Sharing the pastures with all creatures … small

When you raise small livestock as appealing and mellow as Soay sheep, you tend to forget that even smaller animals live right alongside them.  The other day I was rummaging through our electronic photo “scrapbooks” looking for pictures of one of our rams who is going to a new home in the next few weeks when what should jump off the page but this:

Hitching a ride on a Soay ram's horn

Catching a ride on a Soay ram's horn

At the time I took this picture last September, I completely missed the butterfly. No clue what kind it is. Because I was concentrating on the ram and didn’t even notice his pasture companion, I did not get a nicely focused shot of the little aviator. Here’s the best I can do:

The hitchhiker

The hitchhiker

Note to anyone concerned about whether Soay sheep are more “skittish” or flighty than commercial sheep.  Any animal, especially a ram, that will stand still this close for its picture and not even disturb its passenger is calm enough for me!

As small as the butterfly is, it is not the smallest creature I’ve seen sharing space with our small sheep. About the same time last fall that I unknowingly took the butterfly’s picture, I got a call one day from Shawn, who was moving a water tank down in the rams’ pasture.  He announced that the tank had morphed into an aquatic maternity ward.  As loyal readers will recall, we already have a dandy maternity ward for our ewes, complete with jugs and a nursery where the youngest lambs can start socializing in a protected setting, but I don’t think even our spacious birthing quarters could have contained this little guy:

Big hand, wee frog

Big hand, wee frog

Just in case you think that’s a piece of bark next to Shawn’s callouses,



Perhaps this fellow, when he grew up, was one of the Three [Dozen] Tenors who serenaded us all spring as they courted the lady frogs in the area. Makes me kind of wistful for their younger days, when they were content to sit on Shawn’s hand and watch the sheep munching away.

Happy summer!

For now …

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