Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Livin' la vida vocal

Once upon a time, I lived a quiet life. Oh, I was busy; running my own graphics business, working a little in my husband's veterinary clinic, volunteering at church, training and showing my horse, gardening, keeping up the household, and probably a million other things. But I had large chunks of time when my environment was peaceful and quiet, save for the always present thoughts crowding my mind. Maybe that's why I love quiet; no, I NEED quiet; my mind is so busy. "Hi. My name is Michelle, and I am noise-intolerant."

Then we had Brian. Actually, the first two years were easy and enjoyable. Then he hit about two and a half, and my still-somewhat quiet life changed dramatically. (Being noise-intolerant was one of my many reasons for not having children, but I eventually put all those "reasons" aside in submission to God....)

Life went on. We decided to get Shetland sheep. As with Brian, for awhile our sheepies were quiet and easy to have around. In fact, I thought at first that Shetlands were a silent breed! The first time I heard one bleat, I was a little surprised. Still, they weren't noisy...until Bella. When Rechel was obviously close to lambing, I got up every two hours to check on her. When I stumbled out the door at 2:00 a.m., I heard a lamb. It was Bella. That should have told me something....

All the sheep are more vocal now, especially when they think they are hungry. Each voice is distinct. Bobby’s is amusingly masculine, a deep, throaty growl of a bleat. The ewes’ voices sound like mature ladies. Then there is Bella, who has a higher, more insistent (read "annoying") voice. She YELLS, even when I'm standing right there! There's no sleeping in, because Bella's yell carries clearly up from the sheepfold through the open window at the head of our bed. I try to remind myself that it is a blessing to have a sheep that communicates. One night she got herself stuck in the sheepfold, and her repeating bleats got me down to the barn to extricate her before she could perish.

Here are my little woolies, quiet since their mouths are full of fine grass hay. Mealtime, unfortunately, does not slow my chatterbox boy down. About the only time Brian is quiet is when he's asleep!

But don't get me wrong. Sitting with my sheep and loving on them is about the most calming, peaceful thing I have ever experienced in my life. And I dearly love my active, articulate boy -- who didn't fall far from the family tree. :-)

That's it for now at . . .

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