Saturday, December 06, 2008

Meet the Sheep

It occurred to me recently that it might be nice to post a picture of the sheep on the blog and talk briefly about each one. These four Romney sheep belong to Shannon, who owns the property I live on. The sheep's "house" is only about 20 feet from the southeast corner of our home.

Here's the rundown.

Bart is the sheep in front. He's got more black wool than the other sheep and we really have no way of knowing if he's pure breed. Shannon bought him at a garage sale and he was her first sheep. Bart is by far the tamest of the four. He's the only one who will let you pet him. This is probably due to the fact that Shannon led him around the neighborhood on a leash when she first got him. Bart and I have a love/hate relationship. One time, when I was trying to get into their pen for something, he pushed me over in order to run out of the gate. I am not a fan of being knocked down into sheep poo and mud and I made sure to tell Bart that as I chased him around the yard. That was a trying day for us. Most of the time though, we're cool.

Blu, the sheep on the right, was bought as a companion for Bart, and that's all I really know about his origins. I call him the split personality sheep because he can never seem to make up his mind about things. Do you want the treat, Blu? Yes. Do you want to get close to the human in order to get it? No. Will you go for the treat? Yes. Will you really go for the treat? Yes, yes...no, wait! maybe no, maybe I like it better back here. I want that treat though, but no I don't, maybe. Clearly, he has very complex emotions. Blu's absolute favorite thing in the world is the swing hanging from our big oak tree. When we let the sheep out of their pasture into the yard, he'll go stand by the swing, gently rubbing his head on it. He'll stay by that swing for hours.

Next to Blu is our little girl, Audrey. We named her Audrey because she resembled Audrey Hepburn when she was a lamb (must have been the eyes). If I had to describe Audrey in two words, it would be "trouble maker." "Escape artist" would likewise be appropriate. The two phrases go hand-in-hand. Each time she is sheered, we have to prepare for several weeks of Audrey-corralling. She's tiny enough to find spots in the fencing where she can squeeze through. Luckily, her wool grows fast and before long, she fluffs up and can no longer get out. One time, when she was not yet fully grown, she got her head stuck in the gate. It took us 45 minutes to get her to turn her head and move back so that we could slide her out. Sheep, apparently, (or at least this one) only want to move forward.

And last but not least, in the background is our young alpha male, the incomparable Azure. I should say, that Audrey and Azure are both from the same flock, so I think of them as siblings, even though they are not. They were given to Shannon only a month or two after we moved to the farm. They were considered too runty for the flock, or some such nonsense. Given the fate of most livestock, especially those considered not up to par, these sheep really lucked out. Anyways, back to Azure. He is the most beautiful of the sheep. I love the coloring of his coat. A few years ago, he broke a leg, which in the olden days would have meant a trip out to the field with Pa's shotgun. But, he survived. I cannot express to you how much it sucks trying to keep a splint on a sheep. Despite this injury, Azure still became the alpha sheep. Whenever dogs or coyotes come into the pen to threaten the sheep, Azure always stands in front as the other three huddle behind him. I'm not playing favorites, but, well okay, Azure is kind of my favorite.

That's about all. Drew still can't tell them apart, even though we've lived right next to them for over 5 years and they don't look identical. Sheep have individual personalities, just like any other sentient being, but their personalities may be admittedly subtle. And I won't lie. They're not the brightest bulbs on our little blue marble, but they are endearing. And they make wool, and lots of it, lest we forget :)

2 comments:

bridget said...

Oops, just found this -- it answers all my questions, and yes this is the Bart I've been stalking! I should have read before posting a book on silas' blog!

Amber said...

Hi Bridget. There's no track-back on blogspot, so I have no way to contact you, but yes, my Bart is your Bart! Shannon owns them, and I think she works with Theresa at Sound Publishing. A small world indeed! If you happen to be on Ravelry, i'm on as amberbryant. Or you could ask Theresa to get my contact info from Shannon, if you'd like! I'd love to see what you're spinning with Bart's wool!