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Thursday, June 23 2016

We came over the rise and the blue light illuminated the dark desert like a miracle from God - or a casino. Or both. It was literally an oasis in the desert. I'm not a casino kind of person, but this was such a beautiful sight that it was a religious experience. The desert does that to you. While I have nothing against gambling in general, it just seems to be a grand waste of money, and frankly, driving through the desert in June with a load of sheep was a pretty big gamble in and of itself on our part. There's nothing quite like the desert to shake your faith in the reliability of motor vehicles. Forget air conditioning. You just want the truck and trailer to keep moving east. Back home to Texas, where living in a remote area means being thirty minutes from a What-A-Burger.

And so it was that we safely concluded a 27 hour journey home from the Sheep Is Life 2016 event with wonderful tales to tell and more additions to our Navajo Churro flock. It was a grand adventure, but we definitely bit off more than we could chew. This trip evolved much like a Lord Of The Rings movie and it didn't take me long to figure out that I'm a hobbit, folks. I'm a hobbit.

We'd all like to be elves, beautiful, elegant, powerful, and talented, but I'm just a simple hobbit. I like my life in the Shire and I'm not a big traveler. Taking a road trip from Texas to Tsaile, Arizona for a Navajo Churro Sheep convention was a major undertaking but with people you can trust at home tending the ranch, we bit the bullet and decided to make the journey to learn more about these sheep, take a cinch weaving class, and pick up some more genetics for our flock.

Then the adventure began to take shape. A word of advice - New Mexico and Arizona are like Texas. Everything is much farther away than it appears on the map. When you tack on the extra drive time in mountains, the trip takes even longer. Not fully appreciating this little factoid, we opted to stay with relatives in Farmington, New Mexico to get a little family time in while we were there. Unfortunately this proved to be next to impossible. The drive between their house and the show site each day took hours and this ate up any free time we had, thus we had very little time to visit and were exhausted when we did. We were staying across the mountains from the show site so each day it was a 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hour journey one way through the mountains, or a 3 hour trip around the mountains. The trip was beautiful but driving a standard transmission large truck through switchbacks, we felt like hobbits going through Mordor.

We did go through some really pretty scenery.

And the people. The Navajo Churro people. The Sheep Is Life people. Everyone welcomed us into the world of Churro sheep. Even Other Half had a great time. He attended classes on shearing and butchering sheep while I was taking my cinch weaving class. Since he's never met a stranger, Other Half made a lot of new friends.

We entered the laid back world of showing sheep in a trial by fire. We were just handed a leadrope and told,

"Take this one into the ring. You're showing it."

Yep. With no experience whatsoever, we wrestled and dragged reluctant sheep into the ring. It's easy to lose your fear of being embarrassed by a misbehaving animal when you're watching other handlers carry, drag, and be dragged by half-wild sheep. We didn't stand out a bit. (Except for me when I put the sheep halter on upside down. Hey! Sue me. I use collars because I hate those halters. But after wrestling and showing sheep all afternoon, I think I've got it down. LOL)

Even Other Half got sucked into showing sheep... and . . .

drum roll please . . .

He liked it. And he and his ewe lamb won their class.

Lest he get a big head, I'd like to point out that my ram lamb and I won our class too. Let me be quick to also point out that these wins in no way reflect upon our showmanship skills. The sheep we were showing were really well bred animals and all the credit goes to the breeder. I will definitely buy sheep from this breeder in the future.

Overall it was a great trip. We saw a lot, we learned a lot, and like happy hobbits, we survived our journey through the mountains and desert to return home.  What was a 17 hour trip there, became a 27 hour trip back home. We brought seven sheep home with us and so we took more and longer stops. Because of the sheep we drove through the desert at night. I hate to offend anyone, but let me go on the record and proclaim:

"I do not like green eggs and ham. I do NOT like driving in the desert with a lamb, Sam I am."

At the end of the day, the trip was definitely worth it. It takes a lot to get the Hobbit out of the Shire, but sheep did it and probably will again.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 01:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
At last!!!! Love the story, the pictures and the adventure. Love you all too!
Posted by Sue in Wyoming on 06/23/2016 - 02:46 PM
I can't wait to see pictures of the new sheep!
Posted by Patty on 06/23/2016 - 04:37 PM
Oh what a great road trip. Brought back memories [fear of being stuck] while motorcycle touring in Australian outback. The trip over the Snowy Mountains back road with my ten year old daughter in the side car comes to mind....., running out of petrol and finely finding a petrol stop with a 44 gallon drum, a faulty pump and a very scarey attendant. Saw his photo in our paper months later. Turns out his petrol stop is famous on that road as being the only one on 300 km stretch......
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust. on 06/23/2016 - 05:57 PM
Hey. you were in my country!!! I am in Durango, just up the road from Farmington (north, where it is a smidgen cooler). I have been interested in what you are saying about your sheep because I was raised around Jacobs .... and have lived in the 4 corners long enough to see and admire the Navajo sheep and the lovely weavings made from their wool. Glad you made it home safely after along drive ... but you need to come back
Posted by Susan on 06/23/2016 - 10:32 PM
I have friends in Durango! If you admire those sheep, you are in the perfect spot to find them! You are also close to Tsaile, where the hold the annual Sheep Is Life celebration of the churro sheep. You should check it out!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 07/02/2016 - 04:19 PM

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