Monday, July 26, 2010

Sheep Week - Paysandu

If you head over to the Malabrigo Blog you can read a companion post about how the sheep are marked for quality!
Paysandu is, honestly, the most lovely place I have been in all of Uruguay. The city itself (there is a small city, of Paysandu) is much like Montevideo -- cold, urban, messy -- but the countryside is incredibly gorgeous, rocky ground, mostly flat but with the occasionally hilly rise. The land here is particularly good for sheep because variances in food conditions influence the wool -- rockier land, with less produce, is better for the micron count because the sheep don't develop the thick, robust fiber that they would if there was an abundance of food.

My chaperone, Ignacio, and I, took a 4 hour bus ride in the middle of the night to this lovely countryside, and I spent some of the ride listening to the darkness-appropriate Phosphorescent, a band with vocals that are a little country and folksy but generally brilliant compositions of words and music into poetry. When the bus screeched to a stop in Paysandu at 5:00 am, we crawled out of our seats and shivered in the unheated air of the bus shelter, waiting for Marcel to arrive and take us to the farm, which was another two hours.

I slept during the majority of the foggy ride, and woke when we stopped to say hello to a local farmer. He was herding his cattle - the other farming industry in Uruguay. His sheepdog rushed out to greet me while I studied his clothing. The gauchos, as they're called, are a sort of herder/cowboy. They wear wide legged, short pants that can be tucked comfortably into the top of the leather boots, and allow ease and comfort for a day on horseback. They carry various braided implements, handmade knives with bone handles, and wear tam caps with short bills. It's funny to me, how culture changes in small ways from country to country. The clothing here resembles, in some small ways, what the sheep farmers in Scotland wear.

Tomorrow: My Arrival at the Farm, Meeting the Sheep!

3 comments:

  1. What kind of plants grow between the rocks that the sheep like to eat? Interesting that the rocky landscape is better for high quality fleece than a grassy pasture.

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  2. The first photo almost looks like the view out my window during certain times of the year when our cattle are in the pasture nearest our house!

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  3. I love the countryside views, too. Thank you for sharing such great pictures! ~ Trish / QAGeek @ Ravelry

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