We realized our plan had worked when we saw people with….

SixTeen Sheep

This is our little flock, SixTeen of us

our faces on tshirts passing by. Our first impression of the bloke who stopped by one day outside our paddock was that here was a serious artist that wanted to paint us for posterity. We were quite happy to “pose” for him and he departed on good terms. He did not mention the fact that he intended to use the drawing on a tshirt. We have since agreed to that. Whilst we are not entirely happy with his choice of website name, www.bahbah4u.toctopus.com we have accepted that and are moving forward.

“Our  version”

The sheep says: Yes, we are all in on this, all 16 of us. We live down Cunnamulla way where we grass on a big property.

A while ago this car drove up and parked just in front of the fence. Out came a gentleman with a drawing board. He actually talked to us but none of understood what he was saying but we sort of nodded so I presume he took that for a yes and proceeded to draw us.

As we were all standing in a line we had to look over each others shoulders to catch a glimpse of his work and we were rather pleased when he attempted to show us the result but at the same time, silly as we are sometimes, we all ran away and, by the time we stopped and turned around he was gone! Just like that! Anyway,we were all in agreement that we wanted to be in on the drawing so hopefully we will see the result some time soon. Our little group of 16, (we call ourselves Six Teen Sheep) shall keep a look-out for passing tourists in case they are wearing “our” T-shirt. 

Remember Tennessee Ernie Ford and his signature song; Sixteen Tons ?

Here is “our” version.

 We were born one morning when the sun didn’t shine,

We stood up on shakylegs  and yes, we felt fine.

We are the Six Teen Sheep and  happy as few

And we love our mother, the big fat yew !

.Of course, let’s be fair and let Mr. Sander give his view as well;  As you can see he was driven by a commercial interest whilst we want “to make history”

“His view”

There are about 73 million sheep in Australia and out of those 16 have qualified to adorn the latest creation from BahBah4U, the Australian Bah-B-Q shirt.

This is the coolest Tee around at the moment and it comes in many shapes and form, Muscle Tshirt, Men’s Slim Tee, Regular, Classic, Tank Top, Promo and yes you can actually have the design on your coffee mug.

The Australian designer Hans B’s. inspiration came from the Silence of the Lambs, no, not the movie but the silence of a flock of sheep he saw on a recent trip to the outback of Australia. They were all lined up, they were all looking at him so the idea of the Bah-B-Q was born. However, I almost did not get away with it. The Six Teen Sheep were keen to put a few facts right as they said and I had to promise them to present “their case” on the internet. If you wish to buy the Australian Bah-B-Q tshirt, click here.

Unhappy Happies

We have never had any problems amongst our flocks that is, until recently. Someone high up and completely ignorant of the world had decided that some “foreign” sheep should be relocated to this area and to make it even worse, in the paddock next to us.

 

Let me make it perfectly clear, we have nothing against immigrants from anywhere although some of us hold  the opinion that multiculturalism is not working, is not the way to go. So personally I was not surprised after a couple of weeks when the problems started.  

 There are a couple of rams, and I believe two of them are wethers but the rest are 30 ewes and they all wear face masks.  In the beginning even all of them wore a covering black dress but I think it became too hindersome for them!  Jeremiah, one of our teenagers said they looked like Ned Kelly. We were intrigued and tried to talk to them but to no avail, they kept to themselves and the male honcho made it perfectly clear that they were not interested in any assimilation into our society. “ So why did you come here”  we asked, “ if you not like it.”  All I could hear was some mumbling and words like taking over, you’ll see.  

 Fait accompli I think it’s called. We tried to live with it but now their flock has grown and I fear they will spill into our paddock and their little lambs, dear little ones are subject to indoctrination and worst of all and, this is really horrible and I thought it would never happen here, one of their lambs were fitted out with a suicide west and blew up himself with part of the fence in an attempt to get into our paddock.

