Sunday, April 18, 2021

N is for Nighttime

Last spring, my teenage daughter decided that what we really needed was sheep. She is a force to be reckoned with, so we got two lambs from a farm up north. 

We do not live on a farm...we live in a neighborhood, and I was certain we were going to have a lot of angry neighbors. To my surprise, we only had one angry neighbor, but one angry neighbor is enough, and we'd had the sheep in our backyard for less than 48 hours before an animal control guy came to our house in a police uniform telling us the sheep had to be gone by the end of the day...Roger asked for some extra time and we got the weekend.

There are several farms nearby, and Roger's plan was to go to each of them asking if we could lease some space to keep our sheep. He found a great place pretty quickly, and we moved them there before the deadline. It is a great farm. The people who own it actually live in New Jersey and luckily happened to be there when Roger came by. They use it for haying and on the weekends. Their property overlooks a stretch of river that boasts the most eagles east of the Mississippi while the alewives are running. Their overlook is comfortably furnished with patio furniture, and you can watch the sunset. It's really an amazing spot, and we really enjoyed their company.

The sheep were pretty fun, and we got all sorts of experiences that were new to me, like fence-building, and fence-moving, because the sheep ate so much more than we expected. One day Roger went over to spend some time with the sheep. The farmers were gone, which was expected, but the sheep were too, which was not. They had made a hole in the fence and escaped, and so our whole family, plus my son's girlfriend, gathered at the farm and started searching. It was night, and it had rained during the day, so we were soon soaked, but it was a beautiful night. I remember one word going through my head over and over: tics, tics, tics, tics TICS. I KNEW we were all going to get lyme disease, and I thought it was pretty uncool that such an otherwise gorgeous night could be ruined by something so small (and by the sheep being lost of course). 

As we got closer to the steep hillside that overlooked the stream, I had other things to worry about---like tumbling like Wesley and Buttercup down to the bottom of the hill in the pitch darkness. But none of that happened, and no sheep were found. It was a discouraging night in a beautiful place.

Roger got up early the next morning and continued his hunt, and the sheep were eventually found across the street not far away, happily grazing, not even realizing what huge trouble they were in. We had them slaughtered and ate them in punishment for their escape. (I am kidding, but the plan had always been to raise them for meat, so we did. It was the first time I had eaten an animal I knew. It was hard, but a very good learning experience).

It turns out I am not a fan of eating lamb. I am, however, a fan of the idea that someday we might own some lakefront property and keep some sheep grazing outside. There is something unimaginably peaceful about the sight. 


  1. I was not ready for the turn that story took at the end! I hope your dream is realized one day.


    1. I edited it to make it a bit less shocking. My sense of humor is not usually that dark. :D

  2. Wow. I love lamb but I think it might have bothered me slightly to eat one that had been a pet.
    Janet’s Smiles

  3. One of the facts of farm life. It never really bothered me to eat the beef or the chicken when I was growing up, but my brother's rabbits were another story.