Thank You, Sylvester Graham!

I remember the days, long ago... when I would leave school, late afternoon, a stack of books on my arm; and hurriedly head for home.  I'd walk briskly, hoping to be home in time to catch the drama unfolding between Angelique and Barnabas Collins.  I'd sit there entranced with the latest episode of Dark Shadows... a sleeve of Ritz crackers, a jar of peanut butter, and grape jelly on the coffee table in front of me.  In the middle of each cracker, I'd shape a tiny volcano of peanut butter and fill its crater with a dollop of grape jelly.  In one bite, I'd consume this treat.  Mold, fill, munch, repeat... washed down with a tall, cold glass of milk.

This particular snack has morphed over the years with a base of organic, multi-grain crackers, instead, and no milk, but I still have a soft spot for the buttery crunch of a Ritz!

Up until recently I believed that all it took to tame any beast was a sleeve of Ritz crackers.

And then we had sheep... who, unlike any of our other farm animals, were lukewarm about these flakey, buttery treats.  What I didn't know at the time was that our sheep each had a sweet tooth.

It wasn't until last year's introduction to graham crackers that any real socialization progress was made with Hope and Faith.

Graham crackers worked like magic, turning two shy sheepy girls into two outgoing and easy to manage wooly-bears.

It took 6 years to get to the point where Hope and Faith will allow me in their space.  If only I had tried the graham crackers from the start!

I tried, on one occasion, to contact Nabisco with regards to making our farm animals official Ritz mascots... to no avail.  It's a good thing, because once the sheep switched to grahams, so did everyone else.

Of note:  Graham crackers were first made in the 1800's by a Presbyterian minister, Sylvester Graham who felt that white flour, sweeteners, and spices were the cause of an all-too-prevalent sin of "self-abuse".  He felt that his bland, vegetarian diet could cure this societal scourge.  His crackers, originally baked with bran flour and wheat germ, along with abstinence, would prevent the blindness and insanity that would surely overtake his parishioners, if they didn't see the error in their ways.   

Yup... there you have it.  That story is the weird and wonderful truth!

Yesterday, as these two lay napping on the ground, I got down on the ground with them.  

I had noticed that they had some burrs stuck in the wool on their cheeks, and also that their cheek wool was getting quite thick... beginning to impede their vision.

These two have never actually had wool blindness (where the wool completely impeded their vision), but they come close by the end of each winter.

This winter, however, with their sudden change of demeanor, I was able to trim the wool around their eyes so that their vision was less affected.  I also trimmed out the burrs that had worked their way into the thickness of their cheek wool.

There!  Much better!


Anonymous said…
Love a Ritz
Lynne said…
Love your gentle sheep care . . .
and your love of all your critter family.
Ritz and Graham are favorites of Mister Irish . . .
Saved his day of late for a quick treat.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
that ritz mistake will always be a good story to tell!
Anonymous said…
To this day I still sleep with my neck covered courtesy of Barnabas. I used to run home from school to watch Dark Shadows!
This N That said…
Ritz and Grahamies are my favorites..I'm sure Hope and Faith are more comfortable..Fun Graham cracker story..Are they still made from bran flour and wheat germ?? Probably not??
Have a god day..Icy up there? OK here..Hugs
Dad said…
Kellogg's Corn Flakes have a similar story of development. I suspect Graham
Crackers have changed with sugar and honey added and are now a "nasty" treat.
Our ancestors were indeed a strange lot.
Just drove by a church complex with it's flashing neon sign saying if you only
follow us and our message you'll be saved. Not much has changed!
Karen said…
Isn't it Trail Boss Jack that bought the graham crackers by mistake? Or they didn't have the Ritz crackers and he bought graham crackers instead? How wonderful it all worked out:) Who would think you could get close to the 'girls' with graham crackers . . .
How nice that the two sheep now let you trim away the overgrown wool and let them see again, plus remove the burrs in their wooly coats. Wow ...graham crackers do work wonders! Oh, by the way, I used to rush home to watch
Angelique and Barnabas Collins too. Life seemed a bit simpler back then. Thanks for taking such good care of all the special critters around your place.