 Fortunately one of William’s ( called Bill) agents had managed to infiltrate the flock so we had expected some sort of attack but not as cowardly as this, using a young innocent lamb . Can you believe it.

 As Bill said and shook his head;  “This flock was not happy in the Middle East,

So, where are they happy? They’re very happy in here. In Australia.”

 “ So, you are saying uncle Bill that they’re happy, they look  very unhappy to me.”

“ Well, they are happy in a way but they want to change our country to be like the country they left where they were unhappy!  Do you get it?”

Anzac Day 2015

We celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Anzac Day in Australia this week, 25 April. I tell you the story as it was related to me by my grandfather Joseph who in turn had been told the story by his father who lived during the First World War.

“ The Australian soldiers suffered horribly in the trenches. They were a long,  long way from home in unfamiliar terrain and hostile weather. They had to spend days and weeks standing in the mud and more than 100.00 soldiers from all armies died from the cold during 1916-17, the worst winter to hit Europe since 1850.

We wanted to do the right thing, we wanted to help the freezing soldiers so one day I commanded the flock to line up and with great precision we marched around the paddock until Mr. Everett, the farmer happened to pass by, stopped in his tracks and exclaimed “ what the hell “ and at the same time he got the idea we were trying to impress on him. “It reminds me about the army in Europe”  he said, looking at our leader ( popularly called Colonel Sander ). “ Hum, I think I have an idea how we can bring some comfort to our diggers”. With that he turned around and walked back to his house.

Colonel Sander shouted “ at ease comrades” and we all relaxed. “ Now when Mr. Everett has got this idea we should do all possible to assist. At 2000Z tomorrow, you will line up all flocks and be ready to sacrifice your fleece for the country. We all throw our caps up into the air and cheered “ Bah Bah Diggers go “ .

Sure enough, Colonel Sanders had rightly interpreted Mr. Everett’s plans and the Master himself was very impressed when he saw the combined flocks of the Everett farm already lined up for shearing and in a good patriotic mood we were.

In our flock we spent many hours singing a song that had come down from our forefathers. It was mostly for boys but ho cares, here we go;

Chorus: Click go the shears boys, click, click, click,

Just you relax and watch your dick,

The Colonel  looks around and encourages us to run ,

And curses when we all just laugh and think its fun.

Somehow this must have been sent by airwaves, telepathy or whatever as suddenly the farmers had their own version of it which was similar in tune but different in lyrics.

As the war and the winters rolled on, Mr. Everett had designed a robust and practical design which included a high collar around the neck for protection.

All woolgrowers gave the campaign some real momentum and with our approval  half a million sheepskins were collected, tanned and an army of volunteers stitched them together.

And now that very tangible Anzac link between the bush and the battlefields of Europe is being celebrated with the production and sale of Diggers Vests in the lead-up to the Gallipoli Centenary.

Sheep-Digger;'s-Vest-001They are being manufactured by Mortels Sheepskins at Thornton in the Hunter Valley, and part of the proceeds will go to Defence Care, a charity that looks after defence personnel and their families.

Tony Mortel says he is honoured the family company is able to be part of such a memorable project and delighted that one of the vests has been presented to the Australian Army Infantry Museum at Singleton.

“It honours not only the efforts of our fighting men and women in the First World War, but the remarkable volunteer effort that stretched all the way from the farm gate to the front, as well as our sheeps commanded by Colonel Sander ” he said.

A Golden Baby !

After the last election our flock decided to stay out of politics until it made sense. Well, it looks as if we need to stay away for some time yet. Yulia was told by her friends to check out a very green pasture just around the corner and when she came back, there was the big ram Rude standing in front of the flock informing her that he was the boss now and he is going to re-organise the whole clan. The flock behind him was staring with hateful eyes but, shoe noticed not at her but at the Rude’s bum where a big fart exploded every time he promised what he would do to secure the future of them sheeps, as he put, obviously he had heard some American ram talking like that.

