“Discard the old wineskin. The old way of thinking and the old way of doing things hasn’t worked for you anyway, so set that aside… Empty your hands of the failed things of the past so a new assignment and a new vision can find its place in your heart. There is nothing to be gained in trying to produce yesterday’s fruit with the energies of today. Let that all go.” (The Father Says Today 28 September 2017)
This is a lesson being taught me right now. “The failed things of the past” clearly includes a disastrous term breeding dairy goats from 1986-1995 (terminated because my herd contracted a fatal disease). But am I also being asked to think again about my current proposals for breeding Damara sheep?
In July I bought my first Damara sheep because when I thought about running sheep on this land again, like my mother had done, my reaction was, “I don’t want all the dramas of docking, crutching and shearing, thank you!” As it happens, the three lambs recently born to these ewes all have a breed called ‘Gotland’ in their bloodline.
Last week, searching for more Damaras, I was led to a breeder about 4 hours’ journey south of here. She has the breed I was looking for, but also Gotlands – that name again! Is the Lord telling me something?
I did some research. Gotlands are originally from the Baltic – a wool sheep with very fine, dark grey wool. Then the Lord seemed to be saying to me:
“Well Pat, with the Damaras you have 2 products – either breeding stock or meat. Breeding stock isn’t always easy to sell – especially up here in the boondocks. And you know you don’t like selling animals for meat. With these Gotlands, you have a very fine, beautiful wool fleece product.”
I didn’t want the bother of shearing? Hmmm… Rethink required?
So I pulled out my mom’s spinning wheel – which over the years I’ve never got rid of. I have no documentation, and it doesn’t look like anything on the website of our largest NZ maker of spinning wheels. Never mind – I take a photo, email it to them and say, “What model is this?” Got an almost immediate reply, “This isn’t one of ours, it was called the Pipy and you can find the history and documentation here…”
Memories came flooding back – now I remember my mom calling it the Pipy. It’s a great NZ wheel, made in 1968, and it seems the design originated with an old Irish spinning wheel that came out of a bombed house in London after the war, was bought at a second-hand shop, and brought to New Zealand. This elegant wheel that used to be NZ made, is now discontinued. But the son of the man who made the wheels has started making spare parts for them. Hallelujah!
Incidentally, for all those who think of spinning as a pastime of little old ladies, research on YouTube and other websites shows many young women are now into spinning wool – and teaching others, too… Well, well!
I had intended to go on an 8+ hour round trip this morning to pick up a couple of Damara lambs (or whatever – keep an open mind) from the breeder. Yesterday morning I was thinking about the proposed journey and not feeling very enthusiastic about it. I shared with the Lord my concern and uncertainties and He said:
“This is the path – walk in it.” OK Lord… I got on with preparing my vehicle for the journey.
Then Lo and Behold out of the blue last night the breeder rang me to say she now has only one pedigree Damara lamb left. What do I want to do? I poured out to her what I’d been thinking. We had a long chat (she is a spinner, it turns out) and I’ve decided to switch horses in mid stream, buy Gotlands from her next year instead, and go into wool: a product that can be sold, not only locally, but also on the Internet. I think I can see some other angles too – about which, more later.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
(John 10:2-4, 27)
So I’m not half way down the line to Auckland right now, I’m sitting here at my PC and thinking, “The Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform…”
Quite often, He has to re-educate us in the process.
More next time.