This post was originally going to be entitled, “miss(ing) Cinnamon,” because Cinnamon was away and we missed her. But as is usually the case, the farm keeps moving, even if I can’t keep up with it.
Three weeks ago–Sunday, December 3–we took Cinnamon the ewe to another farm for an extended “play date” with Frosty the ram. Ahem. We had visited Frosty’s farm the previous weekend, just to make sure he was a nice sheep-boy and his owners seemed like good shepherds. Both ram and humans passed the test and we brought Cinnamon out the following weekend.
We had gone back and forth about the best sheep-mobile transit options. Rent a truck and transport her in a custom sheep box in the back? Rent a small trailer and have the Subaru tow the trailer with Cinnamon in the sheep box? Or could (and should) we just put Cinnamon in the back of our Subaru Forester?
We went for door #3 and much hilarity ensured. I haven’t sent these photos to Subaru yet, but I’m wondering if I should. Will Cinnamon be Subaru’s latest ad campaign?
First we drove the Subaru into the sheep pasture, loaded some hay on top, and Ron had rigged a tarp inside. It was attached on each side in two spots to make a plastic “moat.” Then we spread out about 1/4 of a bale of hay in case she pooped or peed.
Once this was set up, Ron rattled grain to attract the sheep to the catch pen where we would separate and nab Cinnamon, and put her in a halter. As usual, Cinnamon was at the head of the line–that’s her, closest to Ron, hoping to get grain from the metal tin.
We were able to get most of the sheep in the catch pen (seen in the background here) and separated Cinnamon. Ron was able to put the halter on without any immobilization or struggle. It was really amazing. She was so trusting and cooperative despite this new thing on her face.
Then it was time to load Cinnamon in the back of the Forester. I held the tray with grain inside and rattled it. We hoped Cinnamon might just hop up, but it was a bit too much of a leap for her. So Ron handed me her halter rope, I pulled on it a bit, and he gave her a boost–first her front legs onto the tailgate, then her rather ample bum (!). Next thing we knew, as planned, Cinnamon was in the back of the Subaru.
Here is her wooly bum:
We had let the sheep out of the catch pen and they were wandering around, mostly oblivious to what was happening. But then Chaco and Francisco–and Half Moon who is strangely attentive to flock dynamics–realized Cinnamon was missing.
Here they are looking for her:
Poor Francisco and Chaco. They were baaing and not happy because their sheep-mum was gone.
We drove out of the pasture, shut and reactivated the electric fencing, and then tried to get Cinnamon to her new farm as quickly as possible. Cinnamon was remarkably calm given the strangeness of it all. She did pee and poop in the hay on the tarp within the first 3-5 minutes. She baaed more frequently the first half of the ride or so. And then she pretty much calmed down and looked out the windows. Ron drove and I petted her face and talked to her. After about 10 minutes, I quit letting her roam around the back and instead held her halter with about 18 inches of play, allowing her to stand, look, and lean, but kept her in the middle in case of another pee or poop incident.
Here we are, driving the ~20 minutes to the farm.
She nuzzled Ron’s neck at several points.
After about 20 minutes, we got to her temporary new home and unloaded her.
Fast forward three weeks to the day. This afternoon we drove back to Frosty’s farm and recovered Cinnamon, hoping that she is pregnant (with two ewe lambs, please!!!!!!!). It was more challenging getting her back in the car because there were two gates between her and the car, no catch pen, and sheep and goats trying to get where they weren’t supposed to be. But we eventually prevailed and got Cinnamon back in the Subaru.
Here she is, eating hay, as we’re driving along.
Guess it can’t be that bad if she was eating hay…
We parked in the driveway, Ron turned off the electric fence, and we carefully got her back out of the car. Then Ron walked her over to the pasture. You can see Chaco and Paco (both white) off in the distance.
Here they are:
We were curious how Cinnamon and the rest of the flock were going to react. At first, the sheep were oblivious to her. Then Paco perked up, obviously seeing his sheep-mum. It was hilarious to watch his ears perk up and his facial expression change. (I am not making this up.) A second or two later, Chaco clued in. Same thing–same ears and facial expression. Cinnamon baaed and Chaco and Paco started running toward her. A split second later, the rest of the sheep realized Cinnamon was back and started running, too. There was this wave of sheep running towards the fence to greet Cinnamon the rock star sheep.
Somehow we got Cinnamon through the fence despite the adoring sheep fans who then proceeded to mob her.
Here they are:
When we took Brownie to A’s farm to be bred two years ago, her return was sweet but reserved. All the sheep greeted her calmly in turn. Spot was the last to do so. Spot and Brownie never got along for some mysterious reason.
This time, all the sheep–and Diego the llama–were in a big sheep mob, nuzzling Cinnamon’s face, smelling her, and pushing each other around. Brownie and Cinnamon actually did the longest and sweetest greeting, doing a lot of face nuzzles and even several face licks. Poor Cinnamon kept trying to walk away, but everyone followed her around. We don’t think that Chaco and Paco really got a chance to reunite with their sheep-mum because all the sheep were so excited to see her.
Everyone loves Cinnamon.
Happy Christmas Eve.