Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Silence of the lambs

My birthday has now come and gone – an annual occurrence that somehow seems to take place with increased frequency. It is as if time is going down a hill, the further down the slope it gets, the faster it proceeds.

I tend to get odd birthday presents. The oddest until now was a toilet. But this has now been replaced with an even odder gift, considering that I live in a city. You see, this year for my birthday a friend gave me a sheep. Thankfully it comes with its own address, i.e. I do not have to keep it at my house. Which is a big reflief for my dogs and my cat. I am not sure how they would cope with bleating. I do have visiting rights though.
All sheep in Iceland are kept indoors over the winter but allowed to roam free in the mountains during summer. This is why they taste really good in the fall. Their diet consists of mountain grass and plants which make for much better meat than dried up hey. The traditional, historic Icelandic diet is mainly lamb and fish. Plus the odd shoe or two when the going was tough.

My sheep lives in Snæfellsnes. This is a peninsula on the west coast of Iceland, home to the volcano Jules Verne wrote about in his novel „Journey to the centre of the Earth“. I will be receiving photographs and news, which will be somewhat of a challenge as I intend to make sure I am not being sent photographs of random sheep taken in this meadow and that. I will also be invited to participate in the annual herding of sheep in Snæfellsnes each fall but much to my relief I am not expected to go running around the peninsula looking for my particular sheep. It is a big peninsula.

Thankfully the adoption papers will not have been processed in time for this year‘s herding. I am rather busy and have no time to pick up tips from those who know how herding works. This is an absolute prerequisite as I do not want to make a fool of myself by for example showing up and yelling: „here sheepy, sheep, sheep!“

Maybe I should try to train my dogs to become sheep dogs and take them with me. I have approximately a year to do this. They are unfortunately pugs but hey, Babe did it. They can‘t be a more hopeless case than a pig. But then again they probably are. For one, the older dog has only one eye and a deaf ear on the blind side to boot. Due to this, he does not realise that he has two sides at all and experiences his body as if the accident split him down the middle and the blind/deaf half was put in the trash. He would not make a good herding dog. The younger one, a female, has more potential. But she does not like rain. Or snow. Or wind. I could keep going but it is simpler to just say that she does not like weather.

The only problem with this birthday present is spring. You see adopted sheep are promiscuous, as sheep tend to be. This means that my sheep will most likely end up having a lamb or two. Which is sweet and all but this leaves me the owner with a decision in the fall (after herding) regarding what to do with the cute little things. My options for the offspring are three: kill‘em and eat‘em, kill‘em and sell‘em, or keep‘em and pay for their winter upkeep. The last would probably lead to my downfall since the upkeep would grow exponentially each year.

Decisions, decisions.

Yrsa – Wednesday

P.S. this is my last weekly Wednesday post. As of next Wednesday, Lisa and I will split this particular day – taking turns to find something interesting for you to read. Time is pretty far down the hill now and going bizarrely fast – it is somehow always Wednesday. This rotation will slow it down a bit.  


  1. I have only one question,Yrsa: Did the same person who gave you the toilet also give you the sheep? Just wondering if there's a message in there somewhere.

    I know, I've been on Mykonos way too long. Time to get back to civilization. Albany and Bouchercon here I come.

    1. The answer is no - I just know a lot of oddballs, being one myself. One of them is my husband. He gave me the toilet after our plumber mentioned the day before my birthday that he needed such a fixture to continue the refurbishing he wsa doing. Since my husband usually has NO CLUE what to give me and always ends up buying me the stranges things in some sort of last minute panic (a driftwood sculpture for example) - I knew as soon as the words were out of the plumberðs mouth what I would be unwrapping the day after.

  2. I have only one question, Yrsa: Does the odd shoe or two taste better in the Spring or in the Fall?

    I know, I've been reading Jeff's posts way too long. Time to get back to something with more meat. "Mykonos After Midnight" here I come.

    1. Hi Everett - I thought it was common knowledge that shoes are ripe mid-winter. When everything else is already eaten they obtain a certain charm.

      One of the first things I will do when I get to Bouchercon is to buy Mykonos after midnight - I can always eat it if times get tough - more meat an all that.

  3. Is there a contest to name the sheep?

  4. I suggest we name her whatever the word is for shoe in Icelandic. Not that we will be able to pronounce it. Yrsa, I have a great recipe for roast lamb, and we already know what will be done with the head.