Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gladys the Sheep

Gladys and Flo were sisters. They are two of the three ewes above on the left in the cover photo of this blog. They were Corriedale/Columbia crosses that were part of our flock for many years. To begin with there were actually three sisters. We called them The Big Girls, and for good reason. Their Columbia half ancestry made them almost big enough to saddle and ride. But, they were tolerant of our dog training activities, didn't cause much trouble, and for the most part stayed out of harm's way. They had bad feet but that wasn't their fault. The first of the three big girls (before they had names) was (sadly) one of the casualties of the coyote storm that drove us out of the pasture in spring 2007 that is pictured above with the beautiful valley oaks in it. What a great field it was for dog training...and sheep watching...until it wasn't.

Anyway to keep our sheep safe, we finally bugged out of the beautiful field with the valley oaks, with Gladys and Flo (yet unnamed) in tow along with a lot of other sheep. Moving to other borrowed fields meant we had to cut our sheep numbers. We sold some sheep here and there...placed one really old Cheviot lady "Granny" back with the person who sold her to us a few years before (where she lived out her life until she died of natural causes)...and yet we were left with the to-be-named Big Gladys and Flo. It looked like they might have to get put on the trailer for the next trip to the auction, which none of us wanted to happen.

A friend with Belgian Tervuren emailed with really great timing, asking if we had any really QUIET sheep for her to train her older puppy on. Yes!!! The Two Big Girls didn't go anywhere or do anything that they didn't consider properly and with taking their time about it. And my friend asked if we would consider taking two too-fast Barbados wethers in trade for the two ewes. Yes!!  So on an appointed Sunday, the trade was made; the Two Big Girls went on the truck over to Vacaville to live out their days mainly eating grass and training a few young Tervuren to work sheep. The two Barb wethers joined our gang and were instant characters who stood out in our crowd of Dorper crosses. Upon getting to their new home, the Two Big Girls were given new names: Gladys and Flo. They worked out well for several years.

Flo died a couple of years ago and we got word just recently that Gladys had to be put down just before Christmas because her arthritis had gotten the best of her. She had lived a "long lazy life" for a sheep in her new home. Gladys and Flo were probably at least  11-12 years old...an advanced age for a big ewe.

You know what they say about naming the sheep. Once they get a name, they stay with you. Well we never named the Big Girls but their memory stayed with us. They are part of our past and a fond memory.

The two Barb wethers, likewise, stayed with us. It seemed like bad karma for us to get rid of them after they'd been around even a short while. First one and then the other led our flock and then died with dignity of natural causes. We never knew how old they were but they had to be old when we got them. They were old souls in spirit. We never gave them names other than Mr Barb. 

Here's to you, Gladys and Flo, and the two Mr Barbs.  Thank you! And thanks to the friend that gave Gladys and Flo a home.

1 comment:

Amosmum said...

I love to hear of well looked after animals who've enjoyed a long life :)

How nice it would be if all farm animals had long lives and happy endings!