Sheep-sicles

Yesterday was devoted to shoveling out, plowing out, and assessing the farm’s condition post-snow. And it was in the morning when we discovered that in the midst of the chaos — blizzard prep, tractor repairs and kid control — we nearly turned the sheep into popsicles.

I had assumed that our sheep were tucked in their run-in shed. What I didn’t know was that early in the storm they wandered to the low end of the orchard and clustered around a bare pear tree. And as a few fluffy inches turned into a foot or two, they lost interest — or lacked the brain cells — to slog through the snow for shelter.

I didn’t realize that the sheep spent the day and night exposed to the elements until Sunday when I spied the empty shed and the pristine snow, untouched by cloven hooves. And then it dawned on me: our sheep — the stars of this year’s Christmas card — might be frozen solid, like popsicles in an ice tray.

Once I stopped swearing and accusing Martin of sheep neglect, we waded through knee-high powder and steeled ourselves for what we’d find: a mound of woolen corpses or worse, five sets of legs protruding from the snowy cover.

To my surprise the sheep were very much alive, still clustered around the tree and staring blankly at the wall of white. Aside from a coating of frost, they were none the worst for wear.

And any reticence about the snow dissolved when we sicked the dog on them.


So after a night of nearly freezing to death, the sheep were forced to run for their lives up a hill through neck-high snow. But the payoff — dry earth, a wind break and fresh hay — was worth it.