Sunday, July 16, 2017


Last night I was checking on the flock with Friday. It was past dusk and the world was almost dark. I was up near the sheep pen looking for the new lambs, who now are out of their introductory pen and have full-range of the farm. I couldn't find them. I knew they had no left but they weren't with the eight established sheep. That motley crew was in their pole barn for the night. I could see Monday the ram, Brick, the yearlings, the new Scottish Blackface ram lamb, Joseph and Sal. Everyone seemed okay but Sal didn't. He didn't seem to be in pain, just slowed down and in the corner of the pole barn. He lay his head down on the hay and rested with his eyes shut. At age 13 he is the oldest sheep I have. He, Maude, and Joseph came here in my station wagon from Vermont when I moved here seven years ago. He was 4 when I bought him in Vermont. He was breathing steady and no other sheep were bothering him. I let him be. I had a feeling that was the last time I'd see Sal. I went back to looking for the lambs. I found them, finally. They were far in the back pasture having made a summer night's nest among the fireflies near a fence surrounded by maple trees.

This morning Sal was gone. He was a very good sheep. I used a garden cart to move him away from the animals and into the woods where he will be buried. As I pulled the cart this morning I passed the lambs at their firefly nest. They watched quietly. I was quiet, too.