We were down to about seven bales of hay when we got the call from some local friends. Our pasture was slowly rebounding from drought but not yet ready for the stampede of hooves or the voracious palates that accompanied them. Anxiety was ever-present, the nagging problem of how we were going to feed those thirteen ungulate mouths hung overhead like the diesel stench of a dump truck idling in front of you at a stoplight. “We have two acres of overgrowth in our back yard – we were trying to figure out how to mow it. Full of poison ivy. Would you be interested in putting your sheep back there?” The call from the friends was received in much the same way one would receive news of winning big. “YES!” we said, without a moment’s hesitation, and I imagine now that it would have been completely appropriate to have clicked our heels mid-air, in a leprechaun-style leap of glee. Were we slightly more nimble, we might have done just that.
So we packed them up and drove them down the road a piece and sent them to an All-You-Can-Eat Fat Camp. They didn’t even register our leaving as they began gorging themselves on greens the likes of which they hadn’t known for months. They’re there right now, feasting contentedly while simultaneously clearing out the overgrowth that had made the parcel impassable for our friends. The jury’s out though, on the poison ivy. There seems to be no reason why they can’t eat it but they choose to do so sparingly, clipping the random plants interspersed with the good stuff but ignoring the big patches of it. Goats, I hear, are great for clearing out poison ivy but we are blessedly short on goats.
The lines between old and new paddock really are that delineated. The sheep do good work.
There’s an eery quiet here now that’s taken some getting used to. We have no sheep here, have no sheep in our day save for the scheduled visits/paddock moving every two days. There’s no lack of attention for them, though. Our friends seem to be enjoying the company, letting them out to explore the yard proper or hanging with just Munson. I suspect it might be hardest to get him back home when the clearing-out is done – that guy makes fast friends with all he meets.
I miss my flock, though, ecstatic as I am that they are getting 3+ squares a day. Don’t we all come to appreciate our kids more when they’re gone away at camp?