Even Funnier

The sheep had a traumatic experience yesterday. The person who came to let them out in the morning was an Evil Imposter who looked exactly like their normal ShepherdPerson except she was wearing a poncho of all things! All that loose, flapping fabric! I think the whole flock may need therapy now.

The poncho-wearing impostor was terrifying, and they were in no way overreacting when they all went sprinting out of the barn as fast as their hooves could carry them, jumping three to four feet in the air as they went by. Except Angel, who stood about 10 feet away staring at me my evil doppleganger in horror and screaming at the top of her lungs. And Mira, who knew it was me and wasn’t fazed by the poncho, but freaked out anyway because she couldn’t figure out what everyone else was freaking out about.

I wasn’t expecting such a dramatic mass exodus, and I was a bit distracted at the time by the crack of a large number of sheep breaking the sound barrier on their way out (or possibly it was the crack of Will Scarlet misjudging his evasive maneuvers in the rush and crashing into a wall mid-leap, it was definitely one or the other) so they were all gone by the time I got my camera out.

I’d only grabbed the poncho in the first place because it was conveniently near the door when I realized it was cold outside. I remembered to wear my brown barn coat this morning, which made the sheep much happier. The barn coat is always tremendously popular, because it has many wonderful pockets that often contain treats, and it doesn’t change my shape much or flap ominously when I move, so they don’t question my identity when I’m wearing it. Once they’d sniffed at it a bit, they were able to set off towards breakfast at their usual subsonic pace.


“Whew, I’m glad we have the real ShepherdPerson back, and not that scary poncho-wearing impostor!”

Angel was born after warm weather had arrived this year, so she’d never seen the coat before. She was too excited about the many pockets to follow everyone else off to graze. The coat has four outer pockets, which combined with my jeans means eight pockets to be inspected!


“There was a ScaryFlappyPerson here yesterday! I need crunchies to recover!”

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in years, but at least I know as long as I have a large poncho I have a suitably scary costume ready if I end up needing one for some reason.


Very Funny

The other day the sheep somehow managed to get through not one, but two gates, (one of which I may have left open accidentally and one that was definitely closed and latched) and had a grand old time chewing their way through the treeline along the farm road.


“Woo-hoo! Freedom!”


“This stuff tastes way better than the stuff in our field! So many leaves!


“Why aren’t we always allowed to graze out here in the road?”

I was inexcusably out of crunchies for bribing sheep that day, but fortunately for me salt mix also makes an excellent bribe. On the other hand, using salt as a bribe usually leads to me being mobbed and coming away with a large number of little hoofprints on my jeans, which is why I generally prefer to use crunchies.

When I got back to the house I had an email from Amazon recommending an 11 pound bulk pack of Chex based on my recent shopping history, which was strange because I have never bought crunchies online. I’m starting to think this is why the sheep are always trying to steal my smartphone out of my pocket, they’re using it to do some online shopping.

Unfortunately for them, being nearly trampled by the escapees made me more inclined to bulk order gate latches, not treats.

The next morning when I let the sheep out of the barn, Lady, instead of leading the flock out to graze the way she’s supposed to, led all of them straight to the road gate and stood there waiting expectantly for me to let them out.


“You may open the gate now, we’re ready to go!”

I had a good laugh at their very funny joke, and shooed them off to their own field. Some took more shooing than others.


“All those leeeaves!”

Drake was deeply disappointed about missing out on more leaves.

If they absolutely had to get through a gate, I’m glad it was the gate to the road and not the gate to the boys. Mira cycled this week, and we won’t have time next spring to raise any more unwanted lambs.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA“I’m not waiting around here if you’re not giving us treats or letting us out in the road! I’m going to go off with my boyfriend Will!”

Will is hopelessly smitten and hasn’t left her side in days. I approve of him as a boyfriend, they’ve been friends since they were tiny babies playing King of the Hill in the old clubhouse.


Aww, look at what cute babies they were!

Of course, the major reason I like Will for her boyfriend is that he’s wethered, so he can’t do any worse than annoy her slightly with his devoted hovering and glare jealously at any rivals who try to come near her.

I got another email this morning, this time suggesting the special 12-pack of the 18-oz “family size” boxes of Chex. I’m really going to have to stop letting them play with my phone.

