Sheep Stories: One Family’s Mischievous Flock

In yet another of a seemingly endless string of loose sheep stories, ewes and lambs prance down the road as a farmer and his wife debate their next move in the ongoing struggle to keep the sheep at home.

| November/December 2011

  • sheep-duo
    A ewe and her lamb are always interested in what's greener on the other side of the fence. Gevaert
  • sheepflock
    The flock's leaders contemplate their next escape route. Gomez
  • sheepfield
    Sheep in the pasture means the shepherds have a bit of time before the next crisis. Gaul

  • sheep-duo
  • sheepflock
  • sheepfield

It’s about 3 in the morning, and I turn over to snuggle against Joe, when suddenly I hear it. Oh, no! Not again. There’s a car horn blaring out on the road in front of our house. Not just a little friendly tap, but an annoyed, “Get outta my way!” blare. Not another in an endless string of escaped sheep stories.

I shake Joe and say, “The sheep are out in the road again.” He moans, rolls over and mutters, “Just leave ’em there, I’m tired of chasing them. Maybe they’ll go be someone else’s sheep for a while.” But he sits up and begins pulling on his pants as I stumble into the bathroom for my clothes. For two weeks we’ve been trying to figure out where the sheep are sneaking out, but every time we think we’ve solved the problem, those woolly Houdinis find another small hole. The fence is scheduled to be repaired, but not until the end of the summer.

We grab our flashlights and jump in the truck. The road is actually a quarter of a mile away, and the sheep could be anywhere along its twisted length. Or they could be in a neighbor’s flower garden stomping all over his prize petunias. It’s never easy keeping sheep.

The night is misty and cool. It’s wonderful to live in the mountains. We don’t own an air conditioner and rarely run a window fan. But, tonight, the mist makes our job just a little more difficult. Joe drives, and I hang out the window, sweeping my flashlight along the berm. Then we spot them. Twelve ewes and a bunch of lambs are prancing along, heads held high like runway models, in the center of the road. They are headed for a field of 4-H sweet corn about a hundred yards away.

Seeing them trot up the road reminds me of my sister, Meg. When she was 12, she had a slumber party, and an hour or two after Mom and Dad went to bed, she and her friends decided to go out for dessert. Suzie Brewer had chocolate-covered cherries in her fridge, just a block up the road. The girls climbed out the window and headed uptown for a midnight snack. I’m sure they had the same look of anticipation in their eyes that these sheep do now. In fact, I think my husband is probably saying some of the same things that my father did when he discovered the girls sauntering up the road in their fuzzy slippers and pj’s.

Joe eases around our woolly “girls gone wild” with the truck. You don’t want to make this herding maneuver too quickly, or the flock will bolt. We’re lucky this time. The sheep let him by, and I jump out while he pulls past them to look for a place to turn around. My flashlight beam is surreal in the mist, and the sheep are spooky. I’m careful because I have learned that sheep can have interesting reactions to light.



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


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