Monday, May 4, 2009

The Sheep Saga

I may or may not have calmed down a little. Maybe a little. Though I tend to show pictures of my sheep to everyone I encounter. "Wanna see my sheep pictures again?"

We had talked for years about getting Shetlands, always with that "someday" stuck in the sentence. Madman and I fell in love when we saw our first Shetlands at Vermont Sheep and Wool years ago, and have drooled over them at festivals ever since.
Then a couple of weeks ago there was an ad in the local Trading Post for a black Shetland ewe lamb for sale. Madman saw it, brought it to my attention, and we dithered together for a bit. Should we? Can we? Shall we?
We shall.
But when he called, the lady said she'd gotten attached to the lamb and decided not to sell her. (Tragedy! Disappointment! Devastation!) But maybe we'd be interested in a 4-yr-old black Shetland ewe? (Joy! Dancing! Ewephoria!)
Her name was Odetta.
The only problem was, we needed another sheep to keep Odetta company. Sheep are social creatures and don't thrive without companionship. They need to be part of a flock - even if the flock is small. Two is just a very small flock.

The nice lady gave us a few names and numbers for other Shetland breeders, Madman made some calls, and we found Goldie.

A few more phone calls, and we were all set up to pick up both sheep (at two different farms, luckily within miles of each other) on Sunday morning.

We had just bought two sheep over the phone. Forget all the advice about conformation, checking teeth - all that scientific stuff. We bought two sheep over the phone...

Sunday morning, bright and early, we spread a tarp in the back of the car (and we all saw how well that worked...), packed up ourselves and our friend M who was visiting for the weekend, and headed off to become shepherds.
Odetta joined us first. Madman and M rode in the front, and I was in the back seat, calming Odetta and making sure she didn't try to join the guys in the front seat. It wasn't her first time riding in a car, so she took it pretty calmly, especially considering the bumpy curvy roads we were driving on. (Rural Vermont in springtime. Bumpy curvy roads are a given any time of year, but springtime also gives us potholes and mudpits. Driver beware.)
When we got to the second farm, we not only got Goldie, but that nice lady gave us a bale of hay, too. Since we had decided that M would ride in the back with me, to help keep sheep in the sheep area, the bale of hay ended up in the front passenger seat. I kept a tight hold on Odetta while everyone else quickly stuffed Goldie in the back and closed the rear hatch.
Goldie, however, had never been in a vehicle before. She didn't know why she was in that weird pen, but she didn't like it much. She kept trying to turn around and face the other way. (Note to Subaru owners: The back of a Forrester is big enough for two Shetland sheep to turn around in, if both sheep agree that they want to turn around. If only one wants to turn around, it can be a tight squeeze, especially if some poor hapless human has her arm stuck back there because she was patting a sheep trying to keep it calm.)
Luckily, by the time we got to the interstate, both sheep had calmed down. They were looking out the windows with great interest as we headed for home.

Picture it: 3 humans, 2 sheep, and a bale of hay, packed into a Subaru.
We got some interesting reactions from folks passing us on the highway...
Odetta just mooned them.

Goldie's owner suggested we might want to change her name, since she doesn't respond to it anyway. But when we got her home, we discovered she has golden knees - (they're much brighter in person than in the picture) -

so we decided Goldie was just short for Gold-knee. And since she doesn't come when we call her anyway, it doesn't really matter what her name is...

We spent most of the afternoon just sitting and watching them. "Oh look! Odetta's eating grass!" "Oh, oh, oh, Goldie's drinking water!"
Good times.
Check out the fancy sun-shade we built:

Tarp with bungee cords. Nothing but the best...


Marlana said...

Congrats on getting the sheep! I would love to have some but I don't think they would like my little yard (the home owner's association probably wouldn't like the sheep, either).

Anna M said...

I think it's so cool that you got two Sheep. Hopefully someday I'll have your luck and get two Nigerians. Having a vehicle with a cargo area rocks when you get little animals *g*

Laurie said...

Very very cool! That was a ride for the ages. Now you get to watch your future fleeces grow.

amy said...

Aww, nice of you to make sure Odetta doesn't get lonely. Are the sheep getting along with each other?

Maia said...

hat a great post! Very funny. Congratulations to you, Madman, Odetta, and Gold-knees. I wish you many happy years together.