In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Island desperadoes

When Leroy D'Entremont, the owner of the sheep, made the gathering last month, he was pretty sure he had missed a few at the northern end of the island. Those northern sheep have their own collective mentality which they somehow pass on, from generation to generation. They think of themselves as outsiders. They are elusive, shy and suspicious. It was up there that a ewe panicked and swam out into the harbour and drowned. Leroy thought that some of those northern lambs had evaded the gathering and so not gotten their tails docked with all the rest.The other day there were two lambs and a ewe out in the side yard. It's very odd to see only three sheep. We nearly always see them in bigger groups than that. When the lambs got up to graze we could see that they both had long tails. Their tails speak volumes, dangling proof that they ran away and hid in the woods to escape the gathering. They are, by the looks of it, from the north. The ewe is one of them, too. She is known by the company she keeps.
The shepherds really have no end of trouble with sheep who are bad flockers.
They look innocent enough, but they are a bad influence on the others.
A year ago Leroy had to struggle to catch the lamb we later named Cassandra. He tied her to a tree until he could come back to get her. Some well-meaning strangers came by and untied her, and she ran off and never did get her tail docked. She turned out to be a trouble-maker, a fear-monger, always sowing dark rumours among the flock. Now we have two more who obviously demonstrate the same outsider mentality.
On Friday there were fifteen contented sheep around the house, but these three were not among them. By yesterday the others had moved on to graze elsewhere, and the trio from the north arrived.

Through the wonders of modern technology, I can send the d'Entremonts pictures: lambs caught in the act of having tails. At last our spying on sheep is useful.

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