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Lamb's Quarters

Posted 7/26/2012 11:43am by Eugene Wyatt.

Lambs in Lamb's Quarters at Dusk

I photographed the lambs and walked over to the ewe's camp but they weren't there and they are always there at this time of day—maybe something was wrong—I got on my tractor and drove to look for them. The flock was a half mile out in the far field, they seemed normal from a distance, I called but they ignored me—I shook my head and looked at them as if to say, "If you want to spend the night out..."—I turned and drove back to the barn through thick brush beside their camp.  

But hearing me approach, a coyote ran out of the brush—it was fast, the light was dim—at first I thought it was a low flying bird but it was too big and too fast. It ran about 35 yards across the nibbled down ram paddock and stopped to look at me: its front legs straight, rear legs in a crouch, back arched, ears erect...looking intently. Damn! I had no gun, I yelled, that spooked it; it ran 20 more yards then stopped to look back at me. I stood and raised my Nikon to my eye but before I could click the shutter it was gone into the dimness.

That's why the ewes weren't in camp; if they didn't see the coyote they sensed its danger lurking in the brush next to the camp where they have water. Something was out of order, they felt threatened, they left.

I stopped and got off the tractor, gingerly stepped over the hot fence into the ewe's deserted camp and started to walk out to them wondering if they'd come back in with me.  

As I approached I called out the litany they know so well, "Sheep, sheep, jong sheep. O jong (young), O good, O beegs (big) O sheep..." I got to within 50 feet of the leaders then I turned and walked back toward their camp. The leading sheep began to follow me—it worked—the leaders were followed by the flock; I was lucky,  even if they hadn't followed, I was lucky to have sheep. Up the slight rise to the camp we walked; beside me I heard breaths and many hooves softly impacting the damp ground, the younger ones dashed past me and ahead they frolicked, they cavorted, they jumped and turned in air. They were there. I was there. I was in a bouquet.