kingi came over & did the shearing on our small mob of sheep. We have 20 or so which we share with our close neighbours, moving them between the two properties, & sharing the responsibility for them. Kingi  has just recently been available for work on lifestyle blocks, & he’s a godsend, he has great knowledge of stock, & can sort us out when we get flummoxed, as we often do.

Having livestock feels like a much greater responsibility than trees & plants. If they get sick or die it’s very distressing. (Plants become firewood or compost.) Then there’s all the weird things that they can get, which sound like threats form the old Testament! Pulpy kidney, Sheep Measles, Facial Eczema, Scabby Mouth, Bloat, Staggers, Footrot,Tetanus, the list goes on & on.

The report is that our flock is in good nick, & four wethers have been marked for the freezer. Another local man does on farm killing, I think it costs $25 per sheep, & believe me it is money well spent. Firstly because the sheep are killed on site, there’s very little stress on the sheep, & secondly it is such a quick & efficient process, we are not traumatised either.

The carcasses are delivered to our local butcher, in Waipawa, & are cut up, turned into sausages or whatever. We usually send in some herbs to go into the sausage mix. This time it will be Marjoram & Walnut Pesto for one lot, & Coriander & Cumin for the other. We pick everything up a week or so later, the meat is already frozen & the sausages get seperated & frozen in flat packs, so we can get out however many we need.

Geoff & Jamie, (next door) killed & butchered our first sheep for the freezer, it took them several hot hours to do the deed, & they weren’t keen to repeat the experience. I used to know how to skin & gut a sheep, years ago, but it’s not high on my list of things to do, & I truly believe in working to your strengths.

The black ewe in the photographs, imaginatively called ‘Blackie’ is 10 years old, she produces twins every year, & is in fine fettle. She’s also a cunning old bag who leads the others astray, jumps fences, & doesn’t miss a trick. Occasionally we get a black lamb from her, but sadly they are always boys.

The sheep have made managing the land, all 1.8 hectares! much easier, we don’t have to worry about long grass & fire risk, & generally they help us to keep on top of things, plus generously providing delicious meat as well.

Update early Dec. We’ve had the four sheep killed & processed, it cost us all up $320 for the whole thing, we have 2 sheeps worth of meat in our freezer, many kilos of sausages, a mutton ham, mince, boned roasts & cubed meat. Looking on the internet if we were to purchase the same from an organic supplier it would be worth over $500, our cost was $160 Very satisfying.

If you’re interested here are the sausage mixes we used:

Turkish Mix

True Greek Oregano, fresh leaves, Sumach, Black Pepper, Cumin, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Paprika & Coriander-fresh leaves & dry seeds. Mostly made up of fresh leaves finely chopped, & spices added as we fancied. The whole lot made up 2 cups approx, this went into 130  sausages, next time we’ll maybe add half as much again.

Marjoram & Walnut:

Pulse blend a couple of handfulls of fresh nuts, add in several big handfulls of fresh Marjoram, stripped off the stalks. This is a lovely fragrant mix, again we got more sausages than we were expecting, so will make more next time. We had about 2 cups worth for 130 sausages.