Yes, it’s okay. The sheep are supposed to be in the vineyard. As you can probably see, the grapevines haven’t yet budded out, which is why they look so awful and scraggly. So we let the sheep in to graze down the grass, which will set it back considerably, thereby delaying the day when I must start mowing the vineyard. This is called sustainable agriculture—mowing with a munching sheep instead of a machine.
But let’s zoom in a little closer on the lead sheep.
This is Orange Tag #3, who was a bottle lamb, so she likes me. Notice the bulging sides. #3 is approximately 4/5 of the way through her pregnancy. This last month, those little fetuses are growing like crazy, and it’s really starting to show.
I sat down in the pasture the other day with #3 and tried a little girl talk.
“So, #3,” I said cheerfully, “you’re as big as a house.”
She made a rude noise.
I tried again. “Well, it’s just that you look like you’ve swallowed about five basket—”
She snorted, since I guess she’d heard that one before.
“So I’m guessing you don’t like the one about buns in the oven, ‘cause you have, like, a entire tray full.”
To describe her glare as withering doesn’t even begin to do it justice, so I made the universal ‘my lips are sealed’ motion.
We sat there for a number of minutes, not making eye contact, watching the grass grow.
Finally, I sighed. “I don’t know about you, but I’m finding this pregnant pause uncomfortable.”
#3 got to her feet with a groan,and walked away, probably reviewing all the ways she’d like to hurt me.
‘Tis a lonely life for a shepherd when her sheep have lost their sense of humor. We can only hope it will be restored when they give birth.
T minus twenty-three days and counting before the beginning of the 2007 lambing season.