At some point my husband Steve decided that having our two kids raise lambs would be a good idea. He thought that it would be a good experience for the kids and that the lambs would help to keep the weeds down in the back yard. And so the plan was hatched. I wasn’t convinced that raising lambs for six months only to sell them at the livestock auction was that great of a plan to hatch but of course when Steve mentioned it to the kids, they were all in.
Over the following weeks, Steve built a three-sided shed with a gate across the front of it to house the lambs and he fenced in the area around the new sheep shed with small box wire that was supported on metal posts. He also added a large gate, big enough to drive a tractor through, that was attached on one side to the sheep shed and on the other to a big wooden post in the ground. (My contribution to the whole endeavor was a blue bird box added to the top of the wooden post.)
Once everything was completed, Steve brought home two white lambs. I had to admit they were adorable, and the kids were smitten with them. The lambs romped around in their new area and appeared to like it as they jumped on and off of the large boulders in the middle of their yard, which frankly looked too large for them to get on top of, but they did so easily. They were also quite friendly and played with our kids, letting them pet them and feed them by hand.
The next morning, Sunday, I looked out of the window when I awoke but did not see the lambs. To make sure they weren’t hiding in their building, I walked out to the backyard and checked their shed, but they weren’t in there. I went back into the house and told Steve that the lambs were gone. We looked around a little but did not see them anywhere. Soon, the kids woke up and joined in the search but when it became clear that they weren’t in the immediate area, we told the kids that we would have to look for them after church. Of course, they didn’t want to wait until after church, they wanted to keep looking for their lambs right then. But of all Sundays, we had to go to church that Sunday because our daughter, Kinsey was being confirmed in church that morning. She had been taking the confirmation classes for weeks and we had been looking forward to her officially joining our church as a recognized member.
Our church was less than one hundred yards down the road from our house. Because we had spent time that morning looking for the lambs, we were running a bit late and the church bells were ringing as we approached the door. Our preacher was waiting out front to welcome us, as he did every Sunday, and just as he reached out his hand in welcome to Steve, we heard a click-clack, click-clack and Kinsey shouted, “There they are!”
Sure enough, there were the two lambs, running right down the yellow lines painted in the middle of Black Oak Road, which t-boned off of the road we lived on. Both kids headed off in the direction of the lambs, but Steve called them back while I explained to the preacher that the two lambs running down the road were ours and that we had been looking for them all morning. We told the kids to go to church and to sit with their grandparents and that we would catch the lambs and join the church service as soon as they were caught. As the kids walked into the church with our preacher Steve and I headed off down Black Oak Road to catch the lambs.
Because we were on our way to church, I was wearing a dress and high heels and Steve was in dress slacks, a shirt and tie and his dress shoes. When the lambs saw us coming, running down the road after them in our Sunday finest, they began trotting a bit faster. A man who had been working in his yard saw the lambs running down the road and then saw us coming after them and he joined in the chase. As the lambs continued down the middle of the road, the three of us shouted back and forth to each other, and devised a plan to form a triangle of sorts in an effort to get them cornered against a fence that ran along one side of the road. The lambs though, had other ideas. As we finally got them pinned against the fence and prepared to move in and scoop them up, first one, then the other, squeezed through the box wire fence and took off running across the farmer’s field. I was amazed. The box wire was only about six inches square, but they were able to squeeze through it because they were mostly white fluff.
Steve, the man from Black Oak Road and I ran to the end of the fence and cut across someone’s yard. The man who lived at that house heard us shouting to each other and he came out and joined in the chase. The four of us ran after the lambs as they continued through the field. When they approached a barbed wire fence, they simply crawled under it and kept going. Although the fence wasn’t very tall, I’m short and there was no way I would be able to climb over it, so I stretched the top line of barbed wire and lifted the skirt of my dress and carefully stepped through. Just as I was feeling full of myself because I hadn’t caught my dress on the barbed wire, my foot sank into mud up to my ankles. I tried to pull my foot out of the mud and my foot came out, but my shoe did not. Standing on one leg, I reached down and pulled my shoe out of the mud, slipped in back on and tried to get through the wet area on my tip toes because my heels kept sinking into the wet, muddy grass.
As I was getting to the end of the wet area, the men who had joined us ran past me and I looked back to see where Steve was. I watched as he attempted to climb over the barbed wire fence by holding on to a wooden post with one foot on the lower line of barbed wire. With his one leg on the lower line, he lifted his other leg over the top line of wire but as he tried to put that foot down on the ground, a barb caught the inside seam of his pants, and as he jumped down, his pant leg ripped wide open from his crotch to his ankle, but he kept running, his pant leg flaring behind him with his whole leg exposed.
The four of us continued chasing the lambs through the field, herding them in the direction of our house. Once they got out of the field, they ran up the middle of our road, with the two neighbor men and Steve not too far behind. As they got closer to our house, Steve saw our neighbor Bud in his driveway and Steve shouted to him, “Bud, herd the sheep to the backyard!” As the sheep approached our house, Bud met them in the road and with him blocking their forward progress on the road and the men coming up behind them, the lambs headed right up our driveway. By then, Steve and all of the men, were right on their tails and chased the lambs into our backyard. Once in our yard, the lambs kept running and when they got to the gate that surrounded their fenced in area, both lambs squeezed between the gate and the wooden post it was attached to. I brought up the rear in my muddy high heels.
Once the lambs were confined and all of the neighbors were thanked profusely, Steve quickly put some small box wire between the post and the gate so the lambs couldn’t escape again, and we headed into the house, got washed up, put on different clothes and headed back down the road to church. As we walked into the sanctuary, I gave the preacher the thumbs up sign and he said, “Rejoice! For the lost sheep have been found,” and the whole congregation, including me and Steve, chuckled.
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