Business As Usual

I don’t post as frequently in late summer/early autumn as I do other times of year, because nothing much usually happens this time of year and I don’t want to sound repetitive. It’s a nice time of year, though. The craziness of breeding season hasn’t really set in yet, though there are small indications that it’s on its way. The girls aren’t pregnant or running themselves ragged after new lambs, just grazing and putting on weight, preparing for the next go-around. Circle of life and all that.

Echo continues to be torn between his desire to supervise me properly and his reluctance to get his feet wet in the dewy grass. Watcher has no such conflict, he winds around my legs and gets in my way as much as possible between the house and the gate.


“Couldn’t we wait until later in the day, when the grass is dry?”

We could, but the sheep wouldn’t be too happy.



Johnny’s on Dukeling Duty this morning; I’m sure that would lead to many destructive fun things if there was anything left in the field they could conceivably do more damage to.

Duke’s been so good with the babies, he deserves a morning off to hang out with his friend Barney.


“I think those lambs are good for Duke! They make him appreciate me more!”

Out of the barn, the Shetlands immediately move off across the field the same way they always do. After a great deal of deliberation, debate, and minor scuffling, the Soays head off the same way for once. They usually head the opposite direction, but I suppose they were in the mood for a change. It wouldn’t do to become predictable.


“We have independently decided to go this direction this morning. It has nothing to do with those fluffballs, we are most certainly not following them.”

It’s very important to Soays that everyone is constantly aware of their autonomy. Everything they do, it has to be their own idea. Or at least they have toΒ think it’s their own idea. If they want to do something, and then they discover I want them to do the very same thing, they will, more often than not, refuse to cooperate just on principle. Some evenings when they’re feeling particularly contrary, I have to stand outside the barn doors and conspicuously face the other way so they can rebelliously sneak in behind my back.

I don’t have any cats, but from the way I’ve always heard cat behavior described, I sometimes think my Soays might secretly be cats.

This morning, like most mornings, Mira independently decided to stick by me and investigate all of my pockets.


“There are crunchies in your pocket! This pocket, right here, the one I’m poking with my nose! I know it, I can smell them! Why are the crunchies still in your pocket and not in my belly?”

Of course the moment the crunchy treats leave my pocket the Soays will all come charging back across the field to mob me, so she just has to nag fuss whine wait (im)patiently until I’m finished taking pictures. It’s too hard to take pictures with everyone milling around and jumping on me.

Watcher walked me back to the house a bit more sedately than the outbound trip, having taken the edge off his energy in my absence by running back and forth yelling at the boys and being soundly ignored.

Echo had retreated to the upstairs porch, where he was high enough to still keep an eye on me while staying out of the wet grass.


“Can we go back inside now?”

I think Echo would be very happy to laze around the house all day eating and taking naps. He is a dog after my own heart.


11 thoughts on “Business As Usual

  1. It’s so funny how Ecjo doesn’t want to get her feet wet ~ silly pup! Will she bo out in the rain? So what has your spinning wheel been up to lately? Admittedly, mine has been waiting and waiting… but your’s must be spinning up some gorgeous fleece! Do tell…

    • He doesn’t go out in the rain unless forced. And then he is miserable and wet. πŸ™‚

      I’ve had so much going on this summer, I’ve been neglecting my wheel shamefully. I think I was in the middle of some pretty variegated purple merino I bought myself for my birthday.

  2. What happens with Echo in winter…that is Way more than wet grass! Yes, Soay Cats haha I do think some of these beasties have telepathic attributes. Nice photos, thank you.

  3. All of the Soays may be felines – except for Mira. Sticking to you constantly? Begging? Sounds rather canine to me. See if she will fetch (probably not, unless it’s crunchies you toss – and then she will merely eat them, although she might then return for More).

    Enjoy the heat and humidity. Soon it will be the Silly Season of “Romance.”

  4. Dear Sarah,

    Who ever thought I’d write, “sweet Duke”, but there he is, for the nonce a Good Daddy, and proud of it, too. A big, fat crunchy handful to him for it.

    The natural Soay/Shetland experiment continues, and continues to fascinate me. The Soays are so much wilder…but it isn’t “wilder”, really, it has something to do with their minds and temperaments. They’re individualistics in their relations with each other and with you, that or the pecking order is a lot more fluid, so that argument and scuffling is the order of every day. It tickles me that they’ll do the opposite of what you want, simply because you want it.

    Whereas the Shetlands seem to prefer routine and stability and making themselves ever fluffier. Do you think even one of them, Liam the Adorable, for example, has the full-blown personality of, say, Holly? We can’t include Mira: she’s Special in so many ways.

    Very best,


    • The Shetlands definitely have their own, full-blown personalities, Barney is a whole different animal from Liam, who’s different from Jeb, etc, but they have less energy overall, so their personalities aren’t always as obvious and in-your-face as the Soays.

      For example, Jeb is very timid, Barney is grumpy and a bit mean sometimes, Liam is friendly and sociable, but those traits aren’t obvious until something startles Jeb, or a lamb annoys Barney, or Liam notices his friends have wandered off. If there isn’t some outside stimulus, they direct most of their energy to, as you say, eating, sleeping, and making themselves fluffier, instead of playing Splendid Games with their smaller pasturemates. πŸ™‚

  5. Had to giggle at the picture of you turning your back so the Soays can get one over you by going where you actually wanted them to go. That does sound very cat-like! πŸ˜€ As I’ve point edout to my husband about our cat, if we have to move or medicate him or in some other way make him discommoded, it only means we’ve added to his quota for the day. He’s never truly happy unless he’s managed to be disgruntled a least five times a day. πŸ™‚

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