It’s now well past the New Year. As always, various stories, incidents, and humorous events on the farm have taken place over the past two weeks. Here is one from early this morning.
Before dawn, it was pretty clear the sheep were hanging out under Most Favored Pine Tree. They were seven brown lumps–amid the much smaller lumps also under the pine tree (see: sheep poop…). We couldn’t identify who was who, but we could tell they were lying on the ground, resting under the tree.
Fast forward a bit later once the sun was up enough to really see. All of the sheep had left except for one who was still lying down, chewing its cud, and spacing out, looking away from the pine tree and towards the house, seemingly oblivious to the fact that all of the other sheep had left.
Sheep hate being by themselves. After all, they are a flock species.
As Ron put it, the lone sheep was going to have an “oh, sheep” [note: “sheep” is generally replaced by another word] moment any second.
We’ve seen this time and again. One of them is off doing his or her own thing–grazing, resting, browsing, whatever. The rest of the flock wanders off. The lone sheep doesn’t realize it, looks up, sees no one or the sheep far away, and generally looks around, baas, and frantically runs back to the flock.
From the size of the lump under Most Beloved Pine Tree, Ron was pretty sure the lone sheep was one of the wethers, Tagine or Tatanka (Half Moon is still smaller and lighter in color so he’s always distinguishable). I decided to go out and try to prevent the wether from having an “oh, sheep” moment.
I went outside (in my pjs, supplemented by down parka, polar hat, and wellies) and saw right away it was Tagine. I hopped over the fence, went up to him, and petted him. He acted completely normal. Then he started looking around a bit and seemed to realize there were no other sheep in his field of vision. He started to get a little panicky and that meant I startled him more easily. I took a step one way and he got up in panicked sheep mode. But by that point he had definitely figured out he was the only one–other than me–under the Most Beloved Pine Tree.
From the house, I had already seen that the rest of the sheep were up by the sheep shack so I started walking from Most Beloved Pine Tree in the direction we needed to go to get Tagine back to the rest of his flock. Tagine likes to follow us and he particularly likes following us when we jog somewhere, although his running always puts ours to shame. I started jogging, looked back, he had started following me, but he also called out to the sheep: where are you???
Someone up by the sheep shack baaed back.
“We’re over here, Tagine!”
At that point, Tagine had figured out they were up by the sheep shack so he ran by me, slowed to turn the corner by the gate where there is a lot of ice (it’s slippery, even for sheep), and then accelerated up the hill by the corn patch and orchard fence.
In sheepy cuteness, Spot and Tatanka had wandered over to that corner, meeting Tagine as he dashed up the hill. Tagine and Tatanka bunked noses (cute!!!) and Tagine walked over to the sheep shack. Meanwhile, Spot and Tatanka greeted me–and wanted pets, of course.
Thus, all was well again in sheep-land. Tagine was reunited with his little flock. Spot, Cinnamon, Tatanka, and Half Moon requested–and got–early morning pets in the sunrise.And I got nose bunks, too.
And Tagine had only a mild, “oh, sheep” moment.