Best Day of Watcher’s Life

The boys finished off their round bale the other day, and since it was too muddy to bring another one down I pushed the rest of the “emergency” bale in the barn outside for them. I thought that would tide them over until things dried up, but there was less of it than I remembered and they polished it off in about 24 hours. The girls are also peeved that they can’t grab a mouthful off every day on their way in and out of the barn anymore. That was their emergency round bale, how could I just give it to the boys like that?

Lacking any other ideas, I let the boys into the girls field last night so they could share the girls’ round bale while the girls were in the barn. Surprisingly, the girls’ bale didn’t completely disappear overnight. Even more surprisingly, thirteen naughty boy sheep appeared in the yard with the dogs this morning between the time the dogs were let out and when I went out.

1

“Yay, yard grass! We’re saved!”

Echo is still a bit scared of the Dukelings I think; he was staying as far away from the intruders as possible. Watcher, on the other hand, was enthusiastically rubbing his face on Duke’s mane, which Duke was tolerating with surprisingly good grace. “Eau de rutty ram” is apparently a very desirable fragrance in Watcher’s mind.

2

“Oh, hi Mom! Look! My sheep are in the yard! Isn’t it exciting?”

3

“Hold on, I’ll bring them to you!”

Watcher worked very hard herding the boys to me, helped I think by the fact the boys were heading towards me anyway.

4

“Hurry up! No lollygagging!”

Watcher was never so thrilled in his life as he was to have a group of sheep actually doing what he said. I’m pretty sure the boys would have followed me back to the field regardless, but Watcher ensured they did so in a much more timely and tightly-bunched fashion.

5

“Come on, stop grazing! Keep up! March!”

Once I’d gotten the sheep back in the field, (and the dogs back out of the field,) the boys all bunched up by the barn doors, either because it’s the least soggy place available right now, or because the barn is about the only normally off-limits place on the farm that they haven’t invaded in the last 24 hours. They haven’t been in the farm lane either, but if they’ve forgotten about that I’m not going to remind them.

6

“We want in the barn!”

7

“We want back in with our mommies!”

Drake, Will, and Griffin wanted back in with the ewe flock, but I think they’re happier with all the other boys for now. They can roughhouse and act as macho as they want over there.

8

“That was fun! When can my sheep come play again?”

Watcher’s still hovering around the fence making wistful noises. His entire reason for being has been validated. He finally got to do the job that is imprinted on his genes! It was the best thing that ever happened to him!

Echo would also like to know if this is happening again, so he can be sure to be elsewhere. His genes did not come imprinted with the sheep-chasing drive. His genes mainly tell him to take care of his people, eat and sleep a lot, be petted as much as possible, and sometimes play a game with Watcher.

With Watcher taking care of the sheep, and Echo taking care of the humans, and the humans taking care of the sheep and the dogs, I think we’re all pretty well looked after around here.

Advertisements

Entertainment

I am having a lot of trouble getting pictures that don’t look miserable and depressing, because the weather outside has been miserable and depressing for weeks. We keep getting soggy, wet snow overnight that melts by midmorning into soupy, wet mud.

The sheep usually like the cold, but they seem to be as grumpy as I am about the weather.

1

“No more snow and mud, Mommy, I don’t like it.”

I’m not sure whether to blame the general gloom or maybe the early stages of puberty for Angel’s mood lately, but she has transformed in the past week into approximately twenty pounds of solid “FIGHT ME!”, super concentrated formula. Mira got obnoxiously, ridiculously aggressive for a while when her hormones first started changing, so I’m thinking that’s probably what’s going on.

Either that or she’s aiming to be flock queen before her second birthday, one or the other. Maybe both. It’s hilarious right now but I do hope she calms down just a tad before she gets to be her mother’s size, or we might all be in trouble.

15

“I sure taught that stick a lesson!”

She’s not only been fighting her stick, but also the hoop houses, the straw bales, and my legs, and chasing birds and squirrels all across the field. I personally saw her fighting separate battles with Mira, Holly, Nina, and Nova, all within a 12 hour period the other day. Sometimes she hops around shadow boxing with no opponent at all. It’s an exhausting campaign for such a little Angel.

2

“I need the crunchies in your pocket for energy! I don’t know why I keep getting so tired, I’m only fighting everything that crosses my line of sight!”

Sometimes I look at one of my lambs and think “Why are you like this??”

Then I usually run through their pedigrees in my head and think “Oh, that’s why. Never mind.”

