This week our little Peeko family went off for a few days in our caravan to Nore Valley Park in Kilkenny. It was a lovely little break, the little lady was off playing and feeding lambs all day, himself read his book and I got stuck into some knitting. On the way to shop one day I spotted something woolly and wonderful in a field, 2 alpacas and load of unusual looking black sheep. The whole sight made me awful giddy and my yarn radar started to scream at me. I had to find out what those sheep were and where I could get the yarn of the woolly wonders I had just seen. The internet soon gave me the answer I needed and before long I had tweeted the owner of the farm, Suzanna, and was invited up to the farm to buy some of the yarn.
The sheep aren’t just any old sheep, they are Zwartbles sheep, which are originally from Holland and were traditionally a milking animal. Because of this they are an extremely friendly breed of sheep. You can find out more about these sheep on the Zwartbles Ireland website.
When we pulled up to the farm we were greeted by 3 friendly dogs and one very friendly farmer who offered to bring us to see the sheep. As soon as we entered the field she called the sheep and a resounding chorus ensued as a pile of wool on legs gathered around us to say hello. This is when we realised just how friendly these sheep were. It was absolutely brilliant to be surrounded by these gentle creatures, getting little nudges from them as they looked for rubs and attention, along with Pepper the dog beside me looking for cuddles.
Suzanna then took us over to a picturesque field filled with daffodils and out of a sea of yellow, 2 little woolly creatures emerged at the sound of their owners voice. These little lambs, The Wonky Wobbler and Doris, were the runts and Suzanna was raising them as pets. More woolly cuddles ensued, while the Wonky Wobbler nibbled on just about anything he could find and enjoyed a serious back scratch administered by myself.
We were then brought back up to the kitchen, to meet the rest of the household, Bodacious the Cat Shepherd, Oven Mitt, the cuddliest cat ever, and Marley, quite possibly the softest cat ever. The visit ended with me leaving with a bundle of 100% undyed Zwartble wool, and undyed alpaca wool with a big smile on my face.
The whole experience was wonderful for the soul and will stay with me. It is always a heartwarming feeling to be up close with such gentle and friendly animals, and it was enlightening to meet Suzanna, a vibrant woman with a serious passion for what she does and a deep love for all the animals in her care.
If you want to know more about these wonderful creatures pop over to the Zwarbles Ireland website. And if you’d like regular updates and photos of the happening on the farm I highly recommend following @ZwartblesIE on Twitter.