Today’s live sheep shearing on Facebook got me all nostalgic. Before the shearer arrived, I found myself flipping through the files in my big, brown metal filing cabinet searching for the folder where I tucked away all the information on our sheep. Inside I found the registration papers and receipts I’ve tucked away for the last several years. Mostly, I was digging around for birthdates. In my head I’ve known that Penny was getting pretty old for a sheep, but I wanted to remember exactly how old. Nine years. The sweet girl–grandmother to some of the lambs on our farm–is starting her ninth year. You can see it in the sag of her hips and the softness of her eyes. She’s the one each morning who stays by my hip when we make the walk from the stalls in the barn out to the pasture. While everyone else runs ahead rebelliously to get a few mouthfuls of grass before we get to the field, she keeps her pace with mine. Always right beside. Quiet. Calm. She’s my sweet girl.
Flipping through those papers and birth certificates and and sheep association memberships, I decided I needed to revisit how the lambs came to live with us. I’m so glad I took a moment to look back. Because some days it’s hard to see past much more than the morning chores and feed bills and middle-of-the-night worries. It was good for me to remember how long I patiently (and not so patiently) waited for my girls to have a small flock of sheep all their own. Just like me, when I was a little girl.
Here’s the story of how it all came to be.
There’s an old VHS video clip I have of my grandmother, walking out to her sheep in the pasture, “Hello, girls.” she calls to them in that voice I miss hearing. Immediately, they respond–a mix of warbled baa’s from lambs who have their lips pressed to the earth ripping out clumps of grass and others strong and clear who already noticed her coming. Deep throaty baa’s of mama ewes who know her voice so well.