Sometimes I wonder why we have donkeys and sheep.
It’s not really for the wool. I got good wool sheep so I could do something with the wool when the sheep were shorn.
Before I met him, Jon had sheep that were mainly used for meat. Not that he raised them to bring to market. He had sheep so he could herd them and write about it.
I don’t know what he did with all that wool. He probably threw it in the garbage.
The donkeys guard the sheep. I know a woman who has sheep and has to put them in the barn every night to protect them from coyotes. But even if I didn’t have sheep, I’d still want Fanny and Lulu in my life.
When Jon got rid of all the animals (except the dogs and cats) at old Bedlam Farm years ago, we found ourselves living on an empty farm. Why have a farm if we don’t have animals or aren’t growing crops?
All those empty fields made the farm lonely.
So we got Fanny and Lulu back from the Vermont sheep farmer who took them. He gave me three Border Leicesters too. Tess, Suzy, and Socks. Good wool sheep.
When we moved we needed to buy another farm because we had donkeys and sheep.
Before meeting Jon I would have liked to have large animals, but I didn’t want to be tied down. Anyway, I never lived in any one place long enough to keep them. I never wanted to live in any one place for too long.
Maybe this is what’s known as “settling down”. Which makes me wonder if it’s my relationship with Jon or the animals that made me want to stay in one place. Although it was not until we moved to the farm we live on now that I felt I could stay here for the rest of my life.
This is something I never felt before.
I do love having sheep and donkeys. It’s a joy to take care of them. To look out the window and see them grazing. To get to know them as individuals. To learn from them about the differences between animals and humans. To sell the sheep’s wool and see what people make from it.
But it feels like it’s more than that too. Some deeper connection that I don’t have words for.
Sometimes I think it’s because, for most of human history, people were around animals in one way or another. Or it could be something darker, having to do with my childhood or being childless.
But I’ve never wanted children and I’ve always wanted animals.
So maybe I’ll just be grateful for what I have and every once in a while wonder about it.