Sheep. I know next to nothing about them. I am just like my hero Hart in Paradise who “now owned a vast quantity of sheep about which he knew absolutely nothing, save that they tasted delicious and their wool was warm.” Wool sweaters make me itch, and I can’t even remember the last time I ate leg of lamb.

When our kids were little, we restored (or tried to) an 1820s farmhouse on 40 acres. We had a fenced pasture, and our neighbor would put his sheep in it, and later his Clydesdale horses. It was perfect for us to experience the animal part of farming without the work. The only thing I could tell you for sure is that sheep sh*t a lot. But somehow I have gotten Mistress by Midnight’s Marquess of Conover, Laurette Vincent and their children ensconced in the West Yorkshire dales with a flock of sheep.

I know. As the mistress of my domain, I could have kept them in London or Dorset, totally sheepless. But honestly, how could I resist? The Marquess’ given name is Desmond Ryland, and there happens to be a sheep breed called Ryeland. Ovis Kismet. Ovis, by the by, is Latin for sheep. I now know drovers’ tracks through Britain, and that if sheep are not sheared, feces sticking to the wool breed maggots which kill the host. Ugh. According to the Medieval Bestiary, “The sheep is a defenseless, placid animal. It is covered with soft wool. Sheep gather grass in early winter before it is destroyed by frost. The ancients first offered sheep as sacrifices, rather than bulls.”

If you want to see an adorable lady with her adorable sheep, click here . According to her site, she met with Prince Charles and he and he is now the owner of two of her sheep. King George III (Farmer George) also owned Ryeland sheep, so if they’re good enough for royalty, they’re good enough for me.

How did I, a middle-aged woman who grew up in a suburb of New York City, veer off into sheep territory? I’ll do anything for romance.

What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve written or read about? What’s your favorite farm animal?

The concept of two people living together for 25 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep. ~A.P. Herbert

Huge thanks to all of you who played along with Finish This Mess last week. Secret sheep and babies around the world are grateful for the recognition. You just don’t know how your support and hilarity has helped me get closer to The End. A big bad baa goes to Terrio! E-mail maggierobinson8@yahoo.com so I can send you your prizes!

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