I open the gate with one hand, the other is loaded down with hay. Fanny and Lulu flank me grabbing mouthfuls of hay as I close the gate behind me. They stay where they are, still chewing.
But the sheep surround me as I make my way to the feeders.
It’s like I’m wading through a sea of wool. Their soft bodies press up against my legs half way up my thighs. If I’m jostled on one side by Asher, I righted on the other by Issachar.
The sheep crowd even tighter when I get to the feeder and start pulling the leaf of hay apart, separating the stands so it fills the feeder and is easier for the sheep to eat. I could fall and never touch the ground, I could sit on their backs, my legs gently squeezed between their cushiony fleeces.
Once the feeder is full, they loosen their grip, spreading out on all sides, each finding their own spot.
That’s when I crouch between Socks and Biddy. I watch hay lift, float and settle on Suzy’s ear, on Constance’s neck. I listen to the rustle, crunch grind of hay being eaten.
And I feel the warmth of breath from their noses on my face.