Happy Birthday, Watcher!

Yesterday was Watcher’s fourth birthday, and I didn’t even mention him! Shame on me! I dug an older camera out of a drawer so I could take halfway decent pictures of him today to make up for it.

This camera is better than my cell phone, but “halfway decent” is about all I can say for it, but fortunately I think my regular camera can be fixed. It’s a dark and dreary day today, so the pictures probably would have come out dark and dreary no matter what camera I used.


“That frisbee is going to make a break for it any second, I know it!”

We actually managed a fairly long uninterrupted game of fetch this morning, since it’s been raining off and on and Echo was sticking to the porch for fear of getting wet. Usually I can only throw the frisbee two or three times before Echo gets jealous.

I admired Watcher’s frisbee-catching prowess for a while, but then the sheep in the barn started getting loudly cranky about the delay in being let out for breakfast.


“Oh no, my sheep are crying! What’s wrong with my sheep?”

Playing frisbee is his favorite game, but it takes a back seat to his “real” job of being the Farm Alarm, so we had to pause the game while I went to check on Watcher’s sheep for him.

They were all fine, just hungry and impatient, and annoyed to discover that everything is wet today. I am thrilled to finally get some rain, but the sheep not so much.


“Breakfast is wet!”

At least Liam is back to being his usual friendly self.


“I don’t like being wet!”

And Neo, of course, is always friendly.


“You need to give us extra crunchies, to make up for the rain!”

Duchess, flawlessly demonstrating where Mira and Angel inherited their irresistible begging faces.

Not that Mira was using hers, today. She must have hit her saturation point on coddling yesterday, because today instead of leaning against my leg demanding attention, she gave me a very irritated head toss when I tried to pet her and ran off. She insisted she had far more important things to do than deal with me and my attachment issues.


“Not now, Mom, I’m busy! Why do you have to be so clingy, I’m not a baby anymore!

Sigh. Kids. There’s gratitude for you. Parenthood is so rewarding.

In her defense, the rain had knocked a lot of leaves off of the trees, and she was eager to get her share. Leaves are a delicacy, and there probably won’t be many more windfalls of edible leaves before winter.

Once all of his sheep were taken care of and relatively happy, Watcher was ready to play frisbee again on the way back to the house.


“That frisbee’s going to make a break for it any second, I know it!”

Happy birthday, Watcher! It’s nice to know you’re always vigilant, keeping an eye on everybody outside.


Liam did in fact manage to get the twine off his foot by himself with no harm done, so that was a relief. He and Lana have almost forgiven me for following them all over the field that day.

Mira’s face is healing up pretty well, though I’m still not sure what the injury was in the first place. She’s reached new heights of spoiled-ness from me doting on her while she didn’t feel good, and I have a feeling she’s not going to accept going back to a normal level of spoiled.

She caught me trying to pet Angel through the fence while I was walking the dogs, and she had to come flying all the way across the field to put a stop to that outrage.

“Mommy Mommy Mommy!”

“Don’t pet her! Wait for me! I’m coming!”

“I have a boo-boo! You’re only supposed to pet ME!”

Obviously she is still a fragile little flower who desperately needs coddling. It’s sometimes hard to tell when I need to actually worry about her, because she actually does get sick when she’s very upset, but she’s also clever enough to act like she’s sick every time she wants extra attention. In this case I’m pretty sure she’s fine now and just milking it, but I had to pet her and coo over her for several minutes before she stopped being upset anyway.

Then Echo got upset because I’d already played with the sheep that morning and it was HIS turn now. He collapsed dramatically across my lap where I was sitting by the fence, weakly batting at me with his paw until I petted and cooed over him, too.

Somebody needs to tell these animals that there are other ways of getting my attention besides melodramatic languishing.

Slow Speed Chase

Liam got a piece of baling twine stuck to his foot this morning. It was just stuck between his toes, not wrapped around his foot, but I thought it’d still be better if I got it off of him. Unfortunately he thought maybe I was going to do something unpleasant to him and wouldn’t let me catch him.

When a Soay is avoiding being caught, it involves manic bursts of speed, sudden changes in direction, and occasional wild-eyed attempts to turn and fight off their pursuers. Chasing Liam, on the other hand, involves him shooting me mildly reproachful looks over his shoulder as he shuffles away at exactly the speed necessary to stay out of reach and not a bit faster.

