Thursday, November 30, 2006
A fond farewell to Ragweed
Yesterday we all gathered to bid a fond farewell to Mr. Ragweed [the brown ram on the right]. Ragweed will be living about 10 miles from here with a very nice young shepherdess and her young flock. It always helps when the buyer shows up and you like them. I had gathered the young rams in the morning, and explained to them for about the 10th time that Ragweed would be leaving us to live with his new flock of girlie sheep. But they never listen. When the the time came to take Ragweed, he was very cooperative, until his feet made it outside the paddock gate, and he did a four-feet stop - "Wait a minute, missy, this doesn't seem right." Daisy, Ragweed's mother, was in a nearby pasture and bleeted to him- instant recognition of her son- and he recognized her bleet and returned a farewell. The donkeys stood by with that Eyore look - "Here we go again, we're losing another one - 'Be brave, young ram! See ya! Nice to have spent the first 7 months of your life together!"
You can say all you want about not putting human emotions on to animals or livestock, but when you separate them from their own, it's gut wrenching. We got almost to the transport van without much trouble, until he got near the car and he went down on his side. He'd had enough. "No thank you, I don't know these people, I'm not getting in that van...I'll just rest here while you people work it out". With that I let him rest calmly for awhile - first time I've ever had a sheep just lie down and rest - even a foot prod didn't budge him. We eventually just picked him up and put him in the van. His little face was pressed against the window as I stood and chatted with the new owners. "You'll do great Rag," I said through the van window, "You get to make babies now! "...."Babies? I am a baby," his facial expression said back to me.
One day you put two sheep in a pasture, 5 months later you get another sheep - that's the story of Ragweed. He's just a ram going off to make sheep of his own now, as it must, and should be. But as I walked to the barn last nite and witnessed the beauty of the ice and fog landscape, it was apparent Ragweed wasn't there. Each animal has a distinctive energy - felt when they are there, and recognized as gone when they leave. The nightly feeding of the donkeys made me glad to be me - have you ever fed hay to a donkey and then leaned down and put your arms around their belly to listen to their tummy rumble and heart beat? It's a nightly event here.