A friend of mine recruited me to run for a board position in the Katahdin registry. Her wish was that the board remain balanced between the people who mostly breed sheep with the goal of winning in shows and exhibitions, and the people who breed sheep for meat, productivity and profitability. I have to admit, I had some reluctance. This comes from my years of service on the board of a national dog registry parent club, including being president of that club for four years. And my service to some other local organizations which you would think would be pretty casual, but turn out to be insanely political, like world-peace-is-at-risk kind of drama.

Here was, roughly, my top ten list of questions about this candidacy:

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This has been a really easy winter, with long stretches of dry, hoodie-sweatshirt-warm weather. Though it’s not so great for skiers or people worried about the snow pack and water supply, it sure makes outdoor chores pleasant and non-muddy! I run the sheep in our middle pasture during winter. It is predominantly made up of reed canary grass, or RCG. This grass dies back completely in winter, and is one of the later grasses to get growing again in spring.

The sheep came back into this pasture when the RCG was several inches tall, and already starting to go winter-dormant. They tend not to eat the yellowing grass, since it’s probably not very tasty compared to their nice hay. This makes for a fairly clean pasture for them to winter on, the dead grass mat keeps the mud at bay. The moles still kick up plenty of piles of loose dirt, so the sheep do get a bit dirty walking through these mounds. But they don’t have to, which shows that they don’t really mind mud in the same way we do. I like to leave the sheep loose in this several-acre pasture most of the winter, so they have enough room to get a little exercise during early pregnancy. They stroll and nibble on what little green grass and small weed species there are; tiny plants which will get aced-out by the voracious RCG once it comes in.

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