…The Sheep Kicked the Bucket!
We raise a small flock of St. Croix sheep. They’re hair sheep, which means they don’t grow wool and aren’t used for fiber. Some farmers use them for milk, but mostly they’re bred to fill the freezer. There are a lot of advantages to St. Croix as a breed. They’re docile, heat tolerant, and very parasite resistant. This resistance is great, because parasites are a huge concern with sheep. However, they…are…sheep. Which means they have the herd mentality, poor critical thinking, and short-bus IQ’s that come with intrinsic sheepiness.
Today’s story begins with a question. What do you get when you mix five reasonably intelligent people, one less than intelligent sheep, and a blue feed bucket? The answer: Pandemonium!
You’re all familiar with my family and with buckets, so let me introduce our star: This is number 29. She is a TWIT. Do you know what twit means? It means Totally Without Intelligent Thought! In the sheep world, number 29 is Dory from Finding Nemo. She’s always keen for adventure, but not quite bright enough to do normal sheep things. I threaten her with freezer camp weekly, but we’re hoping to get lambs from her this year. She’d better be a good Mama or she’ll end up in mutton stew.
True Story: The day we brought our original flock home, they were nervous and huddled together. We managed to herd them into their new pasture. All EXCEPT number 29. She took a last minute sharp left and ran into the horse pasture. There, she proceeded to panic and nearly run herself to death! She zoomed around like a squirrel on meth trying to escape us and the big butt-biting palomino. As she ran, she screamed like the shower scene from Psycho for the rest of the flock. You know, the flock from which she’d just run away? She continued to scream, as she ran circles around the palomino. Finbarr, the horse, chomped her bum each time she looped past.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled silliness: Number 29 was sneaking grain from a blue bucket. Being 29, and not very bright, she thought kicking the bucket might make more grain appear. She kicked, and the handle flipped up neatly wedging itself behind her rock solid (yet empty) skull. This caused the bucket to stick firmly over her head forming a muzzle, blinders, and a perfect echo chamber for her tortured (and torturing) wails!
I’ll admit to doubling over with laughter before calling for back up. Grace came running. After she finished getting her breath back (from laughing), we tried to catch the sheep. About five minutes of reverberating sheep screams, let the guys know we needed more manpower. The thing is, you can’t herd or haze a sheep wearing bucket-blinders. They just run. So, she ran…into people, into fence posts, into other sheep, into the water tub…she. just. ran. The only direction she didn’t run was out of steam. The rest of us began to loose our momentum (and good humor) about the time she wallowed like a beached whale in the water tub.
Picture if you will a sheep wrong-side-up in a water tub. She looked like a black-shelled turtle stranded on its back. All four cloven hoofs flailed in opposite directions, and the royal blue bucket-hat magnified every scream and flop of her head. We tried to grab her, but Dory suddenly morphed into Neo from The Matrix! She arched her back and did an upside-down-twisting-jumping-gravity-defying thing. Seriously, tidal waves of sheepy water splashed across bystanders as she levitated from the foamy deep.
Suddenly, she was zooming again! My family stood dripping, panting, sweating, and occasionally still chuckling. Then, we had a realization that made us want to resign the sheep to freezer camp and gyro sandwiches: We still have to catch that spastic bundle of freak-out…and now it’s wet and smelly!
Ricocheting like a pinball, 29 showed no real signs of slowing. Occasionally, she’d pause, we’d hear the echoes of frantic panting, and she was off again. Finally, there was an amazing act of heroism! In spite of the smell, the sogginess, and the sheep poop everywhere, my brave and wonderful husband took a flying leap! It was an amazing mix of sports tactics. He side-checked, tackled, and put that crazy sheep in a half Nelson! The rest of us converged on them in a heartbeat. Sam fiddled off the offending bucket, Jonah grabbed random kicking feet, and Grace and I checked for post-fence-post trauma. The sheep came through uninjured and just as daft as ever. The family sustained two minor scrapes, two moderate bruises, assorted wounded egos, and five severely sprained funny bones! I’m telling you, the next time number 29 kicks the bucket, THERE WILL BE GYROS!
Does anyone else have loony livestock? Does anyone have a really great recipe for mentally unhinged mutton? If you have time, please leave a comment, commiseration, or mutton cooking tip! (No, Finn, you may NOT have the rump roast!) We’d love to hear from y’all!
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