Fortunately our flock is in a separate field, we are much better baaahaved and would you believe it, our newly wedded pair, well they’ve been a couple for a while now are expecting their first baby in a weeks time. Some of our designers and fashion experts are already busy and a lot of wool will be used for a fashion line which we will call Baby Rule Australia which we hope will please “our” people and irritate the pompous Rude across the fence.

John Gone with the Wind !

There is a story in our flock about John, who lived in France at the time (around 1913 or so) used to be the problem kid in his flock. It got that far that in the end a veterinarian was called in and he quickly pronounced that John was a “ peter les moutons” or in our language a farting sheep ! It was so natural for him so if somebody asked him to make a breeze for him, he farted and all around him laughed. He was nicknamed “Le Patoname” and was well known in the area around Versailles.

 

John a.k.a. Le PatomaneWe know now that any of his remarkable “breezers” produced methanene that was 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. This is important to the current generation but in those days it was more or less a laughing matter for the flock. However, you will find it was more significant than a joke only. It was also to become an important historical fact for all lovers of movies and this is where John or “Le Patoname “ inspired Victor Fleming. He served in the photographic section during World War 1, and acted as chief photographer for President Woodrow Wilson in Versailles, France. He often passed the paddock where John was going about his business and had many laughs at Le Patoname’s performance. Just before being sent back to the U.S. he took a walk to say good bye to Le Patoname but was told that he had “gone with the wind” a saying in France when something has died; love, passion, life etc. Back in America Margaret Mitchell had written a book which she called “Pansy” but she was persuaded to rewrite the title, one being “Tomorrow is another day”.In 1937 a discussion was held between Margaret Mitchell, Victor Fleming and David Selznick about the book, which was to become one of the most popular movies ever Victor Fleming talked about his time in France during a lunch break and and mentioned the sad story of Le Patoname who “had gone with the wind” That’s it “ exclaimed the producer, “that’s the name we should have for the movie” , “Gone with the Wind” So our dear cousin John or “Le Patoname” if you prefer ended up not only “gone with the wind” but also an inspiration to us all down here in Australia and we ourselves were to become the inspiration for another all time classic which had premiere in 1937. Guess the title. Judy Garland was the star.

The Original BahBahSheep Quartet

 

 

Mention barbershop quartet and the image that comes to your mind is probably that of a singing group of four white men in straw hats och striped vests?  What many people don’t know is that these quartets originated amongst black men socializing in barbershops. Well, that’s one version  !

Let’s be clear about this. Let it come out in the open so to say; as it was in the open, during time of stress that our ancestors started singing quartets and sheepellas as we are used to call them. At the time there was a lot of suffering amongst our flocks as Australia was “riding on our back” as it was popularly expressed and one day you were surrounded by kins, the next they were all gone heaven knows where so a small group of 4 rams decided that the flock needed some moral inspiration and together they tuned up to what became the most popular song ever, Waltzing Matilda ( which you can read about at another post on this site ) which now, more or less is Australia’s unofficial anthem. So, that was the origin of the famous BahBahSheep Quartet which became very popular in the U.S. So, if you ever visit Australia make sure to call in at Cunnamulla and see us in action.

But many times history forgets and we do not want to be forgotten. ( Perhaps we should call our quartet, The Forgotten Sheep ) Not that we are concerned with copyright or anything but it is important to us and our ancestors that we get some sort of recognition. Our quartet is normally set up with one ewe and 3 rams in order to get that special sound that we rightly are so famous for. We sing original sheepellas from the Cunnamulla district in Australia.. They are mostly positive arrangements by Jimmy Shank who is our composer of contemporary songs with lyrics by Andrew Boyd Wether. We sing about the morning dew on the grass, we sing of happy memories and we sing about country life as it is in our part of the world. After 10 years of draught we have now also included Bah-Bah in the Rain in our repertoire as we’ve had a surplus of rain the last months.

