Here is my new Clun Forest ram, Cadbury, in the sunshine. You can see how dirty his fleece is (with luck the rain will wash him clean this fall) and the milk-chocolate color of his handsome face. Behind him are two of this year’s lambs, with the rich black points I admire. Ah well. I’m sure eventually I’ll get over it.
What you can’t see is that his marking harness has come loose. Though I trussed him like a roast ready for the oven, I did not think to tie the ends of the straps. Now the buckles have worked themselves loose. By evening the harness was swinging slackly under his chest.
I do not know how to fix this when he’s on pasture and I can’t trap him against a wall. I did try sneaking up on him. Forget it. I tried lunging for the straps. I was able to catch hold but when he bolted in fright I was instantly yanked off my feet, body surfing through the grass in his wake for twenty feet before I let go.
It seems to me I need a lariat. As a child I was so enamored of horse stories set in the West that I decided I had to learn to rope. Dad took me to the hardware store and we bought a length of sisal. Dad must have fashioned the lariat. There were no cattle in our manicured Connecticut suburb, so I practiced on oddments around the yard. I could eventually snare the handlebars of my bike, resting motionless on its kickstand. As I regularly pretended my bike was a horse, this meager accomplishment was satisfying.
However I’m not sure that more than forty years later, this experience will help me catch my ram.