The sheep are leaving today.
We’ve had sheep our entire time here on the farm. The first five arrived January, 2007, a couple weeks after we moved in. They were cast-offs. A fat, oldish flock of polypays with a ewe lamb, whom Meryem named Curly. They were lovely from the first day, when we moved them into our chicken coop. The empty barn was too cold for our tiny, expectant flock. We moved them to the barn before lambing.
In the time since we moved in, M’barek has never been around for an entire lambing season. He has caught a few sheep and thankfully, he was home the night last year when Curly delivered triplets, the middle one stillborn. I suppose I’d have gone all the way in as he did, had he not been sleeping in our bed that night, and pulled the tiny, cool baby from its entrapment. Anyway, the other two were saved that night.
I’ve been lucky to learn about sheep these few years. I suppose I’ll go and (Judas) kiss them all this morning before I disappear and they disappear.
We’ve sold a handful of hens, a buck named Napoleon and Telulah, a sweet Nubian-Boer doeling. And we’ve begun clearing the furniture from the house. But really, today it begins in earnest. It’s melodramatic and ridiculous, this whole thing, worrying about how betrayed my sheep will feel, and assuming they don’t know how much I love them. They know, to the extent that they need to. And, so no one understands. So what?
Friends living down the road are coming this morning with a cattle trailer. They will take the flock, minus Pokey, the sheep who somehow survived on little more than positive thinking and ignorance, who has secured a spot with family friends. They will take other stuff, too–beekeeping supplies, stock tanks, the things we scraped and scrambled and struggled to collect. They’ll make productive use of the materials, livestock, goodwill. And we will pack up our clothes and bicycles and mementos and make our next home in a desert metropolis.
It will be all right in time.
But for now, excuse me. I have sheep to kiss, apologies to make and just a few
sobs to stifle.