5

“Hey, it’s not my fault; I’m just over here minding my own business, killing this stick for the hundredth time like a normal person!”

I think Mira’s still convinced Angel just showed up out of the blue in her stall one night last spring from nowhere, attacked her, and now just generally exists to ruin her life. Angel feels the same way about Mira though, so I guess they’re even. It’s a shame they can’t at least be friends, but I’ve given up trying to persuade them. Either they’ll work it out eventually or they won’t.

3

“This is OUR stick, not Angel’s!”

I think the Shetland girls are a bit worried that Angel is going to damage their favorite tree branch. The ends of the branches are the perfect height and length to scratch themselves on through their big, shaggy fleeces. Unfortunately those same branches are also the perfect height to serve as Angel’s favorite punching bag.

6

“I’m the littlest, I gotta fight extra hard to teach those GrumpyBigSheep who’s boss!”

I’m hoping this is just normal hormone fluctuation and it dies down a bit in a few days, like it (mostly) did for Mira. I’ve told her Angels are supposed to be all about things like “Fear not,” “I bring you glad tidings,” and “Peace on earth goodwill to sheep,” but right now she seems set on being a warrior Angel of the “flaming sword” variety.

I suppose it’s a good thing she’s confident and assertive, though. She is an exceptionally small little lamb with no mother out in the field to stop the bigger ewes from bullying her. If she decides she wants to be flock queen when she grows up, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as nobody gets injured in the conquest.

Lady’s more interested in making more lambs than in actually leading the flock at the moment, anyway.

4

“No ewe can resist my flirty face!”

“Oh Duke, you’re so handsome, if only ShepherdPerson would stop closing all the gates!”

She and Duke may think July lambs sound like a good idea, but I’m not convinced. They’re doing very extensive research on whether lambs might be made through the fence, but so far they haven’t managed it, thank goodness. If they figured that out, the world would soon be overrun with tiny, hyperactive sheep!

If the weather insists on being gloomy and unpleasant, at least the sheep are keeping me from being bored.

Heritability

One of the most fun things about animal breeding is watching how the little ones look and act like their parents. “Heritability” is the statistical estimate of how much of the variation in a population for a given trait is due to genetic variation, and how much is due to environmental factors, nutrition levels, learned behavior, etc.

A more heritable trait is more determined by genetics, a less heritable trait is more influenced by environment. Behavior and temperament are difficult traits to quantify for heritability, not least because offspring raised by their biological parents will both inherit and learn their behavior patterns from the same source, doubling up the parental influence.

In humans this is called the “nature vs nurture” debate, and psychologists get very hot under the collar about it. In animals, there usually isn’t much attention paid to inheritance of behavior and temperament except in companion or working animals, where temperament is obviously important, and sometimes in captive breeding programs of exotics, where loss of learned behaviors might prevent captive-bred offspring from being reintroduced to the wild.

The behavior of my swaggering little ram lambs seems to be very highly heritable indeed, but anything they didn’t inherit they quickly pick up from Duke. It’s very funny watching them follow him around and imitate him, while he keeps a watchful eye on them and shows them the ropes.

1

“These are my two junior apprentices! I am very proud of them!”

Drake and Griffin have been sticking particularly close to Duke. I was worried he would know they weren’t his sons, but apparently he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care, he’s adopted them regardless.

22

“And these are my senior apprentices! I did an excellent job training them, I’m very proud of them, too!”

The Dukelings have started their spring growth spurt already. Every day I go out it seems like they’re a tiny bit bigger. They have another year to grow; they’re turning two this year. By the time they’re three years old next year they should be as big as they’ll get.

Duke and his Dukelings are pretty straightforward, but over in the ewe pen there’s something a bit stranger going on.

4

“Die, you stick!”

The last few days, Angel has declared a blood feud with the biggest stick of them all, the fallen branch that smashed part of the fence last year. When I check on the sheep from the window I’ve seen her enthusiastically bouncing around attacking it. The Shetland girls like to use that branch as a scratching post, which is why the bark is worn away in places, but no one else in the flock fights sticks except Angel’s biological mother, Mira.

I can’t think of any possible reason why the obsession with sticks would be genetic, but Mira didn’t raise Angel, so I also don’t see how it could be learned.

Maybe they both independently learned it from Watcher, but neither of them were ever outside with him very much, so I don’t think it’s very likely.

Maybe Angel picked it up from watching Mira, but it seems odd she’d be the only one to ever pick it up, given how many other lambs have seen Mira playing with sticks and ignored it.

