We had A Plan.
(Hey! Who said "Never learn..."? Oh. All of you. Well. Okay, then.)
Somewhere in the next month or so, we were going to move the ewes (Goldie, Onyx, Abigail, and Tiny) up to the boys' pen, so we'd have lambs next spring. And, you know, just for a change, we'd know who the Daddy was.
We forgot to share the details of The Plan with the sheep, however.
Yesterday afternoon, we heard the ewes and lambs start a huge blatting ruckus out front. It was too early for supper (not that that would make much of a difference, actually. In their world, it's always time for supper. Or breakfast. Or both.), but this didn't sound like the usual feed-me chorus, anyway. We ran for the windows to see what was up. Madman saw it first.
"Oh, ****. They're out." And he ran for the door. I didn't even bother to keep looking to see who was out; I just ran for my boots and followed him outside.
The boys were out. They were checking out the girls through the fence. Not good. We've had a few adventures with the boys being out, over the past summer. (Once they went half a mile up the road to visit the neighbors. Took us most of the afternoon to catch them and bring them home...)
Madman made a grab for them a couple of times, but they weren't going to let him catch them, and took off running.
He headed them off from going down the driveway, and sent them around the girls' pen, following close behind. I went the other way around to cut them off, so we could herd them back up the hill toward their pen. But, instead of running away from me, they came right up to me and let me grab them both.
"Oh, sure." Madman snorted.
"Want one?" I asked.
"I'll take the one with handles," he said, and grabbed Orion. Merlin then broke away from me and headed on around the pen. (And what I was thinking when I grabbed them both to begin with, I'll never know. Either one of them could drag me away, and both of them together could probably launch me...)
The Tug of War of the Century had now commenced. While Madman and Orion are evenly matched for stubborn, Madman has the weight advantage and can usually carry the day.
However, Orion has a lower center of gravity and four legs to brace with, and he had clearly decided that he was Not. Going. Back. To. My. Pen.
There wasn't much I could do to help. What with all the flailing elbows and horns, I didn't want to get anywhere near them.
"He's not gonna move. What do you think about just putting them in with the girls?"
"Well, it's October," I said. I counted off the months on my fingers. "November, December, January, February, March. I've got no problem with lambs in March."
Orion, who was tiring a bit at this point, but not nearly enough to make it possible to drag him all the way back up to his pen, was a little less resistant when he saw me opening the gate to the girls' pen. The phrase 'rocket-powered' comes to mind.
Once inside, he was the happiest ram on earth. Girls to the right of him! Girls to the left of him! Girls, girls, girls! Everywhere girls!
It's fall, you see. Mating season. Getting into the girls' pen was the whole reason he'd gotten out of his pen.
Merlin still needed to be rounded up, and he led Madman a merry chase. He couldn't find his bosom buddy Orion, and didn't know what to do or where to run. (He's easily confused, our Merlin. Not the sharpest thumbtack on the bulletin board, if you know what I mean.)
Finally, though, we persuaded him to join the rest of the gang, and everyone settled in for supper. Though Orion kept getting distracted from the food, because Girls!!
Our next step will to be to pull the lambs out and put them in the erstwhile boys' pen (after figuring out how the boys escaped and fixing it, of course.)
But that's A Plan for another day...