There are times in the life of a farmer when tough decisions have to be made. Today was one of those times. Norm and I took Arthur to the auction house to sell.
Yes, Arthur was Jody’s beloved baby; I rescued him from the Farm two years ago as a child of an unwilling mother who managed to break his leg while rejecting him. Jody fell in love him and adopted him; she mended his leg, fed him and loved him. When he was large enough to be outside, we moved him here to keep Soot, (my black lamb) company. When Jody was over to visit, she would go to the fence and talk to him and pet him.
We got a lovely fleece from Arthur last year that I gave Jody to spin. We also got a lovely fleece for Jody this year.
However, sometime during the summer last year, Candy started complaining about Arthur’s attitude. He started pushing her around when she went in to do chores, so she refused to go into the sheep side of the barn but asked Wayne to do so when it was needed.
Then Arthur started to push me around. It got so that I would take a bucket in and whack him on the side of the face to keep him from flattening me against the wall. I started worrying about the girls and warned them never to go in with him, but to pet him through the fence. But he started to butt at them through the fence.
It got so that Norm and Wayne were the only ones who could get through to him. If he got pushy, they could smack him with a stick or a bucket or a hand and he would back off.
We discussed this problem with Jody who, at this time was living in the Cities with her Mom; there was no way that she could take him home with her. Jody told me late this fall that we should sell him and take the money for the work that Norm has done to care for him.
We chose to wait until shearing was done so that we (Jody, actually) could have his fleece.
Today Norm and I loaded Arthur up in the trailer and traveled to the auction house to deliver him for sale tomorrow. Unfortunately he will be sold for meat. I feel very badly about that, but also feel that in a way, it’s his fault. Arthur could have had a long and happy life here at Ash Lane Farm if he had behaved himself.
It was difficult loading him in one way; we had gotten a small bucket of feed to lure him in and put some in the trailer to get him to jump in. I held the bucket and he spent more time trying to push ME than to eat the grain in the bucket. He finally got into the trailer with Norm’s encouragement.
When we got to the auction house, we backed up to the gate to let him out of the trailer. He would not get out because he was too busy trying to get at me instead of hoping out; the auctioneer assistant had to lean in and hit him on the rump to get him out of the trailer. After the gate was closed, Norm and the assistant opened another gate to put him into a pen and had a bucket of grain to encourage him.
Arthur turned to me, standing on the outside of the gate and raised on his hind legs and banged into the gate, trying to get at me instead of following a bucket of grain.
Selling him was a wise choice but I still feel badly about it.
Poor Soot is alone, now, and lonesome – but hopefully she will have a little one in less than a month to keep her company. After all, she and Arthur were very often butting heads and trying to prove who was boss, so it will be less stressful on her without him around.
Good-bye, Arthur – we enjoyed you while you were here.