Faithful Protector—Or Bored Beyond Belief?
So here's what's been going on. Leopold, our strapping young ram, is in the middle of, well, his One And Only Job. And he doesn't like other boys around while he's, um, working. So last Monday morning seven little wethers moved away from their mothers and in with Donkey Doodle Dandy.
It sounded like such an easy, this-should-be-no-problem-we'll-be-done-before-you-know-it kind of task: simply transport a few cute little sheep from the barn to a large pen about 25 feet away. Yeah, right. One should never assume anything is going to be easy when livestock are involved.
The first lamb escaped right out of the barn and was not apprehended until that evening. The remaining six (who were by then absolutely terrified) were chased, grabbed at, yelled at, tackled, captured, harnessed, pushed, shoved, cajoled, dragged, and flat out carried over to Dan and their new home away from home. The only thing more embarrassing than admitting how long it took to do this little job is admitting how whupped the two of us were once it was finally completed.
Then there was my brilliant idea. We could put the older, wiser, one-year-old Teddy in with the frightened young wethers to make them feel more comfortable. Perfect! And not only did Joe think my plan was an excellent one, he actually validated the existence of my useless, sweet, orphaned, never going to be eaten because he truly believes that I am his mother, pet wether by giving him a purpose in life.
"We could do this every year. This could be Teddy's job, staying with the scared young wethers when we separate them out." Yes!
"Like a lambsitter?"
"Like Uncle Teddy!"
And so wise, unafraid, comforting (and much larger) Teddy was also dragged across the road to begin his important new job as Fearless Role Model.
Fast forward a few hours. Joe announces he is going to walk down and check on Dan and the boys. A long time passes. Too much time. Enough time that I assume there is obviously some sort of problem.
I walk outside and find Joe working on a project in the farmyard.
"Is everybody okay?"
"Yes, but you won't believe this. Teddy escaped!"
"Terrible Teddy! Right over the fence--he practically cleared it. I only found a tiny piece of wool stuck to it. I'm still in shock. What a disappointment."
"Do you think we should put him back in with the boys?"
"Why? So he can show them all how to escape?"
Anyway, it's been six days now, and everyone else has calmed down and is still where they're supposed to be. The devastated mothers have completely recovered from having their children torn from their sides, and Dan and his little charges appear to be getting along. Dan is a social creature, and he enjoys company of any kind. For the first few days either he was stuck to the boys like glue, or they were stuck to him (it was hard to tell), but now they're spending more and more time apart. Again, I'm not sure whose decision this was.
Dan Always Sounds Exactly The Same: Very, Very Loud
It is difficult to know just what Dan is thinking. He is unlike any other animal I have known. The first time he let loose with that amazingly energetic bray of his, I was afraid that the world was ending and/or that my darling new donkey was about to explode. I have recently been put in charge of locating a Getting To Know Your Donkey book. This should help a lot. I am sure somebody has published one, as there seem to be books written about taking care of practically anything. We own books on the care and feeding of creatures we do not even (and probably never will) possess: ducks, bees, roses. (Dreamy ambitions and reality are rarely one and the same on a farm.)
I'll let you know if I find a book and figure anything out. Until then, well, we can only hope that Donkey Doodle Dandy is getting a kick out of living here. I know I sure am.
© Copyright 2005 FarmgirlFare.com, the foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.