Sheepshit

Day Whatever + 7 😎

Passed by this mid-sized carefully coiffured dog taking her mid-sized carefully coiffured huwoman for a walk. Looked as though they’d both been to the same expensive hairdresser. We call the female of her species a bitch. So what might they call the female of our species.

Dangerous territory. Let’s not go there Ross. But you did didn’t you, you dopey bugger.

73 cars at New World. And it looked as though the curve might have been trending downward. Goes to show that you really can’t draw valid conclusions from limited datasets.

A truck and a car at Mobil. A truck at BP and a tanker again, delivering fuel. Going to need more data to populate this dataset before some of us can draw invalid conclusions even.

No one at the Pharmacy. A youngish woman waiting for the dairy to open so she could get her nicotine fix. She was definitely a smoker. This ex-smoker being smugly judgemental.

And so to today’s theme. Sheepshit.

What? I said it for you.

You already know that I grew up in a shearing gang. Us and the cousins of varying degree plus a few others. We referred to ourselves as the “Gang”. This was long before we fell into line and called ourselves “Whanau”. Well, we always were whanau but you know, we were the gang. A tightly knit work bubble gang.

The background odour to my childhood and teenage years was the sweet smell of sheepshit. Grass fed sheepshit.

And we worked on farms during the off-season. One job from an early age was helping to dock the lambs. Unlike the pelleted sheepshit of the adult, this was immersion in the sweeter smell of runny milk fed lambshit. Juvenile sheepshit as it were.

We kids raised orphaned lambs. Everyone did. The smell of lambshit at the back door. We didn’t consider them pets and give them names. If we did give them a name it would have been “Christmas Dinner”.

I suppose I was in and around the shearing shed from about the age of 10. Spent most of the Christmas holidays at the shed. Drew a good wage from about 12. At some point I became a member of the Shearers & Shedhands Union. Left the gang at 18 and joined the Army. For my first four years in the service I would go home on Christmas leave and head for the shed. Was still a member of the Union. Had the Brass known that they had a Red in the bed they might have had something to say.

In Australia during that time I had nothing to do with sheep. Other than during Christmas leave back home. Except that the Australians used to refer to us as sheepshaggers, and they had an endless repertoire of sheepshagger jokes. It was the pot calling the kettle black actually.

After all, listen carefully to the lyrics of “Waltzing Matilda”. I’m convinced it’s really an ode to a sheepshagger.

I’ve got this superb sheepshagger joke though, that totally turns the tables on any Australian that indulges in sheepshagger tales in my presence. It’s only mildly crude so I might tell it to you one day. Not today though.

After I was comissioned I left the shed and the smell of sheepshit behind me except for occasional visits to catch up with the folks back home. Until my dad died. I flew home from Singapore to see him off, then took a few weeks leave to help tidy up his affairs. I didn’t tell the Brass that meant taking the gang back out to the shed to finish the shearing run for the season. That was pretty much my last experience of the sweet smell of sheepshit.

“The Green Green Grass of Home” is running though my head at the moment for some reason.

That was until I moved to Dannevirke two years ago. Why Dannevirke? Well, it’s where my dad was raised by his grandmother, it’s half way to everywhere, in the middle of my many hapu / tribes, the house prices were good, and it was time to move back home to sheepshit heaven.

I knew I was back home almost from the moment I arrived.

State Highway 2 runs straight through the middle of town. Trucks of all types and cargoes rumble down the main street on a regular basis. Including lots of sheep trucks, leaving behind them wafting along the street the lingering sweet odour of sheepshit. Any day of the week, except Mondays when the cafes are closed, you can sit at a pavement table outside a cafe drinking a soy hot chocolate with the sweet aroma of sheepshit up your nose.

I told you. Sheepshit Heaven.

Even during lockdown. Well, not at a cafe any more, but the sheeptrucks are still rolling, only not as many as before. One went by when I was outside the dairy this morning.

In the absence of sufficiently populated datasets at New World and at the petrol stations, the sweet smell of sheepshit is as good an indicator as any of the economic health of rural Tararua. It ain’t as sweet as it was but it’s still working..

Who in his right mind would write a discourse on sheepshit.