January 6th, 2009
In many ways, Calvin has been a fifth wheel in our small flock. Born a year after the other four sheep, he has gamely tried to fit in even though he was not always welcome. No question about it, Firefly was the lead ram, and the three girls were Firefly’s.
And yet, Calvin had many qualities: gorgeous confirmation, wonderful fleece and a heart of gold. And he was always first in line for Fig Newtons.
When Calvin and the others first arrived at our place, he was just five months old and not perceived as much of a threat. But with each passing month, the younger and carefree Calvin started getting under the fleece of Firefly. Quiet walks in the pasture deteriorated into more aggressive activities. Soon, full-blown jousting matches such as one might see on Animal Planet — or perhaps the Wrestling Channel? — took place with distressing frequency. We would have to separate the rams. They were distraught, we were distraught. Trips out to the back were becoming increasingly perilous, what with two competitive rams. What to do?
This was the state of events when the email arrived. A gentleman in North Texas was seeking a young ram to breed his Shetland ewes. He wanted a registered ram with brown genes. Yes! This was Calvin’s chance for a place of his own. We agreed to sell Calvin, but not without tearful objections from other members of our family.
On moving day, we coaxed Calvin into the shed and scratched his chest just the way he liked. We groomed him a bit, removing a few thistles from his wool. We would miss this boy, but he was getting a chance for a new start.
His new owners drove up and quickly made their acquaintance, loving up Calvin before easing him into the trailer. We exchanged stories and papers. And then he was gone, chauffeured away in a horse trailer, with wood shavings and a few alfalfa pellets for the road.
And then there were four… for now. Soon, the lambs will arrive.