Sunday, March 19, 2023

Thank You, Eleanor

I am not the original "crazy sheep lady".  I laughingly introduced my friend Eleanor that way to some friends years ago and she fired back "Oh, you ain't far from me, sister!" When I decided to start using social media and found punkinsmom already taken, I became thecrazysheeplady.  Eleanor's husband is Saint Thom and Tim became Saint Tim.  They have both earned those names.

I would love to tell you a bunch of great Eleanor stories about bottle lambs we've enjoyed sharing and old sheep and good horses and great dogs and how she gave me Ewen McTeagle all those years ago...but I just can't.  It still stings too much.  Eleanor passed away fairly unexpectedly at the beginning of the year.

We traditionally shear sheep in the middle of March.  It usually works out okay.  This year, after so many weeks of way too hot winter weather, many days well up in the 70s and even one 80 degree day, the forecast for this weekend tanked. 

If it would have been possible to reschedule to a less frozen weekend, I sure would have, but shearing dates are hard to get and there was no way the sheep could have made it until much later in the spring.  I knew it was going to be rough, but I also knew we have a good set up and the experience to manage everyone as best we could.

Still...after a day of wind and rain on Friday (the pre-shearing fasting day) and the temps falling down into the 20s, I felt awful.  I hated sending my sheep to a cold bed on pretty much empty stomachs and I was so unhappy about them having to deal with a low of 19 just after being shorn the next day and 20 the following night that I sat in the kitchen and cried.

I want to stress again that if there had been any way to reschedule, I would have.  It would be almost impossible for me to shear 27 sheep myself and just 24 hours before they had been so hot that they were trying to shear themselves.  I knew that a couple of cold nights would be much easier and healthier than weeks of too hot, no matter how sad it made me.  

Just before the last night check I turned on my computer and saw a message from Eleanor's daughter.  

"Are there any coats or anything you need for any of your old sleep? I didn’t realize how much extras of things mom had and I’m not sure she did either lol"

She did not know we were shearing in the morning.  She did not know how upset I was.

What would possess Little E to send me a message about sheep coats for my old sheep at 10:13 at night on the night before a shearing I was dreading like no other.

Out of the blue.
Out of the blue.

I know where these coats came from.  

Thank you, Eleanor.

The younger sheep were all tucked into the middle stall together.  I'd added some extra wind breaks and we'd bedded them deep with fluffy straw over the warm straw pack.  I fed extra hay at midnight and while they weren't warm, they weren't miserable.  Everyone in Easy Breezy was happy with their jackets.

This morning the young sheep were all unsettled, up moving around looking pretty cold.  The coated sheep were still tucked in comfortably and sound asleep or happily chewing cud.  

We did not shear Rocky yesterday because I felt that at his age and after the rough winter he'd managed to make it through, that it would be safer to shear him myself once it warmed back up.  I can handle shearing a couple of sheep ;-).

Once the sun came out, everyone was much happier and the afternoon has been in the upper 30s and "warm".  I pulled the coats off of Maisie, Blossom and Short Round for a few minutes because I figured out a way to put two coats together to make them longer.  Maisie will still probably "show her butt"...but not because her jacket is too short ;-).


Both Maisie and Blossom walked over to me to get their coats back on when I finished.  Short Round was already settled into a hay bed on top of the compost pile, but I bet she'll be happy to get her coat back on his afternoon, too.  She didn't even question it last night.  

I'm so grateful that you can enjoy some sweet dreams, Maisie.


Michelle said...

What a warm and wonderful 'sheep tale'!!!

Anonymous said...

Your friend most assuredly knew your need. I have no doubt that there are angels among us. I think I encountered one in a park years ago that I believe saved my two dogs from a possible strange dog attack. An older man in a dress suit, dress shoes,and dress coat who simply came up to me out of no where and warned me a large dog was running loose in the park up ahead. It had always been a horrible fear of mine. I ran with my dogs to my car and drove around to find him to thank. No man, no car, nothing. But a very large Husky running the park! Had never seen that man before and never did again.I walk that park and have for the past 26 years. Coincidence? There are no coincidences.💗K.Littrell

Vivienne said...

I’m sorry to hear you lost your friend unexpectedly. It certainly seems like she was watching out for your flock and you.

Nisi said...

What a wonderful and timely gift from Eleanor ❤️

Lori Skoog said...

Just in time!

Sue said...

This was a good story, you had a good friend in Eleanor.

Marcy said...

What a bittersweet story. So sorry for your loss. Hugs.

Linda said...

Yes, Thank you, Eleanor. RIP.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend, that is a great loss.
But the email about coats was not out of the blue. Things like that are a message from a loved one. Glad everything worked out to keep the sheep warm(ish).

Anonymous said...

Oh duh 😔 that last comment was from southwestern Ontario where we woke up to 4” of fluffy white snow this morning.
Chris S in Canada

ineedorange said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend. How perfect that her sheep coats kept your oldies warm and comfy.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Straight from heaven...what a gift:)

Tee said...

I am reading back on posts and was brought to tears when reading this one. I am a firm believer in friends in the sky. Eleanor sent those coats, sure thing. Loss is always hard but there are helpers like Eleanor to smooth the grief.


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