Sunday, March 23, 2003

I have had a request for an update on our Houdini lamb. Susan finally caught him yesterday and succeeded in getting his tail docked. She and a helper went through the flock three times before they found him. She had seen him earlier outside, but he managed to vanish for over half an hour inside the barn itself. It is just not that big of a barn, and being the only big lamb with a tail, he should have stood out, well, like the only big lamb with a tail. The third try was the charm, and she grabbed him. This time she was ready for him and he went straight into a pre-prepared "high security" pen. When I came down, he was still there, trying to wriggle through the bars. He is now back out with the rest of the flock, no doubt plotting further mischief.

I think he has been talking to Tippy the llama. Tippy is one of our four guard llamas, and is, frankly, not very good at his work. Sheep bore him. He thinks he was intended for grander things than life on the farm, and heads out to see the sights at the first opportunity. When the mood is on him, he jumps like a deer and dances across cattleguards like Baryshnikov. Not being sympathetic to his urge to travel, we have been keeping him in the one part of the pasture where the fencing is too high to jump. We were going to open that field yesterday to move some sheep around, so I tracked Tippy down and put a lead and halter on him so we could tie him up until the shifting was done. I secured his lead to one of the rails on the yard fence using my best Boy Scout clove hitch and stepped inside for a quick lunch. When I came back outside, not only was Tippy missing, so was the middle rail of the fence. I found him fifty yards away, down by the barn, the fence rail still tied to the end of his lead. I think he may have gotten farther still, all eight feet of rail in tow, if he hadn't gotten his foot tangled in the lead. My older son and I got him loose and put him back in his pasture, not, I'm afraid, any wiser for the experience. If anyone wants a halter-broke but free-spirited llama, give me a call. I've got one for sale.

You can tell
from the outline of the hills,
the way it's hazed over --
from this morning on
we'll have springtime dawns


(trans. Burton Watson)