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I’m looking at dear Ragnor’s wonderful face on Page 11 of Andy and I fall in love with him all over again. He is a tough guy, king of the mound with a courageous constitution and very steady heart. Like all of my characters Ragnor evolved from my observations. I will be the first to admit that I knew little then and still know little about sheep but from my first days in Scotland I became a sheep watcher. They do the silliest things besides running into the road at the most inopportune moments. And where one goes another or fifty must follow. I always worry that they will run right over a cliff but then they suddenly veer clear of the drop-off and back onto the road directly in front of me and we are off again! Driving one morning to the south end of Hoy to Groat’s store, and it is indeed as you read in the book our actual shop on Hoy where we purchase our supplies, I passed a small pasture and there on a mound stood a huge ram with horns the size of small wheels. I stopped the car, got out and walked over to the fence to have a closer look at this amazing creature. He appeared completely unconcerned about the world. Once he noticed my attention he lowered his head and with complete contempt he stared me down into the ground. I mean what a look! Then he lifted his head, turned around and dismissed me like that! Now really, if that behavior is not worthy of character development what is? Ok, maybe the story of a Rhino doing the same to my husband in the dark might be considered. But this is a Scottish story. What was interesting though was that every ram I saw had the same “ATTITUDE”. And indeed Ragnor is a ram with lots of attitude. He is cautious, very cautious and just a little rigid. Protecting Inga and her lambs and his friends on Hoy he considers his job. But he is and has been since he was a lamb a courageous and adventure-loving ram. After all he climbed the cliff as a young lamb all the way, by himself, up to the fearsome OLD MAN. And now with a “dark hairy beast” threatening the island creatures and his friends he’ll not shirk his duty. But as you already know he is steady and level-headed and willing to see who and what this “beastie” is. I think it is so much fun to watch Ragnor and Andy, in his innocence, confront one another and what results. Friendships do develop in the strangest ways sometimes and that is after all a great deal what ANDY FROM ORKNEY is all about.

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Some interesting sites and facts about sheep.

The Shetland's roots go back over a thousand years, probably to sheep brought to the Shetland Islands by Viking settlers. They belong to the Northern European short-tailed group of sheep, which also includes Finn sheep, Icelandic sheep, and Romanovs. The Shetland is a primitive, unimproved breed noted for its natural hardiness, lambing ease, longevity, and ability to survive under harsh conditions. It is one of the smallest breeds of sheep. Shetlands are known primarily for their production of colorful wool upon which the Shetland woolen industry is based. Shetland comes in one of the widest ranges of colors of any breed. There are 11 main colors as well as 30 markings, many still bearing their Shetland dialect names. Shetlands naturally shed their wool during late spring/early summer.

Breed categories: primitive, short-tailed Distribution: United Kingdom, North America


Additional Information About Sheep:

Go to North American Shetland Sheepbreeders Association =>

Go to Indiana Shetland Sheep Breeders Association =>

Go to Midwest Shetland Sheep Breeders Association =>

Go to Shetland Sheep Society => National Sheep Association Scottish Region Orkney Livestock Auction. Find out about Seaweed eating sheep.

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