I woke up to the sound of a sheep bleating (“baahhing”, as we Americans say). It sounded as if the sheep were actually in my room. I immediately knew the sheep from the pasture behind our house were out. The previous day my son and his friend had been out playing in the sheep field on the other side of the small cemetery that was between the pasture and our house. (Yeah spooky, I know….and I did not see this small cemetery hidden by hedges until after we signed the lease!) I thought, “Oh no, I hope the boys did not open a gate yesterday! We just moved in last month and we’re already going to be “those bad neighbours who let the sheep out.” All of these thoughts ran through my head in a matter of seconds, but all I could yell was “sheep!” I tried to run to the window but my quick jump out of bed made me light-headed, so I just leaned against the wall. My husband was confused by all the commotion but, after gaining my composure, I explained that the sheep were out. We then sprang into action. Let’s just say he’s wired to be cool, calm and collected, and move into a clear action. But me….well, I just sprang.
I quickly ran and snatched my toddler out of her bed and yelled for my son to get up. We all put on our wellies (or rain boots) and headed outside. My husband moved the car to block the sheep from going down to the main road, but there was a gap still left between the car and the wall. My 7 year old stood in the gap between the car and the stone wall to block the sheep . If they got into the main road then there would be no turning back; there would be no way we could catch them. I got to be the sheepdog (no comments), while my husband opened the gates back into the cemetery. It was a team effort. Even my toddler helped by barking at the the sheep.
We soon realized that there was a natural hole in the the stone wall between the sheep pasture and the cemetery. It had been covered by a board but somehow had been knocked over. I have no idea why that hole was there. It looks like it was there on purpose. Maybe left open so the sheep could mow the grass of the cemetery occasionally when left open? Who knows. There is still a lot of stuff I am trying to figure out about Ireland but I find there’s always a good (if not entertaining) reason to such questions.
We successfully herded the sheep into a single-file line through the hole in the wall back to the pasture. And no one else seemed to notice us…I hope. If they did, at least they were entertained by such a crazy sight with our unbrushed hair, pajamas and wellies on, running around, flinging our arms and frantically barking at the escaped sheep. If nothing else, it was a fun way to start the morning and made for a good story to tell to our local friends over a cupan tae.
Since then we have successfully herded many more sheep out of our yard, as well as horses. Our neighbours have been nice enough to remove a herd of 50 cattle out of our yard when we weren’t home.
A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant . That could have been another contributing factor to my almost passing out as soon as I jumped out of bed. Hello! Can you say SHOCK to finding out you are pregnant right after you move to a new country?
Photo credit: Barbara Creech