Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Holy Sheep

Over the years, we’ve had lots of critters wander onto the farm.  We’ve had the duck who landed out of nowhere, Yeller Feller the tailless cat who made pals with my dad, and of course the most famous stray of all, Goober who stole my heart and has stayed here at the farm.  But last week we had one of the strangest arrivals yet – a random sheep.  Yep, you heard me correctly, a Mary-had-a-little-lamb bonafide sheep.

Out in the distance Cowboy and I saw something white, but we dismissed it.  It was near a neighbor’s fence and wasn’t moving, so we thought maybe they had set something near their fence.  No biggie.

Then came day two.  As we drove into our front gate, the white thing moved. Cowboy and I looked at each other and in unison said, “Is that a sheep?”

Well my rescue mama instincts kicked in and before I would even let Cowboy get the gate shut, I had us riding through the pasture to check it out.  Poor old gal was hiding in the cedar trees and was super nervous.  Most disturbing of all, someone had put a collar of some sort around her neck, and it looked tight, seriously tight.  Now my worried farm mama kicked in, right along side of my what-are-people-doing-fury critter protector mama.  Needless to say I was a bundle of emotions and personalities.

Poor old gal was so nervous that there was no getting close to her.  Heartsick, we took some hay to her resting spot in the trees, prayed she’d realize that we were her friends, and most importantly find the water trough in the pasture.

Driving back to the barn, I said, “What are we going to do with Babalu?”

“You’ve already named her? Seriously?” Cowboy asked, shaking his head.

“Of course.  She has to have name.”

“Babalu?” he replied, looking at me incredulously.

“You know, I Love Lucy?  Ricky sang Babalu.  Sheep say baa baa.”

I’ll just let you imagine the side eye crazy look I was getting at this time.  I thought I was super clever; he clearly thought I was nuts.  As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  But I digress …

My Farmtastice Life - Babalu the sheep
Babalu soaking up the sunshine and munching the grasses. Thanks to our dear friend Trey McIntyre for capturing some pics of this old gal.

Over the next couple of days, Cowboy and I would take turns wandering out into the pasture, taking a knee, and trying to make friends.  Holy sheep, she was not having it.  The best we could do was get within five feet.  And I thought donkeys were stubborn?

Nothing breaks this farmgirl’s heart more than an animal she can’t reach.  Most of all we wanted to get that collar off of her.  Lucky for us, we also have amazing neighbors, who keep cows in our pastures.  After we gave them a heads up about Babalu, they also kept a daily lookout for her.  I guess you could say we were all officially on sheep watch.

Truth is, our pasture is not fenced for sheep and Babalu could have easily gotten out, but she chose to stay.  With grass a plenty and fresh water, and I’m quite sure all the farm critters whispering that she had found a sanctuary, she miraculously stayed.

I am delighted to report that earlier this week our amazing neighbors caught dear Babalu when she came up to visit the cows during feeding time.  They loosened her collar, took her sweet self down to another pasture that was better for sheep, and planned to get her settled with friends who have other goats and sheep.

Can I just tell you the look of sheer joy that came over Cowboy’s face when I got off the phone with the neighbors and said, “They caught Babalu and they have a place for her.”

Now I knew he was grinning because he was thinking, “Thank you, Lord.  We do not have to build a sheep pen and add another feed type to our supply list.”  Because we all know that was a very real possibility with me.  But I also like to think he was grinning because Babalu had found safety and rest.

Even the least of us deserves safety and rest.

P.S. We have no idea if Babalu wandered onto our place or someone dumped her off.  Regardless, the collar situation, her advanced age, and her skinny condition lead me to believe that life hasn’t always been kind to her.  Please people, if you have an animal you can no longer care for, give them a chance – call a rescue, a sanctuary, a friend.  They deserve better from us.

 

 

 

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Farm Friends

Well sometimes things at the farm just don’t work as we planned, and so we pull up our cowboy and cowgirl boots and figure it out. Such was the case with our dear little Yeller Feller.

When Yeller Feller showed up at the farm, he was skittish, and Cowboy and I worked hard to get him to trust us and let us give him good scratches behind the ears. Well once that little guy got a taste of affection, he decided we humans could be pretty nice. He was hooked.

Yeller Feller hung out at the barn and stayed under foot. He also decided he wanted to have a kitty friend in our best pal Nightmare, a.k.a Mare (Yes, I know. He’s neither a horse or a female, but Mare it is.). Anyway, Mare was having none of it.

Now we’ve had our share of critters at the farm and gone through the introduction process with all the proper howdy-dos, and we know that they generally work things out. In fact country folks tell us all the time, “Awe, don’t worry about it. They’ll figure it out.”

But this neurotic farm mamma tried to help them work it out, giving love and attention to both, but it was just not working. Mare, who is the barn-cat-in-chief, was changing rapidly. He wouldn’t come when called. (Yes, he is part dog and does come when called.) He wouldn’t let us pet him. He wouldn’t come in at night, which is our routine that lets this farm mama sleep peacefully.

Mare started hiding in the barn attic, where the Texas heat was rising, and so we had to figure out a plan B. Now, if you know me at all, you know parting with a critter is something that is nearly impossible for me to do, but as I grow in this farmtastic journey, I’ve also learned that I owe it to the ones we have, all sixteen of them, to keep them safe, sound, and happy.

Photo - Dad and his three cats.
Dad and his three kitties. Just call him Dr. Dad-little. He loves them and they love him.

Mom and Dad to the rescue! Mom and Dad have two outside kitties, Waylon and Willie, who are laid back brothers, and my mom and dad thought they wouldn’t mind Yeller Feller as a new brother. Plus, Dad’s always wanted a yellow tabby cat, and as luck would have it, Yeller fit the bill. (If you haven’t guessed yet, I come by this animal thing naturally.)

Anyway, Dad came and packed up Mr. Feller and carted him home. They spent a couple of days working through howdy-dos with all the proper stares and inspections. Mom and Dad spent loads of porch time with Yeller giving him attention to teach him where his new home was.  Gram even fell in love with the little guy, and cats are not her thing.

Well wouldn’t you know it, Yeller Feller caught on like a champ. Ate up every pet and ear scratch, and even discovered tree climbing. Although, Mom says he’s not too good at it yet. He’s having one big dandy time.

Cat Photo - Yeller climbs a tree
Yeller Feller tries to climb a tree. Let’s hope he gets the hang of it.

So my heart rests easy knowing that Yeller came by his fur-ever family via the farm. So on our Meet the Farm page, Yeller has moved form a fur-kid to a farm friend. I guess technically he’s now my brother, since we share parents. Nothing new for me, the best siblings have four legs.