Art, religion and politics

Eine kleine bit of history today. We are taking evening classes here in the paddock and Sarah who is into history and art thought she should look up “sheep” in the encyclopaedia we have laying around here and up comes this woodcut called Christ and the Sheep Shed made  in 1524 by the Nuremberg artist Barthel Beham, one of the Little Masters.

 Sarah  was very pleased to note that we, the sheep did not listen to thieves and robbers so even in the “old days” we were held in high regards. The same sentiment applies today when we prefer not to listen to any politician ( be they real or not)  passing by; on their way to a town meeting for a bit of a spin. We feel sorry for the Australians who has to suffer under Labor spending up to a million on an outdoor shed for a school whilst our farmer puts one up for a couple of thousands. By the way, our t-shirts are available at www.bahbah4u.toctopus.com

 

The premise of this woodcut is based on a passage from the Bible, John 10:1-42. This passage articulates Christ as the shepherd, his followers as the flock, and all others as thieves. “All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved”. Barthel used characters in this scene that clearly show the Papacy as the “thieves”; they are climbing the sheep shed and entering through windows in the approach of a thief. At the top of the shed is the Pope, symbolizing his authority and domination over the rest of the church hierarchy. The shed is deliberately shaped by Beham to look like a church, with its steeple and cathedral-like windows, to avoid any confusion of what the scene attempts to depict. Christ is in the front doorway of the shed, as he is the ‘gate’ to be entered through. Also seen are peasants grovelling to the nobility, which demonstrates Barthel’s sympathy towards the peasantry. In the bottom-right corner of the woodcut people are gathered to buy indulgences, portraying the anxiety about salvation. In the background a crucifixion scene is created; what is strange is that it is less visible than the shed and the church hierarchy, showing the insignificance of the actions of Christ himself, and an emphasis on the use of indulgences in the Catholic Church. The scene created by Barthel depicts the mood of Germany in 1524 as a conflicted place between Protestantism and Catholicism, as well as the observations of the artist himself. His depiction of the Papacy as thieves is impractical, yet its reasoning is to exaggerate the situation to make the idea more influential.

Counting sheep, we’re getting tired of it!

We have always been intrigued by the human’s frustration of not being able to go to sleep and we are fully aware of our involvement in this by letting them “count sheep”.

Here we go again, another sleepless night !

This service has been provided now for well over 2000 years !  If you look up “counting sheep” in the Wikipedia you will probably find that the first reference to this was in 1832. We big to differ, it was already on in biblical times. (Flocks pass `under the hands of him who counts them` (Jeremiah xxxiii, 13)

It is not commonly known that when a person starts counting sheep, one of us actually has to do the work for him/her!  Normally it is not too much of a bother but with the modern lifestyle there has been drastic changes in sleeping patterns. This is mostly caused by stress and financial worries and we have found in our survey that some of our “clients” counts sheep for up to 20 minutes and that is just too much for us.

 There is a school of thought that says you should try tackling the causes of insomnia before reaching for drugs to suppress its symptoms. We wholeheartedly agree! No drugs will improve your sleeping patterns but for a small fee, purchase a product, we will keep jumping for you, as long as you like !

 As an alternative we can now provide the following methods ( which does not involve us as the language is not common any longer ). Yan Tan Tethera is a rhyme used by shepherds to count sheep in many parts of England . Using this system we are sure that any insomniac will fall asleep within a very short time.

“Yan-tyan-tethera-methera-pimp-sethera-lethera-hovera-dovera-dick-Yan-a-dick-tyan-a-dick-tethera-a-dick-methera-a-dick-bumfit-Yan-a-bumfit-tyan-a-bumfit-tethera-a-bumfit-methera-a-bumfit-giggot”

 There is also the “Sleeping Sheep” method and this is what we prefer that all of you use. Imagine our flock standing in the paddock. Come on in, you’re amongst friends!

Start counting the sheep, whilst you walk around and not only do you get tired by the walking, you also get tired by the counting.

Sleep well !