All sheep, all the time

I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, but it’s actually full of sheep, not rabbits.

In June, Emerson got two baby lambs, Chip and Pip. They were completely adorable and we all fell in love with them. All was right in the universe and nothing could possibly go wrong. Does it sound like a bad part is coming? Well, it is.

About a month ago, something (we suspect our neighbor’s dog) came onto our property and attacked the lambs. Both Chip and Pip were badly injured. Chip recovered from his injuries, but after a several weeks of taking Pip back and forth to the vet and staying up all night with him, sadly, he died.

Pip happened to die when Bill and Buck were out of town camping, which meant I was left with the grieving and what to do with the body. The vet said, “You can either take the body home or we can dispose of it for you.” I said, “What exactly does that mean — dispose of it?”  He said, “Well, the auction yard picks up all our dead animals and they take care of it.” (I wondered how just how many dead animals do they have a week?  Maybe I should’ve checked for some diplomas at this place.)

The auction yard is a horrible place where sick cows and horses are sold for dog food, so I decided to politely refuse their offer and bring Pip home and bury him myself. When August, Emerson and I got to the vet we were all crying and the doctor wanted to cheer us up, but didn’t know how so he said, “He’s all ready! I double bagged him for ya!” Seriously, not helpful. So I loaded a very live Chip into the back of my car with a very dead and double bagged Pip and we drove silently home. Then, because my gravedigger (Bill) wasn’t home, I spent several hours with a shovel digging a very large grave. It was true prairie living — I might as well have been wearing a housecoat and a kerchief around my head, singing hymns while clawing the Earth with my hands.  Dear Jesus!  Whys I so alone on dis here farm?

Riot_Ranch_Chip

This is how Chip eats hay

After we laid flowers on Pip’s grave and said a few words, we were left with a big question. What do we do with Chip?  Sheep hate to be alone, so Chip slept in Emerson’s room for a week until he completely encrusted it with sheep shit and sprayed it with urine. Finally, I found a companion for him.

Miss Fluff.

Riot_Ranch_Miss_Fluff_2

Chip loves Miss Fluff and the feeling is mutual. Miss Fluff, however, is terrified of people. I didn’t realize this at first and let Miss Fluff and Chip run around the whole property. When it was time to get them back in their enclosure, Miss Fluff wouldn’t come anywhere near me. I spent an hour trying to catch Miss Fluff.

Riot_Ranch_Miss_Fluff_Chip

Miss Fluff and Chip casually evading me.

An hour of my precious alone time.

By the end, I was covered in sweat and yelling at Miss Fluff.  “Do you realize what you’ve done?  You’ve taken away an hour of alone time from a homeschooling mom! Can you possible understand what a hour of alone time means to a homeschooling mom? It means everything! It’s life itself and you’ve taken it away from me!!! You better shape up right now! I can dig graves, you know!”

Riot_Ranch_Miss_Fluff

Miss Fluff, staring at me while I yell at her.

That evening, we had friends over for dinner and we innocently asked them to help us catch Miss Fluff.  They ran around in the dark forever, tripping and falling in holes trying to catch a strange sheep until they finally went home and vowed to never accept another dinner invitation from us again.

Emmy and I eventually got Miss Fluff and Chip back into their enclosure and that is where she will stay until she likes us. And we’re nice, really. I’m especially nice as long as you don’t take any alone time away from me.

The good news is Miss Fluff has started to trust us.  So far, she will sniff Emmy if Emmy is not looking directly at her.

Riot_Ranch_Em_Miss_Fluff

This is known in the farm world as sheep progress.

And that is my sheep history for today.

8 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    I live in fear that our ancient chihuahua mutts will croak while my husband is away and I will have to deal with sobbing children and (rapidly decaying!) dog corpses all on my own…I am filing away the “double bagging” tip for when the time comes. Thanks! …Ugh…

    • Holly Hester says:

      I hate to go into horrible detail here, but since I wanted Pip to be able to decompose faster, I had to take him out of the double bag and just put him directly into the grave. It seemed like sending him back to nature quickly was the best thing to do. It was AWFUL. I felt like fainting, really. Or barfing. Or running away. Hopefully, your dog will not die while your husband is away. I will make a wish that it doesn’t happen to you!

      • Lisa says:

        Oh! I THRIVE on horrible detail! I need to know the horrible details so that I can justify my insomnia! Related: When I was pregnant, and so, so sick the only thing that made me feel better was watching the “Discovery Channel” or something like that and hearing Bill Curtis’ voice give the play-by-play of horrible crimes. Bill Curtis’ voiced SOOTHED my nausea! Bill Curtis and peanut butter sandwiches were my lifeblood. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” never mentioned either of those things.

        • Holly Hester says:

          Wow. I’ve never heard of that as a pregnancy nausea cure! That’s amazing that you were able to heal yourself through gross things and peanut butter sandwiches. And I don’t think what to expect while you’re expecting really helps anyone ever. I actually never felt that sick when I was pregnant, which is why I was able to gain 60 pounds each pregnancy! Yay cereal and roast beef sandwiches!

  • Ginny says:

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for country life. Nope. Not at all. Thanks for helping me take that item off the bucket list. Good luck with Miss Fluff.

    • Holly Hester says:

      I think I’ve just realized I’m not cut out for country life — at least for the rest of my life. While the kids are young, sure. But I don’t want to be an old person dragging bales of hay around and getting trampled by goats.

  • Diane says:

    Such a great story! I laughed! I cried! And I want more!

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