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Mutton honey

They found a ewe drowned in the canal in our back garden yesterday. How they noticed one missing and went to find her is beyond me. It’s a big flock. The looker pulled her out with a rope.

In our area, a shepherd is called a looker. You might think a looker looks, but he doesn’t. He lookers. Generally, he goes out lookering in the morning and lookering again in the afternoon.

Anyway, the looker told us a ewe will suicide if she’s ill (although another looker told me a ewe wakes up every morning and thinks, “how shall I kill myself today?”).

The looker (the first looker, I mean) also told us a ewe will reject a lamb if she senses it’s wrong. He had an apparently healthy lamb this season, rejected by its mama, was feeding well on the bottle and looking robust. Found him stone dead next morning in his pen.

On the other hand, most bottle-reared lambs thrive. You can tell who in the flock was raised by humans: they run up to you happy instead of away from you scared. I think I’d feel pretty awful sending off a sheep that thought I was great.

When they fish a sheep out of the ditch, it’s called drowned mutton. Used to sell it cheaper at the butchers, so it was prized by the poor (I can’t imagine it’s legal to sell these days). I half overheard one of my neighbors tell a story about an old lady who preferred drowned mutton, so they pitched one in the pond for her every year.

Lookers, eh?


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: April 17, 2014, 10:00 pm

On that note, I think I’ll watch BLACK SHEEP tonight…

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: April 17, 2014, 10:21 pm

Now I’m depressed.

Comment from Oceania
Time: April 17, 2014, 10:34 pm

The humble domesticated Ovine is amongst one of the most stupid animlas on the planet.
Besides US State Department officials – they are really stooopid.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: April 18, 2014, 1:13 am

How much lookering could a Looker look if a Looker could look lookering?

Comment from Davem123
Time: April 18, 2014, 1:37 am

You were just checking to see if the NZ Flash was paying attention, weren’t you?

Comment from JeffS
Time: April 18, 2014, 3:12 am

Drowned mutton? EWE!


Comment from tomfrompv
Time: April 18, 2014, 4:52 am

Something is fishy here. King James was a Brit, right. And in his Bible, sheep people were called “shepherds”. They weren’t called Lookers. There is no reference to lookers in the Bible. Its “the good shepherd” not the “good looker”!

So is this term looker a local thing? You know, how a Montanan calls his pick-up truck an “outfit”? Or…?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 18, 2014, 10:11 am

Yes, it’s a very local thing, I gather.

Comment from Mojo
Time: April 18, 2014, 3:23 pm

Susan Dey?

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 18, 2014, 3:46 pm

Actually, in the Bible, they were called רעה, most of the time.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: April 18, 2014, 5:37 pm

So רעה is a verb. Going to the source of all knowledge, I learned it means:

to tend a flock, that is, pasture it; intransitively to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend)

Comment from drew458
Time: April 18, 2014, 8:47 pm

So are these Romney sheep being raised here?

(thanks for piquing my interest to look up lookers and learn something new. you are quite good at that you know.)

Comment from Deborah
Time: April 18, 2014, 8:52 pm

Speaking of sheep … Stoaty, you and the others here might like to read “The Time It Never Rained” by Elmer Kelton. It’s available on Kindle. It’s about a sheep rancher trying to keep his herd alive (and survive himself) during a Texas drought. The federal government is a main character in the book, which is timely, too. The rancher is fiction, but the drought was real—my family lived through it, too. The setting for the story is not far from where I grew up in Texas.

I met Elmer Kelton in the 80s, at a writers conference, and I wanted to adopt him as a second father. He’s pigeon-holed as a “western” writer, and that’s unfortunate since his work transcends the genre, but that’s where you’ll find the rest of his novels.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 18, 2014, 9:10 pm

@Deborah – I’m interested…and curious: is the fed govt character a hero or a villain? Or something else (unlikely)?

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 18, 2014, 9:16 pm

@Deborah – I just looked at Amazon and found the book. You don’t often see a book with as many reviews (63) with only 11 less than the full five stars. I think I might have to spend the $6.83!

Oh, yes, and when the publisher’s blurb talks about government “help” with quotation marks, that answers my previous question. (-:

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