The sheep would like to point out that snow is a four letter word. Sheep can’t actually spell, of course, but they can make it perfectly clear that they think snow is a Very Bad Thing. The thin layer of snow on the ground this morning didn’t last long, but it seems to have been enough to trigger the sheep to panic and start eating hay as fast as possible to make up for any grass they might not be able to reach through the mountains of snow they’re sure will fall the minute they’re not looking.
“Snow means starvation! Especially for us poor, cold, sheepies who got left outside all night! Look, we have frost on our wool!”
The boys unanimously and categorically refused to go to bed last night. Positively. Refused. I left the Clubhouse door open for them though, so if they have frost on their backs it’s not my fault. That’s what happens to naughty boys who insist on staying outside in horrible weather.
Princess says this is just the sort of day she might choose to have her lamb(s). I would be rather panicky about that, except that she’s been saying that every day since last Saturday, and she hasn’t lambed yet. Every day that she doesn’t lamb takes her a day closer to her due date and makes me just a bit less worried about having to deal with preemie lambs. She’s only a week from full term at this point so the lambs would probably be okay if she lambed now, but I’d still feel better if she could manage to wait a few more days.
With Princess kicking and staring at her belly, “talking” to the lamb(s), nest building, etc. in a suitably dramatic, Princess-y fashion, it’s easy to focus on her and forget to watch the other girls. “Keep an eye on the others,” I reminded myself Monday. “They’ll sneak off while you’re watching Princess and get themselves in trouble.”
Sure enough, Lady poked herself in the eye with a piece of hay Monday night, and spent the first half of Tuesday laying out in the field with her red, swollen eye squeezed tightly shut, not eating or ruminating or going about her normal sheepy business. She had me really worried, since that’s not normal behavior for her at all.
I almost called in to cancel my evening class so I could stay home with her, but by mid-afternoon Duchess got tired of her BFF laying around being boring and started pawing at Lady and driving her crazy. Lady was quite indignant that Duchess could be so insensitive to her suffering and jumped up to teach her a lesson. I wouldn’t have thought fighting would be a good cure for a sore eye, but after a good head-bonking session Lady perked up, and the two of them walked off side by side and started eating. Go figure.
This morning her eye is almost normal again, not swelled or red anymore, just a little bit watery. And it turns out if you spend a whole day watching a ewe and trying to coax her to eat, she will expect you to continue coaxing her to eat whether or not she actually needs coaxing.
“You dumped all the hay in the feeder! Aren’t you going to feed me by hand?”
Lady followed me everywhere this morning while I did the chores, practically stepping on the backs of my boots insisting that she really really needed to be fed specially.
“Are you sure there’s only water in that bucket? It’s not food for me?”
I was 95% sure her behavior yesterday was eye-related, but it was also very similar to the signs of early labor so I examined the area where she’d been laying, just to make sure she hadn’t aborted or anything. As I walked I could feel eyes on my back, so without turning around I slipped the camera down by my side, aimed backwards and took a picture blindly.
“Are you going to give me food out here?”
Now I know where Neo learned his skills as a P.E.S.T.
When I turned to go back to the Clubhouse, I saw that Duchess had followed me too, she’d just stayed farther back.
“Um… I want food too. If Lady’s getting any food, I should get food too. Over here on the ground though, not– not out of your hand or anything scary like that.”
Princess and Nova stayed inside gorging on hay because of the snow (that was already gone at this point) until they heard Duchess and Lady chewing crunchy treats. Then Princess came flying out of the Clubhouse as fast as she could waddle to insist that she needs all the crunchies since she’s going to lamb any minute now. Really. Could be any time.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she did lamb today, but since this is Princess we’re talking about I also wouldn’t be surprised if she carried on until a week past her due date, just to make sure she got her full measure of drama and attention out of this pregnancy.