Both ways are equally effective. Liam may be sedate, especially compared to the Soays, but even a sedate sheep is faster than a ShepherdPerson. Faster than this ShepherdPerson, anyway.

Of course, if possible he’d rather hide behind his flockmates and avoid even that much exertion. I wish I could have gotten pictures with my real camera, but it’s stopped working almost completely. So instead I’m stuck with grainy cell phone photos that I can’t crop or edit unless I feel like adding instagram filters.

“Nothing to see here, nope, these are not the sheep you’re looking for…”

Hiding behind flockmates doesn’t work so well when you’re both glowingly white and bigger than they are, so he gave up on hiding and off he shuffled. I was hoping to walk up to him instead of running him down, so he stayed ahead of me without even having to break into a trot.

imag4812a“Is she still after us?”

Lana stuck with her beloved Liam, even in face of relentless pursuit. Or maybe she thought I was after her, too. She’s a good sheep, but she’s still not sure if she trusts me.


“Let’s lose her in the tunnel!”


“Oh no, she found us again!”

Liam is not a genius about evasive strategies, probably because he doesn’t get chased very often, by me or by other sheep, so he doesn’t get much practice.

The rest of the flock suddenly noticed I’d wandered off with Lana and Liam, and decided to chase us down in case I was sneaking them extra crunchies or something.

“Wait for us!”

These are the moments when I think of old westerns, when the cowhand extra is about to get trampled by the herd of running cows.


Fortunately I don’t usually get knocked down and trampled, just climbed on and thoroughly pawed at and searched. Once they’d nosed through all my pockets and figured out I didn’t have any crunchies, I was boring again and they all wandered off to graze.


Nina stuck around to “play chase” with us, but evidently didn’t quite understand the game, because she kept turning around and coming back to ask if I was sure I didn’t have any crunchies.

Eventually I got tired and Liam and Lana were starting to get upset, so I gave up and came in the house for breakfast. I’ll try again in a bit, but more than likely he’ll have managed to get the twine off his foot himself by the time I go back out.







Mira has a swollen lump on her lower lip. I’m pretty sure it’s either an abscess or a bee sting, or possibly an abscessed bee sting. Whatever it is, it’s obviously painful, and the only thing to do with a painful boo-boo like that is to droop dramatically around her Mommy so I can pat her on the head and make crooning, sympathetic noises about her poor ouchie face.


“Mommyyy, my face is owie, I need at lot of petting…”

Poor, poor baby. Of course, then Mira’s Bitter Rival showed up and said she needed some fussing over, too.


“Hey, what about me?!”

To which Mira responded by drooping even more miserably, so that I had to crouch down to satisfactorily continue to pat her on the head and make crooning noises.


“It hurts so baaad, you need to pet only me and not Angel because I’m saaad…”

And Angel rested her little chin on my knee and broke out the great big pleading eyes. She’s not as cuddly as Mira, she wanted treats instead of petting.


“Do you have any crunchies?”

My knees got tired of crouching before Mira got tired of being petted, so before I knew it I was sitting on the ground, with the two of them trying to make sad faces at me and glare at each other across my lap at the same time, with indifferent success.


“I am sad, and injured, and you need to make her go away!”

Then I made the fatal error of giving Angel a crunchy treat to distract her from chewing on my arm, thinking Mira wouldn’t mind since she’d already refused to eat crunchies twice by this point.



But of course that was the final straw. Giving Angel the crunchies Mira didn’t want was completely intolerable.



Apparently there’s a rule that under circumstances like these, you’re allowed to jump up out of your metaphorical sick bed and chase your Bitter Rival away without compromising your invalid status. I did not know this, but Mira says it’s true.


“She hit my head with her tail, Mommy! I need much comforting!”

Poor, sad, little Mira. I hope she feels better soon.

Well That’s A New One

I went to let the sheep out yesterday morning, and there were only three Dukelings at the fence to greet me. If Chestnut had been the missing one I wouldn’t have been too worried, (Chestnut is a sound sleeper and sometimes doesn’t wake up when everyone else gets up and leaves him), but it was Cedar and Cedar doesn’t usually wander off alone, so my brain automatically started screaming “Oh no, he’s hurt/sick/escaped and run off to conquer the world!”

