Daily Archives: March 12, 2012

Sheep Smiles

sketches of sheep

"Sheep Smiles", colored pencil by Kerry McFall

The OSU Sheep Barns are literally a five minute drive up the hill from downtown Corvallis, so I’m not sure why it’s been at least 10 years since we ventured up there.  But the spirit moved us this weekend, so we treated ourselves to watching the wonders and terrors of nature at work.

The layout is a little different than it was years back – fences keep you way back, and there are lots of signs about germ transmission, and hand-washing stations… but the smell of sheep poop still pervades the cold damp air, and there’s plenty of bleating and baaing.  The lambing season is upon us, so it’s a popular outing for families with small children.  I’m convinced that lambs receive random signals from outer space which send them leaping and jumping for no apparent reason, surprising even themselves from the look of it.  “Gamboling” is just the perfect word for that.  The mother sheep look a bit dazed, but the shape of their mouths makes it look like they are smiling!

The pregnant ewes, some of them literally wider than they are high, even seem to smile… maybe they spike their hay up there, because it sure looks miserable to me.  Ah, sweet mystery of life – what a convoluted process, this birthing and dying!