Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: Fall Frolic
By Allison Egley
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"Oh, hi. I'm not used to visitors this time of year. Most people want to come in the spring, when the baby lambs are born.
"Ah. I see. You want to learn about the process from the beginning. Well, in that case, you have come at the right time. Let's take a walk outside.
"You smell that? The crisp leaves, the changing colors, cooler temperatures; yes, fall is in the air. That means it's almost time for my sheep here to breed. And that's exactly why you're here, isn't it? You know, it's funny sometimes. When the weather gets cooler, I can almost see the ewes perk up. They seem to hold their heads higher, and walk with a bounce in their step. Sometimes Iím sure I can see their eyelids batting at a male. Sheep flirting, if you will.... or would that be frolicking?
"I think it's funny how all the Christmas manger scenes have lambs in them. Or sure, there's the occasional lamb born 'out of season,' but, as I mentioned earlier, most lambs are born in the spring. There are ways to get sheep to breed so you can have fall lambs, but I've tried them, and I've determined it's much better to just let nature take its course.
"Well, here we are, out in the pasture. I've got over 100 sheep to keep track of. People tend to think sheep are dumb, but it's not that they're stupid. It's just that they will follow other sheep to a fault, even if he leads them in the wrong direction. Just watch for a bit, and you'll see what I mean. Look over there. See that sheep? Now watch the ones around it. They'll follow.
"That's part of my purpose. If I see them heading in the wrong direction, I can send my dog out, and he'll help get them going in the right direction.
"We're a lot like sheep, you know. We wander around and then follow whatever catches our interest, whether it's good for us or not. Sometimes we may lead others astray also. Then the Shepherd has to get our attention and bring us back.
"I suppose we should get back on the topic at hand, though. You're interested in breeding and preparing for winter, right? Well, to be honest, I can't tell you a whole lot about breeding. I can tell you when a ewe is about ready to breed, and I can tell you when she's pregnant. After the lamb is born in the spring, then I might be able to tell you who the father is, or at least narrow it down, based on the lamb's coloring. But that's about it.
"Their wool is getting thicker, since I shear them in the spring. That way they'll be nice and warm in the winter, and when spring comes again, I'll shear them so they don't get too hot in the summer.
"In the winter, I have to make sure they stay warm enough, even with their thick wool coats. And if there's that rare winter lamb, I have to take extra precautions to keep him warm.
"So in fall, there's really not a whole lot to do, other than the basics. In a way, fall is my favorite season though, because I can just enjoy my sheep without worrying about the heat or the cold, or new lambs, or shearing. It's my time to look down and say 'Hey look. These are my sheep. Aren't they cute?' And wouldn't you know it, just when I'm thinking about how wonderful my sheep are, one of them starts to go off course, and the others follow, and I have to send in the dog.
"I wonder if God is like that; looking down on His creation and saying 'Hey look at these. Aren't they great?' But then we go our own way, and God has to reel us back in, whether we want it or not.
"But you know, God knows best, and He loves us. That's why He's the shepherd and we are His sheep. And that's why He sent His Lamb to save us."
And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
This One will be our peace
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