I walked all over looking for him and couldn’t find him anywhere, but there was some sort of great commotion going on in the barn, so I decided to put the search on hold while I let the girls out.

And I found Cedar. In the barn, in one of the stalls with the girls. I have no idea how he ended up in there, and I have a strong suspicion he wasn’t sure how he ended up in there, but he was Not Happy about it. The commotion I’d been hearing was him bawling his head off because he’d never been more than a few steps away from Chestnut before in his entire life and he did not like it at all and wanted his brother back right that minute.

I got him back out with his brother and the other boys, much to his relief. Neo also slipped out, then immediately decided he’d made a Big Mistake when he was instantly attacked by every guy in the field wanting to hash out his place in the pecking order. In the process of rescuing poor hapless Neo, somehow I ended up with the boys all in the large front field. I was tired of sheep-chasing by that point, so I just shut the gate on them and let the girls have the small front fields and the back field for the day.

And of course I didn’t have a camera or even my cell phone to document any of this chaos. By the time I got back to the house and got the camera, Cedar had migrated to the front fence and was cramming his head under the wire to eat the yard grass (a totally necessary measure, what with him only having a whole field of grass to eat on his own side) under the watchful eye of Daddy Duke, while Chestnut and Prince Bran ate bark off of the nearby tree (also totally necessary, I’m sure).


“Remember, son, the grass is always greener on the other side!”

And the equally watchful, but much less approving, eye of Watcher.


“No no no! Get back! Stop!”

Watcher always has a minor existential crisis when I switch around who’s in what field, because the Sheep Are In The Wrong Place and it’s Bad, but having one eating the grass under the fence was just the last straw.


“Do you SEE what they’re DOING?!”

He was disgusted that I decided to stay on the porch and take pictures instead of fixing everything back the way it was. Watcher firmly disapproves of things not being the way they should be.


“I’m staying on the porch, too! It’s wet out there!”

Echo started to go help Watcher, but stepped in the rain puddle on the edge of the porch and changed his mind. Echo is firmly against getting his paws wet.


“Break time!”

Evidently satisfied that the required level of chaos was being maintained by the boys and Watcher, the girls decided to leave off their hormone-fueled dueling for the moment and settle down to play happy family for a while.

I decided that Watcher and Apple could probably resolve their differences on their own, left them to it and went inside for breakfast.

Hard Feelings

It must be fall, because the horrible hormones are starting to disrupt the peace (such as it is) around here. Yesterday afternoon, for no apparent reason, Mira and Lady decided that they absolutely loathe each other and cannot inhabit the same pasture peacefully. They were fighting so intently they weren’t even interested in their bedtime crunchies. Didn’t even flick an ear in the direction of the rustling bag.

I did finally lure them into the barn by shoving crunchies right under their noses to get their attention. This had to be repeated every few feet when they would stop following me and start squabbling again.

I put them in separate stalls and hoped they’d forget their feud overnight. No such luck. They went right back at it the minute I let them out this morning.


“Back off!”

“No, YOU back off!”

Most of the flock retreated to the far end of the pasture, which is the sensible thing to do when two ewes are fighting.


“Oooh, pumpkin! Yummy!”

Liam found a piece of pumpkin, and risked sticking around to munch on that. Liam can afford to risk hanging around the battleground, since he doesn’t really have many vulnerable points.



Lady and Mira were too fixated on trying to bludgeon each other to death to worry about Liam, anyway. Usually ewes butt heads from close range, but these two were doing the whole foreheads-at-ten-paces, running-start-full-speed-collision type of fighting, like rams usually do. Whatever they were fighting about, they were mad.


“I don’t want to watch!”

Poor Neo also stuck around, mostly hovering and hoping if he closed his eyes it’d go away. He was very distressed that Mira wasn’t being nice to his mama, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to join in. Neo’s a lover, not a fighter.


“I can do this all day!”

Eventually I had to separate the combatants into different pens, because Drake and Griffin got really excited about the fight and decided to join in on Mira’s side. I think maybe they thought if they helped her beat up Lady she’d agree to be their girlfriend. Whatever the reason, poor Lady was getting pummeled and couldn’t really handle three to one odds, even with Neo hovering around fruitlessly trying to shoo the little boys away without actually hitting them. I shut her and Neo into the small pens and locked everyone else out in the front field.


