23 March 2020

The Face of Sanity...and Signs of Spring (Hope?)

We have one sheep:  Shermy.  We used to have four, and before Ian and I married, he had 35 or 40, as a crofter.  When I came, in 2007, I didn't know what was going on with sheep (we don't have sheep in Florida!), but I had always had an affinity for them.  In the spring of 2008, I fell in love with one of Ian's lambs.  The flock was all scheduled to go away (to the auction mart, sadly), and he was going to be done with crofting.  Well, he was done with crofting, but not done with sheep!  I begged and pleaded for this lamb to be mine, and although it was a totally new concept to Ian (to have a sheep as a pet), he finally gave in, and we actually rustled this lamb and his mother away from the croft and hid them on someone else's croft!  And that lamb was Rosebud.  Who was a boy, so to his face, we mostly called him Bud.  Soon after that, we moved to another county and village, and we brought Rosebud with us -- but we didn't think we could have just one sheep, so we got Shermy to keep him company.  Then, in 2013, with some more begging on my part, we got two baby lambs who had no mothers, and we bottle fed them, and raised them up.  That was Snowball and Doodle.  We kept them in our garage and backyard for months!  Then we moved them into the big field with Rosebud and Shermy.  And for several years, we had a wee flock of four. Eventually, though, problems developed, as they often do.  Rosebud was getting older; Snowball had been bullied when he was little, but as he grew, he discovered he could bully the old guy.  We had to separate them -- Rosebud and Shermy in one field, and Snowball and Doodle in another.  Then, Rosebud died.  We saw this coming.  He made it to 10, but his constitution had never been that strong.  It was a terrible day.  That was in 2018.  At the end of 2018, Doodle died.  One day he was fine; the next he was gone.  And at the beginning of 2019, Snowball died -- the exact same thing.  Fine one day, gone the next.  And now there is Shermy. 

Having these four sheep has been wonderful and very emotional and very hard sometimes.  I always worried about the harsh weather, enough shelter (we built shelters in both fields though), whether they were happy, healthy, and well.  I was a nervous wreck at clipping time.  Most of the men who clipped them were careless, hard-nosed, and rough.  We kept trying different people, hoping for someone with a heart.  Ian had done clipping all his life, but it's very hard, especially on the back, and our sheep were all BIG.  Our last clipper was pretty good.  And then, the past couple of years, Ian has gone back to doing it, just to make sure our sheep are not traumatized unnecessarily.  We have also mostly kept dogs away from them.  I don't care what the farmers say:  dogs are predators as far as a sheep is concerned.  That is why there is a whole thing called "sheep worrying" which happens when dogs chase and nip and antagonize sheep.  The sheep literally die of fright.  I am hypervigilant to keep dogs away from ours, and have done for the past many years.

When we found ourselves with just one sheep, we were desperate to find him a companion, but it needed to be another sheep who was older, like Shermy.  Shermy turns 10 this year.  We never could find anyone suitable, and as it turns out, Shermy seems to be quite content on his own.  He has mellowed considerably and seems comfortable.  He loves scritches and petting.  Plus, he was always our sheep who made friends with others:  crows, rabbits, deer, cats. 

Also, we always take our sheep (one or four or however many) out of their field and away for walks, and to graze.  And they get rich tea biscuits for treats.  And they have kibbles, and hay, and mineral blocks, and turnips, and water.  So, all in all, they have all led pretty cossetted lives!

The other thing, though, is the wonderful therapy they have provided, and Shermy continues to provide, for us (heartbreaks notwithstanding).  Shermy is the face of sanity!  So, this past weekend, in the midst of empty grocery shelves, panic-laden news, and scary statistics, we went out for some fresh air, and some Shermy time.  Spring was making itself known in buds and flowers.  The air was fresh and crisp.  Shermy was happily eating new grass and big-leafed brassicas.  It was a refreshing time for all.  I am sure if we can get out in nature and away from people and technology, just for a little while throughout the week, it will help reset our perspectives and settle our hearts and minds in this trying time.

It is good to transform this time into quiet, peace, reflection, prayer, and a practising of the presence of God.  Be safe and well.

1 comment:

Schotzy said...

So precious to hear from you. I so enjoyed my visit with you and Shermy. I still love to play with my toy sheep with my girls. I call the one you sent me Dogwood. They love it! So I haven’t heard much about how Scotland is faring this this strange world. We are on self imposed lockdown but I wouldn’t be surprised for real lockdown take place this week. Idiotic young adults are in rebellion from not gathering and if we do not get to Ireland it will prob be their fault. Bah. We are lookin* so forward to this trip because Amanda is planning it all and it is already paid for. Glad we do have insurance. If we are all able we will try again next year if we don’t make it!so you ar3 planning a trip to Holland! We were there in 1973 when we lived in Germany. It is a wonderland! Hope you make it for sure!.
Love to you both, Carolyn (Schotzy)