Well, the ram has punched his ticket. I went out Friday morning to open the barn door and let the sheep out. Part of this ritual is a walk through the sheep to see if any lambs have arrived over night. None have as of yet, but that doesn’t negate the importance of the process. The ram has been giving me the evil eye and thinking about challenging me, so I always have my handy dissuader (an axe handle we found at Grandma Lane’s house that we think was Grandpa’s interruder deterrent) with me. Prior to Friday, simply taking a ready stance and reminding the ram that I was prepared had been sufficient. Friday, he decided to test me. Here’s the problem. My bluff is exactly that – a bluff. If hitting him with an axe handle broadside across his nose, ears and head is insufficient to deter him, he will win. He won.
No, I didn’t go down, and he only solidly connected once, but this was only because he insisted on backing up half the length of the barn to get a good solid running start at me. This gave me time to make sure my swing was ready and accurate, and also gave me time to keep backing up. Yes, experts will say I should have stood my ground and humiliated him into submission, but really, when he is just coming right through good solidly connecting full force whacks to the head with an axe handle, I don’t have a prayer of actually winning. My main goal was to minimize bodily damage, keep my feet, and get the heck out of there. I succeeded in all three, emerging with only a very impressive knot and accompanying bruise on my left thigh and some muscle soreness, probably from adrenaline. Yes, I was shaking all over by the time I got through the door.
So, the ram has punched his ticket. This will be his last season on the farm. We are planning to keep a ram lamb from one of our gentle friendly Kahtadin cross ewes. They have consistently mellow temperaments. As soon as that ram lamb is about 9 months old, this ram is going to go in the freezer. He’ll make very nice sausage. In the meantime, I don’t go out to the barn without the dogs. He’s still afraid of the dogs.