… the sheep make themselves a door. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Ash has recovered from his ordeal, and he, Apple, and Drake have been released from
quarantine protective custody sheep jail and are back with the other boys. So far there hasn’t been a repeat of them beating poor Ash up, though Ash seems to have gotten used to the extra coddling and still comes over to make pitiful faces at me for extra treats. They seem to have moved on from fratricide and back to the Splendid Game of property damage, which I (grudgingly) prefer over them damaging each other.
The barn is equipped with two tiny ground-level windows on each side for extra light and ventilation, which the sheep love because looking through windows is a very Splendid Game. These little windows have wire fencing across them to stop sheep from getting out and predators from getting in and a door to close in case of heavy rain or snow.
Shortly after Ash and the others moved back in, the boys decided it would be fun to knock the wire out of one of their windows. I grumbled at them to stop breaking things, which the boys blithely ignored, and closed the door until we could put the wire back up, which they did not like at all.
Instead of just agreeing to all look out the other window, they somehow managed to work the latch free and pushed the door back open. They didn’t get out, presumably because all of their heads are too wide thanks to the horns, and I didn’t notice it was open the next morning because I’m so used to it being open all the time.
That night, when the girls were going through their nightly bedtime ritual (running into the barn, knocking over all of the brooms and shovels, running back out of the barn because the brooms
fell over attacked them, coming in again and inspecting all of the stalls trying to decide where they want to sleep, then finally settling down in the same stall they sleep in every night) Duchess discovered the open window and escaped through it into the boys’ field.
Then she immediately ran around to the actual barn door and started crying because she was In The Wrong Field and it was Scary and she couldn’t figure out how to get back. Daisy started crying because her mama was In The Wrong Field and it was Scary. Angel tried diving through the window after Duchess, and I only managed to head her off because she hesitated at the last minute, not sure her horns would fit. It was a whole thing. Sadly this is a regular pattern with Duchess. She’s clever enough to figure out how to escape, but she always panics once she’s out and forgets how to get back in.
“Aren’t you glad I didn’t inherit that sort of behavior?”
Duchess may not have raised Mira, but I remember when Mira was newly weaned and she broke out of the field and came back into the house through the dog door. That ability to figure out escape routes is definitely genetic.
I let Duchess back into the barn and closed the little door again, wedging the latch down tightly so they couldn’t jostle it back open. The boys, determined not to have their window blocked, fell back on the tried and true tactic of brute force and not only bashed the little door open, but also broke the baseboard and knocked the adjacent wall plank loose. I had to shove a cement paver in front of the door to keep it closed, since the latch was attached to that plank and therefore unusable.
The loose board was very exciting, even once the “real” window was blocked again. Soays adore peeking through peepholes, perhaps even more than windows. Given the choice between looking at something clearly or peeking at it with one eye through a peephole, they will choose the peephole every time. I’ve seen the boys come to blows over whose turn it is to peek through a crack like that loose board. (Although coming to blows is also one of their favorite things with or without a reason, so perhaps it’s just a chance to combine two of their most Splendid Games.)
To prevent further escalation of this particular game, we came to a compromise where we humans fixed the side of the barn and fastened the wire back across the window so it could stay open, and the boys stopped trying to knock the barn down. They have now moved on to crowding around trying to get the main barn gate open every time I go out there. They insist they need daytime access to the barn, even though it’s terribly hot and stuffy in the middle of the day this time of year. Their nice breezy hoop house and their big field of spring grass just isn’t good enough, they must get into the stuffy barn with it’s two lousy square bales of leftover hay.
“Maybe we can dig a tunnel under the gate!”
It’s a good thing they’re so cute.