“You broke up the best fight we’ve had in ages!”

Drake was indignant enough at having his fun spoiled that I actually got a clear picture of his face! He and Griffin didn’t pout very long before they decided to burn off their energy fighting each other, instead. I don’t mind that, they’re about equal in size and they’re just roughhousing. I only try to break it up when a big sheep starts beating up a little one, or when multiple sheep gang up on one target.

It didn’t take long for Duchess to barge in and start scolding them into behaving, anyway. Griffin may be the first lamb she’s raised, but Duchess is a very experienced lamb-wrangler from playing auntie for all those years. Which is fortunate, since Nova has a very laissez faire attitude towards parenting at this stage, and Angel’s various human parental units aren’t outside as much as she thinks they should be.


“All of you lambs behave!”

Mira, in the background, is still making mean faces at Lady through the fence. I always think of Mira as my delicate, 2.4 pound lamb; it’s a bit disconcerting when she does something that reminds me she’s now the biggest of the Soay ewes, by a slight but definite margin.


“What are you doing over there? Come over here and fight me!”

That picture looks almost friendly without the hoof stomping and head tossing that happened in the few seconds before and after. I don’t know what’s gotten into those two, but I hope it wears off soon. Family feuds are exhausting.

A Study in Faces

The Evil Cow Spies are lurking in the woods next door again spending their time staring our way, much to Watcher’s consternation. I’m not sure what Watcher thinks the cows are going to do with all their surveillance, but he’s not going to stand for it, whatever it is.



My personal theory is that being a cow is probably very boring, and watching what my little sheep get up to is probably the most interesting option available.


“Do you have any crunchies?”

Frankly, I think these guys are more suspicious-looking than the cows, but Watcher knows best I’m sure.


“They’re shady, all right!”

Except maybe this one. Barney looks pretty trustworthy, if a bit soggy at the moment.


“It’s about time we got breakfast, I almost starved to death!”

That face looks pretty honest, too. Although I don’t think he’s remotely as close to starving as he thinks. I’m sure it’s an honest misunderstanding.


“My boyfriend Liam says you’re ok, but I’m keeping an eye on you!”

Lana has a good, respectable-looking face. She’s not any too sure about how trustworthy I am, but that’s whole other issue. I am a bit suspicious about why that hay rack is hanging sideways, but I’m sure Lana had nothing to do with it.


“Nooo, no taking pictures of my face!”

I thought I might get a good shot of Drake’s ever-elusive face while he was distracted chewing on that fallen gate (I’m also suspicious about how that gate fell down, but nevermind) but he ducked his head down at the last minute.

Before I could focus the camera again, I made the mistake of looking in the same direction for more than a few seconds, and my field of view was instantly filled with less shy faces clamoring for treats my attention. Drake managed to shuffle off and hide behind all the others in the crowd.



Little Grumpy Griffin still has his adorable grumpy face, but overall I suppose they look like a harmless bunch.

Of course, appearances can be deceiving.



I’m sure those cow could tell some tales, if Watcher’s right about them being blackmailing Evil Cow Spies. Maybe he’s right to keep an eye on them.

Business as Usual

The Dukelings are all healed up and back in with the big boys again. Duke is very happy to have his entourage of Dukelings back.


“All together again!”

Well, he has the Dukelings plus Johnny tagging along after him. Johnny is Duke’s grandson, so I guess he counts as an honorary Dukeling.

Angel continues to be an adorable little mooch with improbably big eyes.


“Crunchies, please?”

She’s going to be just as beautiful as her grandmother when she grows up.


“Nuh-uh, I am the fairest of them all!”

Poor girl’s looking a bit boney from feeding Griffin all summer, but she’s still beautiful.


“ShepherdPerson’s taking pictures! Quick, Drake, hide your face!”

Drake continues to find ways to hide his face, even in the middle of an open field. Silly boy.

The one new development I’m glad to report is that a) Angel has gotten big enough or brave enough to hit Mira back, and b) Mira and Angel now take occasional breaks from hitting each other to graze together.


“Time out for breakfast, then we can go back to fighting!”

I’m 90% sure they’re grazing next to each other as some weird kind of competitiveness, but it’s nice to see anyway.