Hip Hip Hooray! It's Cary's Birthday Today!
Okay, actually Donkey Doodle Dandy (who is doing just fine, for those of you who have been asking) said the same thing he always says, "Hee HAW! Hee HAW! HEE HAW!" (yes, donkeys really say that) but everyone knew what he meant. And yes, this photo was taken today, and he's still wearing that incredibly ratty blue halter. (Kat, please don't faint.)
Don't know who Cary is? Click here to read her story--or to read it again if it's been awhile.
Dan has adored Cary since the first time they met (well, most of the time anyway).
Because life on the farm is full of the unexpected, we tend to shy away from making extravagant plans for holidays and other special occasions. Instead we'll end up taking an afternoon off, or cooking up a special dinner, or opening a bottle of champagne (or all three) simply because, as Joe likes to put it, "It's Tuesday." Or it's snowing. Or there's a full moon. Or the first tomatoes are ready in the garden. You don't have to look hard around here to find a reason to celebrate.
And so, in that tradition, Cary's birthday has been a rather quiet one. I spent some time poring over baby pictures, smiling and sniffling as I relived the past year. And several times during the day I went outside and just stood with Cary while she ate. Okay, okay, I stole some hugs and kisses, too.
There may not have been a lot of fanfare, but everyone definitely ate well, because today was officially Sheep Freedom Day. We've been warming up for it all week, as the sheep were already spending each day in a large fenced pen across from the barn. As I type this, though, 90 woolly beasts are outside and on the loose.
And while I have no doubt whatsoever that little foodie Cary (aka She Of The Always Empty Four Stomachs) would have taken a breather from frantically munching on sweet spring grass to eat a cake if I had baked her one, I opted instead to sneak her a bag of one of her very favorite foods--popcorn. She didn't inhale it in two seconds like she used to off the hardwood living room floor, but that was only because today it got stuck in between the blades of grass, forcing her to nibble on them as well, and that took a little longer.
For the most part, Cary adapted very quickly to life with a two legged mother. When she was very small, though, I would call out to her and she would often look at me in confusion. You could tell that her baby sheep brain was sending her mixed messages: This smells and sounds like your mother, but she should really be a lot shorter and wider and woollier.
As Cary grew up, my fears about her not learning how to be a real sheep went completely unfounded, and she slowly adapted herself back into the flock. It is truly amazing to watch animal instincts at work.
If somebody looked at Cary for the first time today, they would never be able to tell that she once had a badly broken leg. And if that somebody wandered among the sheep with me while they were out grazing, they would never be able to tell that, for a while, one of those sheep spent every waking moment of her life with me--working in the garden, lounging on the daybed in the living room, curled up at my feet while I sat at the computer. But I know, and Cary knows.
She's all grown up now, but once in a while, when she turns her head just so, like she did this afternoon, I can still see the baby in my little girl.
Happy Birthday, baby. It's been a year I will never, ever forget. And it's been wonderful to have shared it with so many of you.
Click here if you'd like to revisit some of the many previously posted Cary photos.
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