Maggie passed today. She was our first Shetland ewe lamb and became mother, grandmother, great- and great-great-grandmother to our current flock of 30 Shetland Sheep.
We can only be sad for ourselves to say goodbye to her so unexpectedly. She showed no signs of suffering, no signs of illness or weakness amongst the flock out in the pastures this summer, grazing or resting under their favorite row of pines.
This morning we found her still, wooly body lying in the corner of the field closest to the house and barn. When we collected her, the rest of the flock approached us from the other pastures and gathered, some of the ewes coming in closer to be pet, then following us as we took her away.
Near the apple trees where our first ewe, Annie, is marked by a garden of daffodils, we lay her body to rest. Sarah Jane & Char picked sunflowers and nasturtiums to decorate her wool and, in the drizzle and spit of the stormy evening, we sat at her graveside and toasted her with a very old bottle of scotch before sifting hands-full of soft earth to fill in the hole.
We will all feel the loss of our Mags. She consistently and quietly modeled for the rest of the flock, contributing her good-looking traits to the gene pool, showing everyone how much could be gained by stepping up to the farmers for a jolly good massage when you had an itch. Tentative lambs and anxious ewes would cast an eye and see how she trusted her people and then move forward for their own position in the petting-line.
I’d just never even thought of a day without our grey girl. I’m grateful she won’t go into winter with any sort of illness or battle to fight. I’m grateful she died peacefully and quickly, no suffering or deterioration evident. I’m grateful that I sat out with her in the field for a catch-up just the day before.
I thought about how much I loved this girl and how much she’s given us. Fleeces over the past ten years to spin into yarn, yarn into hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters and blankets. Sweet, warm companionship to put you in a proper good mood. Communicating eyes. Steadfast, agreeable temperament and trust. Lots of healthy, beautiful babies.
Thank you, dear old friend. You are among the Wing And A Prayer-greats. We will miss you.