Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sheep and the Traffic Circle

When my older sister and her guy first started raising grass-fed lamb, Elizabeth purchased a pair of Dorper rams over the internet.  Dorpers are big, hardy sheep.  They are from South Africa, so you know they are tough.  They grow fast -- reaching around 80 pounds at three and a half months.  Big, thick, hardy, delicious sheep.

Elizabeth bought these guys, Chuck and Larry, off of some grainy pictures and a few phone calls.  The sheep were outside of Houston.  Elizabeth lives near Amarillo.  Mom and Dad picked up her sheep and agreed to keep them at the farm until they could deliver them the 525 miles or so to Elizabeth's front door.'s a big state.

Remember how I said that Dorpers are big sheep?  When a big sheep gets startled, they just sort of run.  And sometimes that running includes through a barn wall next to the gate.  The next time you are sitting down to grass-fed lamb and feeling a little sorry for the cute little sheep you are eating, picture something big and strong enough that it can run through a barn wall and keep on running.  Not so cute now are they?

Also, if you happen to be in the way of one of these sheep when they decide to leave the premises, they will go right over the top of you.  Picture something big enough to go through a barn wall running over the top of a person.  It's sort of like being hit by the neighbor's hillbilly child on his minibike.  Just WHAM! and then the realization "Did...did I just get run over by a sheep?" as you pick yourself up off the ground. 

They are like athletes as they soar over the gate.  As they race down the road.  As they bowl over the dog and shimmy under the barn gate toward freedom. 

Mom likes sheep.  She has a pet sheep named Andy who basically has run of their property.  She doesn't eat lamb.  She says it is because she doesn't like the way it smells and tastes, but I think it has more to do with the fact that she likes sheep.  Sort of like how I won't eat rabbit.

After Larry went through the barn wall, and his and Chuck's subsequent round-up, Mom had hit her wooly loving limit.  It was time for Chuck and Larry to go meet the ladies of the Texas panhandle.  We hooked up a horse trailer, sheep-proofed it, and hit the road.  Sheep-proofing a two-horse bumper pull trailer is a little redneck.  We bungee-corded a panel across the open part of the trailer to keep the darn things from jumping out. 

Here is the thing about roadtrips with my mom.  Between my mom, the GPS, and me, we are bound to get turned around or lost at least once a trip.  This trip was no exception.

We missed an exit entering whacky Waco, Texas.  There is a traffic circle in Waco.  Two lanes.  Four roads feeding in/out.  Not a daunting structure...especially not at 10:00 on a weekday morning.  Unless you're my mother.

Remember this scene?

That was my mom, my sister, and I.

There was no one else on the traffic circle, but Mom was too afraid to move over.  We must have gone around it five times before we finally got her moved into the correct lane and another two before we managed to get her onto the correct road.

Following the traffic circle debacle, we were late enough to be caught in the lunch rush hour in the DFW area, and didn't even make it to Elizabeth's place until well after dark.  Luckily, both rams were still in the trailer.

Elizabeth met us on the driveway and started to throw open the back door to the trailer before the stress of the trip got to Mom and she yelled something to the affect of "I swear to God, if you lose them after all the shit they've put me through!"

We backed the trailer up to the pasture, opened the gate, and they hit the door running.  As the two white blurs disappeared into the darkness, Mom stood thoughtfully for a minute.  "I hope you have strong fences."

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