Saturday, January 22, 2011


While hanging out with the sheep and Beau today, I was reminded of the game "spoons" we used to play as kids. I Wonder if anyone still plays that game.

To play the game you find all the playing card in the house (parts of many decks). Then you find a bunch of people and collect some spoons (one fewer than the number of people playing). Everyone starts out with 4 cards and the object is to end up with all your cards being the same. One person starts with the deck and picks a card. He/she either keeps the card and discards one from his/her hand or passes the card picked, along to the next person around the table. That player does the same and pretty soon the pace picks up as cards go round and round. When one player collects four of a kind, he/she holds those cards, continues to pass cards along, and tries to quietly take a spoon from the center of the table. Here is where the fun begins. When you see someone take a spoon you quietly do the same while continuing to pass cards. There is no winner- just one loser (the player that doesn't get a spoon).

It was always fun to see how engrossed everyone got in the game and see how long it took for players to realize a spoon was missing. Sometimes, everyone would notice the first spoon go and there would be a mad grab. Other times, one or two might notice and take a spoon but others would go a long while without noticing. Occasionally, all but one player would notice and take spoons and continue to play and finally the last player would look up and notice all the spoons were gone and feel like a fool.

So there we were- all over near the orchard. Beau decided to go check out the grass near the shop --but Beau doesn't like to play the game. Amelia wandered over to join Beau but none of the other sheep noticed. A short while later, Annie very quietly went too, but Mira and Charlotte noticed and ran to join the others. Mira and Charlotte were so obvious that Sarah saw them and followed. That left Hildegard, who was facing the other direction and very engrossed in a fresh patch of grass. When Hildegard finally looked up, she didn't know where everyone had gone because of the elevation change and her line of view. I was on the crest and the sheep were in dips on either side. Hildegard came up to me with a look of "where did they go" and then was able to see. But instead of running over to join the others, she walked slowly with an expression of "this is a stupid game- I don't want to play anymore".

Sheep generally have good flocking behavior, but they tend to spread out a bit if grass is sparse. With the terrain here on the farm, it is nice that Beau is so tall so he can keep an eye on everyone. If a sheep loses the others, and they aren't playing a game, they call out and get a response. When I want to get all the sheep back to the barnyard, all I have to do is get Sarah's attention and she will lead the others home. Beau sometimes hesitates. He knows he is not a sheep.

1 comment: