Thursday, September 16, 2010

Making Friends at the Adelaide Show

Not the ram in question, but really a little brag from me.  This is Sam, our very first Suffolk ram.

Recently we visited the Adelaide Show.  We go most years for two reasons.  The Elite Ram Sale and fairy floss.  There are members of my family who will tell you I go just for the fairy floss but that's not true.  While it is true I refuse to leave the show until I have some to take with me, I really go to admire the sheep on show.  

This year we needed to buy two rams - a Suffolk and a White Suffolk.  We inspected all the possible contenders for the Spring Rock menagerie, Graeme hoping like mad that he found rams that didn't have too much personality and me chatting to each ram to see if they were friendly or not.  All the rams on our list seemed to be Graeme's type of ram rather than mine.  With a philosophical sigh I left Graeme to talk to their owners about our picking the ram up at a later date should we be the successful bidder.  We don't take our sheep trailer with us - it's just too difficult to find parking in Adelaide at this time of year when you only have a car, just about impossible with a huge trailer on the back.

While Graeme was making arrangements with the breeders I walked to the other end of the huge shed to meet and greet the Suffolk rams.  The first ram on our list turned out to have won reserve champion at the show.  His ribbons and awards were proudly displayed over his pen while he snuggled in a corner taking a well earned rest.  I admired his awards and congratulated him on his success.  He was watching me as I looked over the certificates and ribbons in his haul and when I spoke to him he rose to his feet, wandered over to me and nudged my hand with his nose.  That's all the encouragement I need to get up close and personal with a ram - really it's all the encouragement I need to get friendly with almost any living creature (humans aside of course!!!).  I began scratching where his horns would be if Suffolks had horns, rubbing the side of his face and between his eyes.  All favourite scratching/rubbing spots for sheep.  

While this little love-fest was going on an elderly man stopped to watch me.  I smiled at him and said the ram was very friendly.  That was all the encouragement he needed to stop for a long chat about his merino farming history.  He was a lovely fellow and the ram and I enjoyed his company immensely.  After he left the ram and I continued our bonding process and I told him he was now top of my list and I'd do my best to get Graeme to bid has high as needed to buy him.  He seemed fine with that and started to close his eyes in bliss.

As he was drifting off into his own little paradise a group of girls walked by.  They stopped abruptly when they saw the ram blissing out. 

"Look at that sheep!"  one of them screamed. 

"Wow!" was the reply from her friends.  

They looked at me with shocked expressions and I smiled at them and said, "I'm hypnotising him."  

They believed me and started watching closer.  "How do you do that?"  one asked.

Oh, oh.  I thought.  They might try to hypnotise a ram that wasn't the big bundle of friendliness this ram is. I had visions of irate rams pounding their hand against the side of the pen while proclaiming he wasn't that sort of ram.  So I came clean and told them I wasn't really hypnotising him.  He was just a very friendly ram and was enjoying the rubbing and scratching session.  They still watched closely.  I think they preferred my first explanation though.

Did we manage to buy him?  Sadly no.  The bidding went way too high even for me to consider buying him. Farrer will not have any competition on the farm here for being the friendliest ram.  Well, I don't think he will.  We did buy the Suffolk ram's brother though, so I suppose there's some chance his friendliness is a family trait.