Saturday, April 11, 2009


“I’d like to see a sheep giving birth” I made my request known to Pasquale.

“Difficult. You must wait..” he pauses and lets out a breath as to signify how exhausting the wait is, “..all day. I show you ship killed. Is easy.”

Evidently, in the sheep farmer’s circle of life they’re one and the same but for a budding shepherdess, they’re still at the opposite ends of the spectrum; I passed on his kind offer.

There have been a number of births (and deaths) at Ca’Mazzetto but I seem to come 10 minutes too late. As a consequence, I’m always on the lookout for a sheep on her hind quarters grunting; thus far, I’ve only been witness to the “other” delivery.

I enter the Nursery to check on Perfetto and mother, bringing with me gifts of grass picked outside the barn. Mom is delighted over her fresh greens and Perfetto is delighted over its standing-still mom. I depart the peaceful sanctuary and AHHhhh! This is NOT what I wanted to see.

“Mi scusi!” Pasquale apologizes while wheeling the knife further into the sheep’s throat.

When I was a kid, I’d watch Wizard of Oz from the corner of the hall, peeking when I thought it was safely out of “I’ll get you my Pretty!” harms way. Behind the hay bales I hide but occasionally stick out the camera to do the viewing.

Once past the squirming of the four tied together legs, I find watching the butchering surprisingly similar to watching the Operation Channel. And so, I keep peeking.

The client purchasing the meat is on the premises assisting. Pasquale skins, wedges, cuts, drains, and hangs the carcass. (Maria.. What’s the word for dead sheep body?) Bubul the dog patiently sits awaiting refuse. Slowly I leave the dwelling of my bunkers and before long I am holding the lens up to the animal’s belly as the innards are being withdrawn.

Shaking his head in disbelief, Pasquale looks at my documentation efforts and laughs.

Bubul is a happy dog. The client’s Easter is a happy occasion. And the Wizard of Oz is a happy ending.

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