I'm sitting on the couch, looking out the window and watching the lambpede. The little sheep suddenly decide to tear around the pasture, jumping and leaping and chasing each other ... a whole little herd of little sheep, moving as one. It's a cheering sight.
All winter, the sheep live in a small enclosed area, with straw spread out on the ground to keep them dry and warm. Unfortunately, the straw prevents grass from growing, and so in the spring they stand at the fence gazing longingly at the green grass on the other side.
It's important to let the pasture grass grow a bit before the sheep are turned out to eat it, as well, or they'll eat all the young shoots and the grass won't get a chance to grow at all. This makes the wait that much more painful for them, I'm sure, as they can see all that beautiful green tenderness just out of reach, while they are forced to eat dry old winter hay.
A few days ago, we finally opened up the pasture for them. We took a round bale over in the bobcat, up to the top of a hill. The bale strings were removed, and we pushed it down the incline, watching it unroll on its way down the slope. The sheep were so anxious to get at the fresh bale, they were trying to eat it while it was being driven through the pasture!
Once the bobcat was clear of the gate, I attempted to direct the sheep towards the opening. Being sheep, it took them awhile to figure all of this out, but once they did, they headed straight for the gate. Brownie, one of the purebred Icelandic ewes, actually leaped in the air, kicked her heels, and galloped into the pasture.
I keep reliving that moment in my mind: the sight of a full grown sheep (one who is normally very restrained and almost regal in her bearing) racing across the field, jumping with unbridled joy and excitement at the sheer pleasure of having fresh grass to eat ... now that is something to hold onto.