Back when we were courting (don't you just love that phrase?), Mr. Ivy bought me a Christmas cassette (tells you how long ago THAT was) called Celtic Christmas, harp music by Kim Robertson. I fell in love with one piece called "And Sheep May Safely Graze" by, of all people, Johann Sebastian Bach. (Can you believe it, I'd never heard the piece before.) I loved this piece of music so much, I hired a harpist to play it at my wedding. (Sadly, she wasn't as good as Kim Robertson.)
I think that's when I got this thing for sheep. I started buying them. Oh, not the actual creatures. Get real--I live in the suburbs. My first sheep was a stuffed toy. But I'm not really into stuffed animals (although I do seem to have more than my fair share). I like that they're placid animals--at least as figurines. They sit quietly in my cabinet and seem to have a calming effect on me when I'm ready to yank out my hair over some idiotic situation. Although an acquaintance of mine who works at a "living museum" (think Sturbridge--but not as grand) says sheep can be really stoooopid--and even throw tantrums. Who knew?
About ten years ago I bought my first orphaned sheep at an estate sale. Somehow they'd been separated from the other nativity figurines. I wasn't exactly sure what to do with them until after a trip to Italy, where I got a St. Francis figurine. Then my little display kind of evolved, including an orphaned lamb.
Things haven't exactly gotten out of hand, but I do try to pick up as many orphaned nativity sheep as I can find at garage sales and such, and I usually don't pay more than 50 cents for them. My first ram came from a charity shop in England (a gift from my mother--he's the one with the black horns). One Christmas my friend Janette even gave me a Cherished Teddy (in a kilt and holding a lamb!) to act as shepherd for my flock.
I don't think I added anything to my collection for more than a year before these guys showed up just days ago.
They needed a home ... and I'm happy to give it to them.
How about you? What do you collect?