The sheep have a very stable routine overall. The go out of the barn when it gets light, and they go in when it gets dark. Most of them have done this every day of their lives, so they know what they’re supposed to do and when and they’re (usually) pretty cooperative.
Every evening when they see me coming, Lady and Angel come to meet me at the first gate, Mira and Nova wait for me at the second gate, and everyone else lines up by the barn door waiting to be let in. Sometimes one extra sheep will come meet me, or sometimes the two queens will be lazy and wait at the second gate with Mira and Nova, but overall we perform the same ritual every morning and every night.
My own schedule is a bit less stable, since we humans are so smart we invented clocks instead of just following the sun. Sunrise and sunset aren’t always at the same time, so sometimes I have to shuffle around what gets done before the sheep and what gets done after.
As if that wasn’t enough, humans are so incredibly smart we decided that in addition to clocks, we needed to arbitrarily change what time the clocks say it is twice a year. Thanks to the time change, I have been rather abruptly forced to not only eat dinner an hour later than usual, but to delay even further because there is now not enough time to eat dinner between getting home from work and putting the sheep up. This has made me rather grumpy.
The other night I was grumping my hungry way out to the barn when I realized three facts in quick succession:
1: I had just opened a new bag of crunchies, so the cereal was clean,
2: I had just washed my hands after getting home, so my hands were clean, and
3: Despite being used primarily for bribing sheep, Chex cereal is actually manufactured for human consumption.
Delighted by these realizations, I popped a handful of cereal in my mouth. The whole flock immediately abandoned their orderly huddle by the barn and came flying at me, shocked and horrified that I was eating their crunchies! I had to wade through the mob up to the barn, holding the bag up in the air as they tried to jump up and grab it out of my hands, convinced that I would somehow consume an entire bag of Chex between the gate and the barn if I wasn’t stopped, leaving nothing for them.
On the negative side I got rather pummeled by many greedy little hooves, but on the positive side they all ran straight into their stalls without the usual dilly dally in the aisle trying to snatch some extra hay on their way to bed. Their confidence that I would still have crunchies whenever they decided to cooperate had been shaken! I am definitely going to have to remember the “Fine, then I’ll eat them all myself!” bluff for later use.
I did not get any pictures of any of this, because it was getting dark and it’s hard to take pictures while being mobbed, but it feels odd to make a post with no pictures so here’s one of the next morning when hay magically appeared in the feeders as usual and I went back to being just the waiter.
And a very cute Miss Miracle from last week, blissfully ignorant of the fact that her mother sometimes eats cereal herself instead of giving it all to her.
I feel vaguely like I got caught eating my kids’ Halloween candy, but I did get a good laugh out of it!