Or maybe they’re doing it on purpose to mess with my mind, but that makes me sound really paranoid. Is it paranoia if they’re really out to get you?

5

“I don’t care why they do it, as long as it means they’re distracted from eating and I get more hay!”

That seems like a good attitude, if slightly greedy. At least if Angel’s attacking sticks she’s leaving my feet alone. And I suppose trying to beat up sticks is better than trying to beat up other sheep all the time.

I’m still curious about why, though. Sometimes I wish they could speak English, so I could ask. Then I imagine having to listen to all 22 of them complaining out loud in words, and I decide I can live with my curiosity; they can communicate quite clearly enough the way they are.

Breathing Room

The snow melted a few days ago, much to everyone’s relief. Once again, we survived without anyone starving to death from the lack of grass. Everything is still dead and gloomy and muddy and unrelentingly brown, but that won’t change for another few months.

1

“I’m starving! I need crunchies!”

Angel always needs crunchies. She has to grow big so she can beat up her flockmates better. They don’t take her very seriously so far.

2

“I need crunchies, too!”

Holly also desperately needs crunchies. Usually she and her mother are joined at the hip, but Lady was in heat and too busy flirting with Duke to pay attention to Holly, so she was on her own except for her big brother, Neo.

3

“That’s ok, Little Sister can hang out with me while Mama’s busy.”

Neo is a good big brother. His head is much better now, just some puckered skin on his head and a pretty visible scar since the hair hasn’t grown back yet.

4

“Eat all the hay!”

Holly and Neo were determined to eat all of the hay faster than Bran and Johnny on the other side of the fence. The fence is getting wobbly there from so many sheep climbing on it.

5

“I found my stick!”

Mira is very happy that her sticks have emerged from the ice. She had to run around and check on every one of her collection, and glare at me ferociously if I walked too close to any of them. Which I always do, since she keeps leaving them in front of all the gates. I think she needs a toybox to keep her toys in.

6

“Crunchies?”

The little boys were somewhat at loose ends, since Duke was too busy flirting with Lady to pay attention to them, and the crossbreds were monopolizing the shared hay rack. They came up to mill around uncertainly by the fence hoping I’d give them crunchies, which I did, of course.

8

“Ah, elbow room!”

Everyone except Ash, who seemed to enjoy having the round bale to himself without all those brothers and cousins to compete with.

7

“Don’t touch my sticks!”

I had to walk past Mira’s stick again on the way out, giving her one more chance to glare at me. She left it briefly to chase me down and demand some crunchies as I was leaving, but she was happily scooting it around again by the time I got back to the house.

I’m glad to have a few days of warm(er) weather, but I think I’m ready for it to be spring. The pastures are starting to look pretty rough, and I need some color outside besides straw-yellow, mud-brown, and patches of snow-slush-white.

First Snow

Angel saw snow for the first time this morning. She was shocked and dismayed.

1

“What is this stuff?”

2

“It’s cold! And it keeps trying to eat my feet!”

3

“Wait for me! I want back in the barn!”

I think Angel had the right idea, my first instinct on seeing snow is always to go back to bed and see if it’s gone when I wake up again. Unfortunately I can’t just go back to bed when there are hungry sheep to feed.

Mira was highly displeased with the snow, because all of her sticks are stuck to the ground or buried or both.

35

“Why won’t my stick move?”

4

“Come on, stick! You’re supposed to move when I drag you around and stomp on you!”

5

“My stick is stuck. What do I do now?”

Eventually she gave up on freeing her frozen sticks and joined the melee at the hay feeders. Everyone was mobbing the feeders in a panic because there’s two inches of snow and therefore there will never be any more grass ever and they’re all going to starve. Every year they have this mass hysteria over the grass being buried, and nobody’s starved to death yet.

6

“We have to eat it all as fast as possible anyway, just in case! This year, there might not be any more food ever! We might starve!”

Usually the whole flock follows me to the gate wanting in the yard. Today, they sensibly realized there wouldn’t be any grass out there either and stuck by the hay feeders. Only Mira, Nova, and Nina (and of course Angel) followed me to the gate hoping for crunchies, but they were visibly worried that all of the hay would be gone by the time they got back, and kept looking back nervously.

7

“Hurry up and give us the crunchies so we can go back! They’re eating all the food, and there might not be any more ever!”

