Friday, January 28, 2022

Snow Angels

B. Willard was a gift that kept on giving.  He came over as a lamb from Tring Farm years ago.  I think he'd been weaned.  I don't remember bottling him...but maybe I finished him here...  Okay, blog to the rescue.  He was 5 weeks old and anyone looking at this youngster would know this was Baby Willard.  That classic Willard look.  

It's fun...and a bit go back and read the old stories and look at pictures.  Willard was a never ending source of entertainment.  We called him the Sheep of Impeccable Character.  He truly was.  I said B. Willard B. Mine to him all the time.  He was the star of the very first Hug a Sheep Day.  

Willard's biggest gift to me was his sweet and cheerful personality.  He ended up with terrible arthritis in his legs, but he kept "making the donuts" as long as he could, hobbling out to graze in the yard each morning, giving me a nod as he walked past the porch where I was usually sitting.  He and Cheeto took the best care of Early and he never seemed to mind when Ellie used him as a springboard.  I think he loved those lambs.

A gift we gave each other was the late night and early morning barn checks.  Willard had always been a good napper and loved to sleep flat out on his side.  I can't count how many times I saw him like that over the years and raced over to make sure he was still breathing.  As he got old and stiff, he frequently could no longer get himself back up and he'd get himself in trouble trying.  

After one too many times finding himself "upside down" for too long (sheep are not designed to lay like that) and worrying that one day I'd find him dead, I started making a late night trek to the barn and setting my alarm to get back up there early in the morning so he wasn't unsupervised so long.  

I am not a night owl.  I like being up in the morning, but I'd used the rising sun as my alarm.  Trudging up to the barn in the pitch dark was something new.  I didn't hate it.  In fact, walking up there with a big cup of coffee and the dogs and cats, especially when Salt was here, became the highlight of my day.  

I'd click on my flashlight, and say "Hey guys, just me." before I walked into the barn in an effort not to startle everyone else.  If there was a problem, I'd fix it and if not I'd say "'Morning, Willard.  'Morning, Cheeto." and go sit on the Wool House porch, drink my coffee and watch the sun come up.  

I did this for at least two years and I think they loved that morning routine as much as I did.  And seeing the two of them cuddled up together at night sharing a pile of hay was the sweetest way to end each day.  They took the best care of each other...and that took care of me.

I miss that so much.

It's getting better.  My day is not ruined now by not seeing their smiling faces, but I did have the conversation with myself the other day that there was really no reason anymore for making that early morning trek.  They were gone.  My driveway buddy Salt was gone.  The rest of the barn would really prefer I not bother them until daybreak.

That morning I found Ellie stuck somewhere needing help.  This morning I found a "snow angel".  In the near dark it just looked like a dark spot on the ground, but when I got closer I saw it was a sheep print (camera brightened).  Seeing the two legs stretched out in front told me this had been where a comfortably warm and happy sheep had slept...and that made me happy.  

I'd have missed it if I'd not been out there early.  A gift.


Unknown said...


Donna Schoonover said...

I am so sorry about Willard. It is hard.

Michelle said...

I went back to Willard's lamb post and saw names in the comments I haven't seen around in years, people I felt like I'd gotten to know through our blogs, and one I even got to meet in person when we came to Kentucky. It's hard to lose animals, but we go in knowing their lives are heartbreakingly short. When people 'disappear' from blogland, it is unsettling....

Camp said...

special moments. treasured. sometimes it seems they are at a time when no one else would be lookng.

and B.willard was so thankful you took such good care of him too. A fine fella that I count myself fortunate to meet to long ago and visit recently :-)

Juliana said...

I'm so glad you shared the photo of the snow angel! It is very clear that this is where a sheep rested. Thank you also for sharing these memories of Willard. Reading about your night and morning routines was comforting to me somehow.

Marcy said...

Thank you for sharing this poignant post.

ineedorange said...

It's hard when we must go on without them.

Thank you for sharing them with us.

Terry and Linda said...

A gift! You are right, sent just to you (and us) by a sheep angel!
(I am crying, sorry)
Love you, Sara!

Delrene said...

Eloquent tribute to Willard aall the sweet loving pets that have crossed. at your beautiful farm. Those morning visits sound so very special. Your own very much “me” time with them.
Thank you for sharing. As a reader and. Last year visitor I can see it in my minds eye. It’s very special. Memories sure do help.

bobbieliz said...

Sara, I love the B. Willard/Cheeto story, and the Sheep Snow Angel is just the best Snow Angel I have ever seen!

Susan said...

Oh Sara, I too was doing 'OK' until I read this post......snow angel is right. He did have that special look.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Treasured moments that you can hold close to your heart:) It won't minimize the loss but it might lessen it a bit:)

AdrieneJ said...

How lucky that you and Willard spent time on this earth together. That is probably the whole point of this life… to be with other beings that warm each other’s presence. Much love.

Shirley said...

One day at a time.... what a gift we are given in the animals entrusted to our care. They bring out the best in us and their time with us is never long enough.


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