Visiting a sheepfold near Saschiz

by admin on 22/06/2012

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We went by a horse-drawn cart from a Saxon village called Saschiz to another sheepfold. Leaving Saschiz quickly behind us, the strong mare Dora pulled us upwards on cobbled roads, then passing fields of maize until we came to meadows covered by hay. Dora, being a strong horse, and the horse-man driving her on, we quickly got within reach of a horse-drawn cart filled to the brim with hay. Fortunately, they turned left and we were free to go as we pleased passing meadows, deciduous trees and enjoying lovely views of the Transylvanian countryside. When we were approaching the sheepfold, the ever-present guarding dogs were the first ones to meet us, then we drove down to the sheepfold.

The setup was more or less a copy of what we had seen before: one large enclosure encircling a smaller one bordered by a shed with two holes large enough for one sheep to pass through.

Just 3 shepherds were milking the sheep, while a young girl who was probably the girlfriend of one them, was just sitting next to them milking no sheep. Of course, another shepherd was tasked with chasing the sheep into the small container, closing the gate when it was full and solving any problems the sheep might have with entering the shed. This day wasn’t as hot as the day when we visited the sheepfold near Viscri when the sheep seemed to be breathing heavily all the time. Another reason for the more relaxed behaviour of these sheep was that one guy was continually shearing sheep, having sheared one just selected another one. I was impressed seeing this guy bending over a sheep in the hot sun, shearing for hours. Anyway, getting rid of all that wool must have been great for them.

The milking of the sheep was by now a standard procedure offering no surprises apart from some fit sheep which tried to jump past the shepherds but always ending up being restrained by their tails and milked.

Due to unpredictable behaviour of the guarding dogs, we let Dora bring us from the sheepfold to the hut where the cheese would be made. The cheesemaking was done the same way as we had seen before, one shepherd putting his arms into the milk and gradually extracting the cheese mass. After having put it in a cloth and hung it up, the rest of the whey was put in a large pot, heated and after some time the ricotta cheese was lifted up and put in another container by means of a sieve. The whey was poured into a container providing food for their pigs.

A large number of pigs were just resting in the shade during our visit, while some puppies were playing. Eventually, their mother arrived apparently full of milk ready to be consumed by her puppies.

We were also shown a baby deer which had been left by its mother just a few days before. It made a loud squeaking noise for some reason.

Having watched both milking, cheesemaking and shearing, it was time to let trustworthy Dora and her horseman bring us safely back to Saschiz. Getting encouraging calls more or less constantly from the horseman, she easily brought us back again.

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