My mom used to say you should learn something new every day, so once she had been presented with a new random fact, she would say, “Now I can sleep tonight.” I have an interesting tidbit that, I hope, will help you sleep tonight.
I regularly read the Yarn Harlot’s blog (http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/) and although I don’t always agree with her, I respect her work and enjoy reading what she writes. Today she gave me my random fact.
She spun some yarn from wool that she got from North Ronaldsay Sheep, a breed of sheep that is endangered. These sheep live only in North Ronaldsay, the northernmost island of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. This island is only 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) large and has a population of about 60, according to Wikipedia. TINY! To put this into perspective for my New England, USA friends, Central Park is (according to NYCGO.com) 843 acres, or 1.3 square miles, so this whole island is roughly twice the size of Central Park. (In my head I hear Dudley Moore as Arthur commenting, “They recently had the whole country carpeted. This is not a big place.”)
Anyway, back to sheep. What’s really odd about them is that, because of their home conditions, they eat mostly seaweed. I think that’s fascinating!
I read that steps are being taken to preserve the breed, such as exporting some sheep as exotics, and keeping a few herds separate so that one bad disease wouldn’t wipe out the breed entirely. I would absolutely love to have some wool from one of them, just to have it! I’d spin it and then just keep the yarn. And pet it occasionally. Or maybe I’d knit a little toy sheep from it, just to remember my random fact.