Jon thinks she’s getting dotty, but I think Izzy just has a mind of her own. Either that, or a stomach with a mind of its own.
Whatever the reason, Izzy is making a name for herself as The Lone Sheep, not something we see too often among sheep, whose name itself has come to mean “to follow blindly”.
Izzy has become a symbol for me of the individual, the one who looks inside herself and finds her own path, but also understands the importance of community. Even with her odd ways, Izzy is never rejected by the rest of the flock, but alway welcomed back.
Izzy is definitely a different kind of sheep. Actually in some ways, she defies the idea of the word “sheep” as “a follower.”
She’s not one to hang with the rest of the flock, just because it’s what the other sheep do, and is often out on her own, wandering the pastures.
This afternoon, when I opened the gate to the back pasture, the other sheep stayed in the pole barn, but Izzy followed me. Then, Fate and I followed her as she wandered the animal trail to the furthest fence.
Maybe she didn’t realize she was alone, or maybe she was just ready to come back, when about 15 minutes later, I heard her calling to the other sheep who had by then left the pole barn and were grazing.
After Ruth and Wayne’s Commitment Ceremony (I’ll post some pictures later) Jon and I went out into the back pasture and sat under the pine tree. That’s when I saw that Izzy was out there all by herself…
Socks is one of the first sheep I got. She came to the farm with Suzy and Tess (who died a few years ago). She’s a Border Leicester and twice a year she grows a good amount of dark gray wool. I usually mix her wool with the wool from my Romney, Izzy (The lone sheep).
When we bred the sheep five years ago, Socks gave birth to a boy who I named Pumpkin. Pumpkins father was a Cheviot (the same breed as my sheep Zelda) and because he was a white sheep, Pumpkin’s wool is a soft gray, lighter than Socks’. I mix his wool with my Romney, Biddy’s wool, which is also a light gray.
Pumpkin is a shy whether (a neutered ram) and he makes a very soft “baa” that makes it is easy to distinguish from the other sheep.
I was never around sheep until I met Jon and had my studio at Old Bedlam Farm. It was there that I saw the essence of sheep, and the meaning associated to their name, that they are followers, in action.
That’s why Izzy, our lone sheep, is so unusual. Mostly sheep behave just as they do in this video, following each other closely. I have no doubt that this is an instinct to keep them together and safer from predators. But to see it still at work, so consistently, when they’ve never really known any danger in this life, is still intriguing for me to watch.
For the past few days, Wayne, the male goose has been showing up alone in the pasture. Today he was hanging out with our sheep Izzy. Neither of the geese are bothered by the sheep or donkeys.
I’m assuming that Ruth, the female Canada Goose, of the couple that nests at the farm every year, is either sitting one her eggs or they have hatched and she with the chicks. I remember last year when I first saw the lone goose in the pasture and wondered what his story was, till I saw both geese and their chicks a week or so later.
So now I’ll just watch and wait for the chicks to appear….
Biddy is one of the sheep that we got from a neighbor, Donna, who rescued her and four other Romneys from a woman who couldn’t care for them anymore.
When Donna first told us about the sheep and their beautiful wool, we decided to take one of them. That was Izzy, (The Lone Sheep). But Izzy was such a good sheep, and I liked the idea of having some Romney wool (which is know to be lustrous and easy to spin) to sell, so we got the three other ewes that Donna had.
Donna also rescued a ram, but she didn’t want to give him away anymore than we wanted a ram on the farm.
Biddy was the friendliest of the Romneys and she’s distinctive because of the white markings on her nose. Her wool is a soft brownish/gray and I’ve mixed it with Suzy’s wool (Suzy is a Border Leicester) in the past.
The donkeys and sheep got used to each other quickly when we first got them. The Romney’s had been around horses and Fanny and Lulu have been around sheep since Jon got them about 15 years ago.
The only times the donkeys will sometimes get annoyed with the sheep is when food is involved. And then the donkeys just lower their heads or give the sheep a little nudge and the sheep get out of their way.
In the picture above the animals were all settling into the pole barn for the morning.