Here's what I thought as our first Valais-cross lambs stepped off the transport trailer...and here's what I think now that I've had a chance to chew the cud...
The sound of tires churning up our gravel drive soon led to the sight of a truck pulling a small livestock trailer loaded with small ruminants on a roundabout road trip. Our two have just landed at Flying Chestnut Farm, where they'll live in fields of clover and hopefully bring up babies in our barn next spring. The first one off the trailer didn't go without a fuss. The second one figured what the heck, 13-hour road trips are baaaaad news and life is an ADVENTURE! She practically leaped through the open door. I thought...holy sheep! They're bigger, woolier, faster, and friskier than I thought they'd be. I'm used to all kinds of horses, including spooky horses, but I've never had to work too hard for their attention or affection. Clearly, sheep are different. Good thing this breed is known for being "paddock puppies," with personalities said to be more like the family dog than the typical flighty sheep. I'm not seeing that just yet, but they've just traveled 900 miles and landed in the middle of Tennessee. Bless their hearts.
I give them hay and water and introduce them to their sheep fold. They seem to like it. They settle nicely, graze some clover, and set about chewing their cud in the cool shelter of their sheep shed. I crouch inside, sink into the fresh, straw bedding and study them some more. With just a few feet between us, it's the perfect time to sit and ruminate....
I think sheep are fascinating. I think they're beautiful (though the random pieces of straw and hay sticking out of their wool are making the horse-groomer in me crazy). I think they're fleet and agile and silly and sweet. I think they're going to give us a run for our money (and it was no small amount of money to get started in the breed-up program). And, I think it will be a miracle, based on all the scary internet sheep sites I've been browsing, if we don't inadvertently kill these fragile creatures. I chew on that one far too long before the Holy Spirit laid on my heart that "fear is useless, what is needed is trust." (Luke 8:50)
One of the lambs, the one who fearlessly jumped off the trailer eager for adventure, is aptly re-christened Faustina. She's named after the patron saint of the virtue of trust, who brought the world the image and message of Divine Mercy which proclaims, in all circumstances: "Jesus, I trust in You!"
The other is named Josie. She came with that name but now it's short for Josephina, in honor of Saint Joseph who is the guardian of Flying Chestnut Farm and our entire farm family. He has never failed us!
The more I chew on it, I think Faustina and Josie are going to like it here. And I think we're all going to be just fine.
Follow our wild and wooly adventures--we'd love the company!