When all the sheep went back to Vermont with Daryl last week, I got my fourth Border Leicester. This is the one who jumped the fence twice, because she wanted to be with the flock she came to the farm with. So we let her stay with them until they all left, then put her with my three sheep. She called out for her old friends (maybe she had a lamb in the flock) for a few hours after they left, then she seemed to settle in with my sheep and the donkeys. Now it’s like they’ve always been together. I’ve named the new sheep Zelda, after Zelda Fitzgerald. She seems to have that independent, trouble making spirit about her.
It really didn’t take her long to adapt to her new flock, but I’ve learned from the animals again and again, that most things just take time. Whether it’s chickens getting used to their new home, or Simon healing and coming back to life, or Freida learning how to live on the farm with the other animals.
I think that’s how I’ll learn to take care of my sheep too. Slowly, learning what I need to know when it comes time. And next year, I’ll know so much more than I did this year, from what I did wrong and what I did right. I’m not one to sit down and read a how-to book cover to cover. I could never grasp all the information that way.
Right now, I’m learning how to get the sheep to come to me (with the help of Jon and Red and some grain or corn) and, in just the past couple of days, I’ve gotten all of them to eat out of my hand (it took Suzy the longest to get comfortable with me.) Next I’ll get them coats for the winter, to keep their wool clean when they start eating hay.
I don’t know if much happens between the winter and shearing, but I can already see how much having sheep is tied to the different seasons. It seems to me fall and winter are for growing wool. And next year,they’ll be for selling wool too.