I was in a bit of a hurry myself to get back in the house where it’s warm, so I quickly tossed them a few crunchies and we parted ways, sprinting back to our respective breakfasts.

Last time I looked, Angel was still hopping up and down, looking at her footprints and tentatively eating the snow. She has her own little hay rack all to herself in her own little private stall in the barn, so maybe she’s not as worried about starving as the others. I’m glad at least somebody’s enjoying the snow.

Hanging in There

We’ve had two days of soggy-but-warmish weather, but the weather service says we’re going back to frozen arctic wasteland tonight, which I’m not looking forward to. I could happily skip the rest of January and February, and maybe the first half of March, just to be safe. I’m tired of everything being dreary, dead, and dark.

The little boys are getting along fine with the big(ger) boys, though they still occasionally start whining for their mothers. I keep quoting the Old Stag from Bambi (the novel, not the Disney movie) at them, “What are you crying about? Your mother has no time for you now, can’t you stay by yourself? Shame on you!”

Duke is a much nicer father than the Old Stag, fortunately for them. He dotes on all his babies, as long as they remember that he’s boss.

a

“Crunchiiiies!”

The only downside to having a million kids is that all those young whippersnappers are a lot faster about jumping up and sprinting to the fence in the morning than Duke is nowadays. He’s not what I would call old yet, but neither is he an adolescent with boundless energy like most of his boys. Waking up involves a little more stretching and head-shaking before he can properly get going and chase the youngsters away from the fence.

Duke’s ego aside, it’s nice having most of the youngsters in one place where they can all take their energy out on each other.

b

“Look what you did to my wool!”

Poor Angel now has no one her own age to play with, but that’s ok. Griffin was too big to spar with her safely, and Drake just wanted to flirt. Angel does not understand flirting yet, she’s still a baby. Right now she’s mainly concerned with “helping” me fill the hay feeders by climbing all over the bale, bouncing around underfoot and tripping me, and getting herself covered in dropped hay. She’s also trying to master Duchess’s double-jump trick of using a horizontal surface (a hay bale, a wall, my leg…) as a springboard so she can jump higher.

Neo isn’t up to any advanced acrobatics yet, but he looks much better now that he’s starting to heal up and has been rained on a few times to rinse him off. Especially if you stand far away and squint.

c

“I’m fine, except for my head, which hurts and has a dent in it.”

Mira, in the background, is reserving judgement on Neo’s appearance in favor of killing that particular stick for at least the twelfth time. She’ll kill any stick she comes across, but she has three or four that are her favorites. She always leaves them in particular places, checks on them every morning, and heaven help me if I try to move them out of the way.

d

“Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, I’m not speaking to you!”

I’m in the doghouse with Lana for taking her boyfriend away, but she’ll be fine until Neo’s head heals up and we get a butting board in the barn to deal with the “bashing holes in walls” issue.

Sadly, that project is several items below “survive frozen arctic wasteland” on my priority list, so it may be a while.

Voted Off the Island

Will and Griffin very nearly succeeded in assassinating Neo Friday afternoon, so they have been booted from the ewe flock. Drake and Liam got moved out, too, Drake because he’s Griffin’s best friend and I didn’t want to split them up, and Liam because he has been known to butt Neo in a friendly sort of way, and I was pretty sure at that point even a friendly knock to the head might have been enough to finish poor Neo off. So now Neo is the only wether left in with the girls.

It may have been a slight overreaction, but when I go out and find Neo with the whole left side of his face and shoulder covered in a horrifying amount of blood and a bit of his skull peeking out near the base of his horn, I believe I’m entitled to panic and overreact. And of course this had to happen Friday afternoon, because emergencies always happen right after the vet closes for the weekend.

I spent a sleepless night worrying about skull fractures and brain damage and blood loss and frostbite and infection and every other possible complication that might happen, but by the next day he was walking straight, if gingerly, and seemed lucid and it had pretty much stopped bleeding, so I think he’ll be ok. His stall in the barn looks like an abattoir where he got blood all over the walls and it froze, but as long as he’s ok I can deal with the walls.

The boys seem to be doing ok over in the ram flock. I was worried that the Dukelings would beat up Drake and Griffin, but they decided to harass Liam instead. I should have known they’d pick the biggest opponent to take on. By the time they got bored with bouncing off of Liam’s protective padding, Duke had already adopted Drake and Griffin, so now they’re honorary Dukelings, too.

