When I walk to the chicken shed, all the ewes, but one, have their heads in the hay feeders.
The old ewe watches me.
The old ewe is the last remaining ewe from the foundation stock that we bought years ago. A few years ago, she remained thin a few months after weaning twin lambs, so I didn't breed her again. I should have culled her.
But there was something about the soft, wise eyes, the determined spirit, that kept me from doing that.
For the past few years, she's been the lead ewe in the "dog training flock."
She's the ewe that stomps at me.
She's the ewe that knows the morning routine: feed the horses, then the rams, then the ewes, then the chickens.
She's the ewe that has a weakness for grain.
When she sees me spread the scratch grain for the chickens, she leaves the flock and inspects the ground around the chickens, hoping to find a few piles of chopped corn.
She's the ewe that knows that on some mornings, I relent, and leave a little pile of grain for her.