Notes from Windward: #69
hanging out with the ewes
The animals we raise could just be animals to feed and water so that when butchering season comes, we have healthy creatures to store away for the winter. However, here comes the power of community again. Humans need the company of other creatures to keep themselves sane, whether these creatures be other humans, or cats, dogs, goats and sheep. Sometimes being around humans gets to be a little too much. (Cabin fever, anyone?) The goats and sheep provide the simple love we need.
Whitey and I
Although sheep don't say much more than "baaah!", sometimes you can tell what they say.
Here's what happened:
A few days ago Opalyn and I went to prop up the metal arms of the shelter in the sheep pen. The arms had folded underneath the pressure of wet snow, and only one or two sheep could fit under it to stay out of the weather. We fixed it so that all the sheep could get protection from rain. They're due to lamb in early April, so we want to keep them comfortable during this last month of gestation.
The sheep milled around curiously during this process. Before leaving the pen, I thought I would say hello to Whitey, my favorite ewe. She's one of the friendliest, and in my opinion she's in a good mood a lot of the time. Dolly, on the other hand, is quite businesslike and is concerned with food and nothing else.
So I petted Whitey on her nose and behind her ears. Pia saw what was going down and wanted some attention herself, and she sidled up to me, putting her head under my hand. I scratched them both behind the ears and ruffled up their thick wool.
Whitey and Pepper
Whitey looked up at me happily. Soon Pia did the same. Pepper wanted to join in, I could see, but she couldn't figure out how to get to me.
[Sheep have an interesting and rather simplistic way of looking at the world. They only see in shades of grey, to begin with. They also only see in the horizontal plane in front of their eyes. I suppose it would be like wearing blinders that blocked you from looking up and down unless you moved your head. Pepper was stuck because she had gotten in between Whitey and Pia, and did not think to back out and walk around Pia.]
You might think I'm projecting anthropomorphic qualities onto Whitey and Pia, but I assure you they meant to show me the love in their eyes. I take care of them every day, making sure they have enough food and water. I try to make sure they also have enough attention and don't feel too penned up, at least until they can begin grazing again. I don't need to be thanked by people for what I do, I need to be thanked by the sheep. And on that day, Whitey and Pia said "Thanks."
Pia -- our senior ewe
Oh, and I almost forgot! Pia told me a joke:
Q. Who is a sheep's favorite person?
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69