We needed a new Dorset ram. Our current go-to is a great fella named White Lightning, who we've had for about 6 or 7 years. He came from Iowa, the result of a road trip my dad and little brother took together. And he did exactly what we bought him for--raised champions. But, alsas, White Lightning is starting to show his age, and it was about time to find his successor. So, when The Boy from Texas, my dad, and I had the chance to load up in the pick up for a 14 hour road trip (one way) in search of the successor, you better believe I was all in.
The Boy from Texas drove the entire way there and back. At first, I think he was just trying to be nice. Later on, I think he wanted the badge of honor to use in future arguments about who should clean the floors or take out the trash. "I mean, I could do that, but I did drive 28 hours to Iowa."
|For the record, he was not texting and driving, we were just pulling out of the drive.|
One thing I'll say about The Boy from Texas, is that he's up for anything. I guarantee you had you told him before he met me that he'd go on a 28 hour trip to look at sheep, he would have told you he was crazy. But for this one, he studied up pictures on websites before we left and got right in the middle of things when we arrived. He's all in, that husband of mine.
We went by two different sheep farms while we were there and, as always, we enjoyed the chance to look at the livestock, meet the people, and see how farming is done differently in another part of hte country.
We ended up back at the same farm where White Lightning came from those years ago. The owners are a middle aged man and his 94 year old father, Roger. I'd heard stories for years from my dad and brother about Roger, so I was excited to meet this guy. He didn't disappoint. He was sharp as a tack, funny, really interested in "life out west" and reported that this year--when his son had a bum knee--he sheared the flock himself. At 94. They don't make 'em like Rog anymore.
After lots of analyzing, looking, thinking, figuring, we selected the ram that we would bring home. And we promptly loaded him up in the cage. At least we thought it was him. While my dad was writing the check and The Boy from Texas was organizing things in the truck, I caught a glimpse of the eartag and realized the owner had loaded the wrong ram. That could have been a major mistake had we not caught it until we made it back to New Mexico some 14 hours later!
|The correct ram ready to roll.|
When we got home and I thought about what I had learned on the trip, there was one thing that kept coming to my mind. The entire drive, my dad continually commented on the beauty of the area we were driving through. Fields of canola in Oklahoma, rolling hills and rock fences in Kansas, black cows, freshly planted corn fields in Iowa, pouring rain.....he enjoyed seeing it all. He wasn't focused on how much farther we had to go. He wasn't preoccupied with a cell phone or the radio. He was content to just look out the window and see the beauty passing by. I've traveled the world, he's never left the US...but I'm not sure I see, really see, anything as well as my father. He's got a gift.
Let's hope his ability to see translates to picking rams too. We're breeding the new guy for the first time this year, his lambs should be on the ground starting in December or January.
Oh yea, the new ram's name?