It is snowing and blowing again outside. Since the wind is coming from the east, we have a few mini drifts inside the barn doors. Nonetheless, we are staying warm and dry. Yep, it is me again, Nanoo Nanoo. I have managed to log into the blog.

The grumpy old bearded guy and the nice lady are up in their private barn. I think they may be playing around with avocados, trying to dye our already perfectly beautiful wool some strange color. There is also a rumor going round the barn that they may be getting ready for the shearer. We look forward to getting rid of these heavy coats, but shearing days are a lot of work for all of us, especially with our lambs due to arrive soon. We have been discussing shearing over the last few years. As always, the old timers have so much to tell about what we have not yet experienced. These discussions remind me that I had promised to introduce everyone to the other members of our flock. Perhaps it is only fitting that I start out with Hope.

Hope is now the oldest member of our group, in less than two weeks she will celebrate her 13th birthday. For someone that old she is spry and sharp as a tack. All of us greatly admire Hope; no one else in the flock has experienced life as she has. We never fail to enjoy the tales that she has to tell. Somehow the shepherds (the old bearded guy and the nice lady) seem to admire her too. She is special!

Her mother was Candice and she was one of the very first lambs ever born on this farm. Candice was a very good mom. However, she became sick when she was pregnant with Hope. Hope was born a triplet, but sadly her two brothers were dead at birth. Her mom never got better and died a couple of days after Hope’s arrival. As a result, Hope was raised by the shepherds (and that was back in the days when they did not know much at all)! Because she was an orphan Hope got to spend the first couple of weeks of her life in the barn that the shepherds call “The House”. To this day she is the only sheep in the flock who has been there for any long space of time. (There are a few of us who have been there for a couple of minutes, but only because we were not feeling well. As a result the others who were there briefly do not remember much about “The House”.) Hope knows what goes on up there. Her knowledge makes her special. Sometimes we even think that she believes that she might be one of those “people”. When the weather is good and we go out to pasture she is almost always the last out the door. I think she feels sorry for the old bearded guy and wants to make sure that he does not get lost on the way to breakfast.

Hope in the middle of breakfast. You can see why they make us wear coats!

Hope in the middle of breakfast. You can see why they make us wear coats!

Hope is not a very large sheep compared to most of us. I think she may have even shrunk a little in recent years. She has white wool (like my mom, Mindy) but her dad was the famous Cimarron (apparently a bit of a rogue). He was the first colored ram in our flock. So when Hope has lambs she can have either white or colored. She seems to love them all just as well. It has been a few years since the shepherds asked Hope to have any lambs. She is now retired, which means she gets to graze, eat and snooze as much as she likes. She was supposed to be retired earlier, but she decided to have one last fling in the spring of 2005. Unbeknownst to the shepherds, she and a few of her retired girlfriends invited the rams over for a party one evening in April. Much to everyone’s surprise she had a couple of lambs, Shucks and Serendipity, that September. Now she has decided that was enough. Hope has outlived all of her children, but there are many grandchildren in the flock, one of whom is that friendly ram, Nicely Nicely.

I think you can see that Hope is indeed special. She makes sure the shepherds know how to get out to pasture every day. After many, many years she still gets to taste-test all the hay before the shepherds feed us, everyday during the winter. She gets treats every evening. (I think she gets even more than I do!  How she does that I do not know, because she is very calm about it and not pushy at all.) Even the grumpy old bearded guy gives here extra grain! I think you can see that we all love and admire Hope.