The sheep all have round bellies from eating the spring grass. I let them graze three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Sometimes they’re already in the barnyard when I go to close the gates.
If not, it’s up to me to convince them to leave the fresh green grass. I still think of Red at these times. The sheep would just have to see him and they would run to the barn. I walk into the pasture with the confidence of experience. I hold out my arms, wiggle my fingers and say, “Let’s go sheep”.
They know why I’m there and what I want them to do. And for some reason, they mostly go along with it.
Yesterday as all the sheep ran through the gate into the barnyard, Lori hung back with Fanny and Lulu. Then as the donkeys walked through the gate, Lori made a quick turn and headed back to the pasture.
The rest of the sheep could have easily made a run through the gate while Lori and I dodged each other both wanting what the other didn’t. But they were already settling into the pole barn and sheep don’t like to be alone. So eventually Lori gave in and I closed the gate behind her.
This morning it was Bud who did the herding.
Usually, the sheep ignore him. They get the idea of the fence and know he’s on the other side of it. Lately, he and Merricat have been having nose-to-nose confrontations through the fence. Although Merricat seems more curious than intimidated by Bud’s barking.
But this morning, for some reason, when Bud came out of the back door barking all the sheep took off through the gate without looking back. Even Lulu and Fanny, who are usually reluctant to follow the sheep without the promise of a treat from me lowered their heads and kicked up their heels as they ran through the gate.
The only one who can’t move the sheep is Fate. But she always puts on a good show, chasing close behind them as they run back to the barn as if she has something to do with it.