Last week the boys got it into their heads they needed to beat up Ash, and they did such a good job of it the poor guy could hardly walk the next day. The vet checked him over and said it was just soreness, nothing broken, so he got a few days of pain medication and a solo vacation to the small front pen, temporarily converted to a quarantine field.
Once he was back to walking around almost-normally, I tossed his twin, Apple, and their younger half-brother Drake in with him to keep him company. I thought about putting Little John and Flynn in there too and making it a Nova’s Boys Club, but Johnny is very big and Flynn hasn’t been in the same field with his brothers for over a year, and I was worried they might fight. Ash doesn’t need any more bruises.
Between their involuntary exile and Ash’s hated shots of pain medicine none of the three of them are happy with me at all, so I thought while they were mad at me anyway I might as well cut the two years of felt off their backs. Ash behaved reasonably well, but Apple was his mother’s son and fought me the whole time, which made his haircut very choppy, even by my standards. By the time I finished shearing him he looked like he’d lost a fight with a weed whacker and we were both worn out and very grumpy with each other. Drake therefore escaped having his hair cut, for now at least. I did not have the energy or patience for round 3 of shearing.
After I’d had time to recover both my energy and my temper, I went back out to get pictures. Ash was camped out in the shade of the hoop house and didn’t want to get up.
“What do you want now? Haven’t I suffered enough getting beat up, without you stabbing me with needles and cutting off all my wool?”
Poor Ash. He’s having a hard time.
Apple, on the other hand, only thinks he’s having a hard time. He spent most of his first day in the little pen pacing up and down the fence wailing about the Unfairness of It All. I told him he was in sheep jail for all his many crimes, not least of which was helping to beat Ash up in the first place. He insists he’s a mistreated innocent, but he didn’t earn the sobriquet Apple Stop That by being a well-behaved little wether. Keeping his injured twin company for a few days isn’t going to kill him.
“I have done nothing wrong, ever, in my life! Everyone is being very mean to me for no reason at all! You are a terrible ShepherdPerson!”
Mira, in the background, was loudly protesting that I was on the other side of the fence paying attention to things-that-are-not-her. Apparently nobody is happy with me today.
I moved up by the gate to try and get the sun behind me, and Apple and Drake forgave me enough to come see if I had crunchies. I didn’t, so they went back to ignoring me in favor of the girls on the other side of the fence.
Nova leaves a very distinct “stamp” on her lambs, all five of them look very similar in the face. Drake is just smaller than the rest because he’s BB’s son, and Johnny is much bigger because he’s Liam’s. They are very handsome, though my poor attempts at barbering don’t show them to their best advantage. In my defense, Apple was trying very hard to break either my neck or his own when I was trying to shear him, so I blame the ragged spots on him.
Ash got up and followed us, though he hung back behind his brothers instead of coming close. Ash is not quite as friendly as the other two even under normal circumstances, so I wasn’t surprised. He’s also not feeling back to 100% yet, so he wasn’t as interested in potential crunchies.
“If I see even a hint of a needle, I’m gone.”
He’s also a very handsome boy, even with a tragic haircut. And he was much less violent about the whole ordeal, so he’s my favorite Dukeling at the moment. It’s possible he only behaved well because he’s still too sore to throw himself around like a sheep possessed, but whatever the reason I’m not complaining.
Mira followed me up to the gate to be sure I was aware of her continued disapproval. She says I’ve been hovering over Ash for days now and she’s tired of being ignored.
“Mommy! What are you doing Over There? You’re supposed to be Over Here giving me crunchies! You are paying way too much attention to those boys and not paying enough attention to me!”
Mira’s fleece is starting to loosen, which always makes her even more volatile than usual. She absolutely does not want my help in removing it though, she’d rather just be miserable and irritable about it.
Nova saw us all by the gate and came up to the fence to check for any interesting gossip. I suspect Apple was telling his mama all about how evil I am. She got a haircut this year too, so I’m sure she was willing to believe the worst of me.
“Mama, ShepherdPerson is being so mean to me for no reason at all! I’m stuck over here away from my flock and I got a bad haircut and it isn’t fair!”
“What did you do to my little boy, ShepherdPerson?”
Nova usually loses her obsessive protectiveness of her lambs at around six weeks old, but I’m sure she still knows which ones are hers. And Soays never need much encouragement to jump in when there’s potential for drama.
I got tired of being glared at from all sides, and since I’m unlikely to be forgiven until tonight when I come bearing treats I decided to leave them alone under the watchful eyes of Watcher.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got my eyes and ears on them! I’ll let you know if anyone makes a wrong move!”
Watcher’s definition of “wrong move” is very flexible, but it’s usually easy to tell when he’s barking in genuine distress and when he’s just being bossy. He may have been focused on something up by the driveway when I took his picture, but I don’t doubt he knew exactly what was going on behind him. He’s staying under the shade of
what remains of the lamb-cave tree now that the weather is warm and sunny. Black fur and hot sun don’t get along very well, but his post under the tree lets him keep an eye on the sheep and the road at the same time, so it’s a nice shady spot to watch from.
Liam should be next up to get a haircut on Monday. He and Jeb are the only two left that I expect to have good fleeces this year. Barney and the two crossbreds will come after that, though their fleeces are likely ruined, and then any of the particularly shaggy Soays who haven’t shed on their own. I’m running very late on shearing, but better late than never I suppose.
Now if only the boys would stop trying to murder each other, I would be a much happier ShepherdPerson.