It’s sweet that Duke is such a good father, especially given how panicked he was at first when I made him babysit the newly-weaned Dukelings, but his army of kids, grandkids, and adopted kids is starting to add up to a small army.

1

“Look at all these fine boys I have!”

Apparently I’m not the only one who finds the size of Duke’s brood concerning, because the three Shetland boys are staying far, far away. Bran used to always hang out with the Shetlands, but I guess he took a look at the numbers and wisely decided it was time to claim his Soay ancestry, so now he’s tagging along after Duke, too. He’s been a friend of Will’s since they were babies, so maybe that was also a factor.

The two little boys are having a great deal of fun playing with the Dukelings and following Duke around like big, important grown-ups, but every now and then they remember their mothers and start fussing about being weaned.

Tellingly, neither Nova nor Duchess has so much as glanced their way. I think they were very tired of keeping track of those two hooligans.

2

“Lambs? What lambs? Did we have lambs?”

That blur in the lower corner is Angel’s head. I kept pointing the camera at not-her, which was obviously a mistake, so she was trying to correct it for me. Mostly she kept making my pictures blur by jarring my arm.

3

“You missed one of the lambs, Mom, you forgot to kick Angel out! She’s annoying, too!”

Poor Mira. Every time I try to give Mira crunchies lately, Angel runs under my hand and butts it from below, so I end up smacking Mira in the face and dropping all the crunchies. Win-win, as far as Angel’s concerned, but it’s making Mira very grumpy. She’s been refusing to sleep in the same stall as the ram lambs for weeks now, and she seems relieved not to have to deal with their baby-flirting anymore, but I’m afraid she’s stuck with Angel.

Neo’s doing a lot better now, just keeping his bad side turned away from everyone and flinching if anything comes near his face. He lost a bit of skin and it looks like it’s going to be a gnarly-looking scar, unfortunately, but I (and more importantly, he) can live with that. And maybe it’ll heal up more cleanly than it looks like at the moment; it already looks much better than it did at first.

4

“Leave me alone, I have the awfullest headache…”

In the meantime, I think I’ll only be posting pictures of his right profile. Sheep are incredibly tough animals, hopefully he’ll heal up quickly.

Little Flying Sheep

I think Angel must have been worried that Nina was outshining the Soays (or as my vet calls them, “those little flying sheep”) in the bouncing department, because this morning I don’t think all four hooves were on the ground for more than a few seconds all the way from the barn to the yard. Either she was in midair or she was climbing on me wanting treats.

a

“Wheeee!”

b

“Wheeee!”

c

“Did you see how high I can jump? I’m hungry now, give me crunchies!”

It takes a lot of energy to be a flying sheep, Angel says. She needs lots of crunchies for fuel. That seems reasonable to me, with this cold snap it’s taking a lot of strong tea to keep this ShepherdPerson up and running.

And somehow she always ends up getting a lot of crunchies, whether there’s a plausible reason or not. I think it’s either her adorable pleading face, or her clever little pocket-picking nose, or possibly her sharp, insistently pawing little hooves. Whatever it is, she definitely inherited it from Mira. I can never say no to her, either.

Cold Noses, Warm Hearts

I have taken virtually no pictures lately, because the temperature outside has been in the single digits and I can’t linger long enough to take many pictures without risking damage to my fingers and toes, let alone take the time to make sure I’ve gotten good pictures. I hate winter. Even the sheep are losing their enthusiasm, although I think that has more to do with lack of grass and leaves than the temperature.

I think birds have the right idea, migrating to follow decent weather instead of living in one place alternating between too hot and too cold. Hibernation also seems like a sensible strategy.

I’m definitely in favor of hibernating or migrating until things warm up a little. Sadly, none of my animals belong to migratory or hibernating species, and so I am outvoted 24 to 1 by all the animals. Or possibly 23 to 2; I think Echo might be on my side about the hibernation idea. Still, I’m a long way from getting a majority vote.

I spend as little time outside as I can manage when it’s this cold, but it’s still long enough to have sheep noses rooting through all my pockets.

1

“Crunchieees!”

And cold puppy noses in my face.

2

“Kisses!”

I guess there are a few things worth staying awake through winter for. I would miss having tiny sheep and overgrown puppies jumping up on me, clamoring for crunchies attention.

Nevertheless, I’m not going to be happy outside until either the temperature is above freezing again or I get a wool coat as thick as Nina’s. I am very envious of her puffy coat. And her energy.

3

“Wheee! Cold? What cold?” *Bounce, bounce, bounce*

In the meantime I’m staying inside with my fireplace and my hot tea and my knitting.

