Category Archives: History

I have always wanted to put my sheep in the city park.

My office is next to a city park, and I have often threatened to fence it in under the cover of night and put my sheep on it. Somehow, I need to keep them from pooping on the gazebo. But anyway, there is a precedent for this. As you can see, I spend way too much ¬†money on Southdown artifacts on eBay and my office is a turning into Southdown gallery. The fine expanse of Central Park have their beauty enhanced by the introduction of sheep, which give to the scene a pastoral air highly pleasing to those who might rarely enjoy the sight of a flock… they are made useful in keeping the grass nibbled close, while at the same time they fertilize the turf. Sounds like a great deal to me! Or how about a sheep and goat […]

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Sheep Care Tips from 1871

I bought a cover of an American Agriculturalist magazine from April, 1871, because it had Southdowns in Central Park on the cover. On the back, it has a section “Hints about Work” and reminds the shepherd of the tasks that should be done in April: “Tag any that need it. For mild cases of scours, nothing is better than milk-porridge, made with wheat flour — say a pink of milk and a tablespoon of flour for each sheep. For severer cases, give prepared chalk, or ten drops of laudanum, repeating the dose every four or five hours till the discharges are arrested. Give gruel and tonics to keep up the strength of the animal. Salt regularly, and mix a little sulphur with the salt — say three pints of salt and half a pint of sulphur, twice a week, for […]

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Southdown Fun Facts

In 1955, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower kept at least one Southdown ewe on his Gettysburg, PA farm. The president of the American Southdown Breeders’ Association bred a ewe for the President “free of charge….hoping of course that you will have some Southdown lambs for the grandchildren.” On June 28, 1811, Sir John Throckmorton won a thousand-guinea bet by sitting down to dine in a damson-colored suit made from Southdown wool which had been shorn at sunrise that very morning. Damson refers to the Damson plum, which was used for dyeing (deep purple-blue-plum color). The two sheep were shorn at 5 AM, and the tailors completed the coat at 6:20 PM. The cloth was described as “a hunting kersey of the admired Wellington color.” Five thousand villagers turned out to see Sir John don the coat! Here is a link […]

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Dream Vacation: Fly to England, look at Southdowns…

I was fortunate enough to find a book on eBay that is out of print called “The Southdown Sheep” by Valerie Porter. It was published in 1991 by the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in the South Downs of England. I e-mailed the bookstore hoping that there might be more copies available; sadly, there are none but the bookstore manager was kind enough to send me photos of the Southdown flock they keep at the museum. The museum is more than a collection of historic buildings, it is what we call in America a “living history museum,” and they have a collection of heritage farm animals. Check out the cool wood fencing they use to keep the sheep in — wish I could have that instead of the ugly metal no-climb fencing! Here are the pictures of the sheep, […]

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