Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Still cold, dreary, and snow cover everywhere. I decided today to let the sheep and Beau out to nibble any tiny patches of grass they could find. After digging out in front of the lower gate, I opened one side of the gate and called to Beau and the sheep to come on down. Beau hesitated but did come down and out and found a few nibbles along the driveway I hadn't noticed. The sheep on the other hand just looked at me and stayed where they were. I picked up a small handful of grass but still no dice.

On Valentines Day, four days ago, Lyndy was here and we walked to a neighbors house to go cross country skiing. As we started down the driveway all seven animals came down to the lower gate and wanted to go with us. They had to go through deep snow to get to the gate and it was funny to watch how each began the journey. It reminded me of being on the beach and watching different peoples' method of talking themselves into making their way into the icy water. Amelia hesitated the longest and Sarah and Annie were like the fearless young kids that run from their beach blankets high on the sand and never stop until they dive through the incoming waves. Unfortunately, I could not let them out then and they had to turn around and go back through the deep snow with nothing for their efforts.

Did they remember? Sheep are suppose to be dumb. What would it have taken to get them to come down today? I was thinking that they just didn't see anything worth the trip. I didn't have any food in my hand. But, just a few weeks ago they left hay in the barn and followed me across the pasture not seeing the small patches of green until we were upon them. So what was going through those little minds I wonder. They could see Beau was grazing on something -- was it not enough?, was the trek on Valentines Day more difficult than I realized? There were 6 sheep up there and if any one of them had made the decision to come down I am sure they all would have but one by one they all went from the main gate back to the barn.

I know if I had opened the main gate they would have rushed out but I don't want them to get used to going out that way because then it will be even harder for me to enter through that gate when they all come down to greet me. As it is Mira is still acting like a goat trying to climb the gate and the others crowd it trying to get out.

After 9 months of shepherding, my friends, I declare sheep are not dumb; in fact I believe they contemplate and I will continue my efforts to prove it to the world or at least my sceptical neighbors.


  1. Reminds me of a Boynton book I used to read to the girls, But Not The Hippopotamus. "...Now the hog and the frog hurry out for a jog, with the cat and the rats in their new running hat...while the moose and the bear and the goose and the hare are doing their best to keep up with the rest...But not the Hippopotamus. Then the animal pack comes scurrying back saying, Hey! Come join the lot of us! And she just doesn't know. Should she stay? Or should she go? But yes the Hippopotamus! But not the amadillo." I don't know why it reminded me of this, I guess just the "contemplation". I enjoyed your LONG blog, Susie. I would have loved to join you on your jaunt.

  2. A few times now you said something about sheep being dumb. I haven't seen evidence of that yet. Remember what that lady said a few days ago about how sheep run to where they get fed while goats trip you the whole way to the bowl. Maybe that's just saying goats are dumb though.
    Did you like the sheep shearing video?

  3. I don't believe that sheep are dumb. Maybe people think that because they are usually so calm and dignified.