Happy (and hopefully frostbite-free!) New Year!

Lamb Shenanigans

I accidentally slept in a little bit this morning, so the sheep weren’t sleepy anymore by the time I went to let them out. The Dukelings all ran down to the fence to beg for crunchies.

1

“Give us crunchies! We’re cute!”

From left to right: Ash, Cedar, Apple, and Chestnut, with Johnny behind them keeping an eye out for Duke. They are terribly cute, those Dukelings. Almost makes me willing to forgive Nova and Duke for probably making more of them. Nova still hasn’t cycled, so it’s starting to look more likely that she’s pregnant, although I still can’t say for sure.

Of course Duke had to come running to make sure no one got any treats except him. He’s very indulgent with his Dukelings, but there are limits.

2

“Give ME the crunchies! I’m cute, too!”

I must admit, I do think he’s kind of cute. Although in my saner moments I suspect that might have more to do with sheepy mind control skills than actual fact.

Once I let the girls out, Holly went straight for the fence and stuck her head through it.

3

“All the grass on our side is dead! I must eat the identical, equally dead grass on the other side!”

All of Lady’s descendants tend to stick their heads in things at a higher than average rate, but Holly puts her head through the fence so often she’s worn a visible groove in the wool around her neck. Probably because she doesn’t have horns long enough to get caught in things, just tiny little nubs that never came through the skin.

4

“I must kill this stick!”

Mira had no time for grass, dead or otherwise. She was very determined to kill that stick. I’m not sure why she’s so fixated on sticks. She stomps on them with every indication of great annoyance, but if I make the slightest move in the direction of her stick she hovers over it protectively and glares at me. I made the mistake one time of tossing her stick over the fence, so now she’s paranoid.

I had to stop halfway to the gate and break up a fight between Drake and Angel that looked likely to break Angel’s head, or horns, or both. Griffin and Drake both received official warning this morning that they were in violation of the established annoyance limits, which state that any male sheep in the ewe pen must have an annoyance factor less than or equal to Will Scarlet, and if this was not corrected promptly they’d find themselves booted out into the ram pen.

Once I’d finished chewing the two hooligans out, I turned to find Will Scarlet himself, with his mama and sister, all giving me their best innocent/hungry expressions. They’re very good at that particular expression, which is probably why Will gets used as the benchmark for annoyance levels instead of getting kicked out with the boys himself.

5

“Aren’t you glad we’re such good sheep who never cause problems like those rotten little boys? I think we deserve crunchies for being so good!”

I think Mira was on her way to commandeer all the crunchies for herself, but there was another stick behind Holly, and she got distracted by the irresistible drive to kill it.

6

“Can I be your boyfriend, Holly?”

“No! Go away!”

Drake continued to make a great pest of himself all the way to the gate, flirting with ewes who aren’t in heat and picking fights with everyone, including his poor, longsuffering mama, Nova. I saw her butting him back pretty firmly though, so if even Nova has had enough of his shenanigans I think I could probably move him to the ram pen without feeling too guilty about it.

7

“Can I be your boyfriend, Mira?”

“No, I have no time for boyfriends! I am too busy killing this stick!”

I think that was the third, possibly the fourth stick of the morning. Kill the Stick has always been one of her favorite games, but she’s been particularly obsessed with it lately and I’m not sure why. I’m still not sure why she plays Kill the Stick in the first place, especially since I’ve never seen any of the other sheep play it. Sometimes I think she just likes keeping me confused.

8

“The sooner you move those boys out, the better! They’re distracting me from my sticks!”

Well, we can’t have that, can we? If only she’d devoted a fraction of that dedication to mothering Angel, we wouldn’t have had a second bottle baby. And maybe Angel would also beat up sticks, instead of always trying to beat up my feet.

9

“I think you should kick EVERYONE out except ME! And I should live in the yard! And sleep in the house! And eat all the crunchies!”

I think Angel did turn out a lot like Mira in many ways, even if she’s not exactly the same.

I think if Nova does have a lamb, it jolly well better be a ewe lamb. Four ewe lambs and twelve ram lambs born in four years is a terrible gender ratio, even if “only” ten of the twelve boys are still here. I thought it was just Duke, but BB’s lambs turned out the same.

The ewe lamb has always been the first one born though, so maybe if Nova is the only ewe to lamb, she’ll have a daughter and we can skip all the ram lambs that would have come after.