Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.
Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.
- Are you lucky enough to own any merino clothing? Did you know that “merino” is a type of sheep and that merino clothes come from sheep’s wool? What makes merino sheep’s wool more expensive than other types of sheep’s wool?
- After reading about the origins of merino sheep, can you say in your own words how the merino breed originally came from Africa but ended up in New Zealand?
- In South Island high country, “expanses of native grasses provided an ideal beachhead for sheep to get established.” With the benefit of hindsight, today we might think twice before allowing animals to graze on native grasses. What might have been some of the consequences of mass grazing on tussock grasslands?
- The article says that wool is marketed as a premium product in most countries but undervalued in New Zealand because for so long, we were so surrounded by wool (and sheep) that we thought little of it. Do you think we are starting to value wool again? Do you think our attitude to it will change?
- What ideas do you have for new ways we could use wool, given that it is warm and light, doesn’t hold odours, is relatively waterproof and totally compostable?
Activity: Have a Foot Bath
Enjoy some luxury by spending a few minutes with your feet in an Epsom Salts foot bath. You’ll feel fantastic! This is a lovely thing to do for a hard-working person in your family, too! Epsom salts sooth aching, tired feet and reduce swelling.
You will need:
- Epsom salts (you can buy a bag of these at the supermarket or pharmacy for about $3)
- Warm water
- A bucket or tub you can put your feet in
- Something fragrant – mint, lemon, rosemary or essential oil will all work
Step One: Pour ¼ cup Epsom salts into the basin, then add several litres of warm water. Swish the Epsom salts around with your hand to dissolve them. Add something that will release a relaxing fragrance into the water. You might like to try lavender flowers, a sprig of rosemary or mint, chopped lemon rinds or 8-10 drops of an essential oil.
Step Two: Put your feet in the tub and relax! Put on some relaxing music or sit outside in the shade where you can listen to the birds if you want to. You can also place a rug or towel over your knees while you soak your feet to give you an added feeling of comfort, even if it’s a warm day.
Step Three: If you’re giving someone else a foot bath, maybe you could offer to give them a hand massage or scalp massage while they have their foot bath, for maximum relaxation!