I kept putting it off all day. Finally, after washing the paintbrushes and folding the laundry I could procrastinate no more. Time to fit the sheep into their sheep suits.
I was dreading it because I had never done it before and I couldn’t imagine it being easy, not just putting the suits on the sheep, but there were also the adjustments that would probably need to me made. Rocky, from Rocky Sheep Suits in Colorado, told me how to do it over the phone (yes, not only does the owner answer the phone, but he’s really nice and really helpful). “If they’re too big,” he said, “just put a big old basting stitch up the back. Then, as their wool grows, you just let it out.” (I’ll be changing them about 3 times a year, getting bigger suits every 4 months as their wool grows).
I’m obviously not afraid of sewing, but I was still nervous about having to do this. First I have to get the suits on, then make measurements, take the suits off , sew them up and put them back on again, it all seemed so daunting. I wasn’t too worried about Tess, but I was sure Zelda would not be happy about it all. And how would I know if they were fitting right? Would the sheep still be able to run and be herded, would the suits fall off, or would the sheep take them off like the donkeys take off harnesses and fly masks?
Now, after it’s all done, it’s clear to me that my sheep suit fear was really just my old performance anxiety coming to visit. The sheep were great, Red kept them in place and they each let me pull the suit over their heads. Then Jon held their heads while I lifted their back legs into the straps. The first two suits I took to my studio to make the adjustments with that “big old basting stitch” then, after that, I just stitched them on their backs. The sheep just stood there huddled together while I sewed, not moving till I was done. Even Zelda went along with it all. Tess was the only one I didn’t get to fit, her suit was way too big. So I’ll exchange it for a smaller one.
When we were done, they all got treats then Red herded them into their pasture so they could eat their hay. (they have to eat separate from the donkeys, since the donkeys will eat all of their hay if they have the chance.)
So far, so good they were able to run with no problems and the last I saw they were grazing as if they were born in sheep suits. The only problem for me is that now when I look out my window and see my sheep, they’ll be wearing green and tan sheep suits instead of their beautiful wool. I know I’ll miss watching them graze without their jackets on.