This is Maa-Maat. She can do tricks. She plays her little piano and her little drum. She rings her cowbell and jumps through her hoop. She can even do a sheep version of moon walking.
One afternoon a while back, I was down at the barn getting feed and hay ready to take to the horses in the back pastures. The lambs were out of their stall, and three of them were off grazing up on the hill. Not Maa-Maat, though. She was hanging around the barn to keep an eye out should I forget to latch the door to the feed stall.
It only takes her an instant to dash in and throw herself headfirst into the nearest open feed bag. She doesn’t care if it’s lamb feed or horse feed or poultry feed or chicken scratch. It’s all the same to her—edible. And once she gets her head in a bag, it is not easy to get her out. She stiffens up her neck and somehow manages to concentrate her weight it’s all you can do to push and pull and tug and shove her back out into the aisle.
By the time I got the grain buckets filled and sorted, she wasn’t at the front of the barn, so I figured she had given up and gone out to graze with the others. I loaded the buckets into the back of The Red Thing and tied them down. I called to Checkers, and she got in The Red Thing. I got into The Red Thing.
I started it up, put it in gear, and we were ready to go when—
The first thing Checkers did was jump in my lap and start barking to alert me there was a problem.
At this point, I was trying to pry open Maa-Maat’s mouth to get the key so I could turn the engine off. Since the Red Thing was in gear and running, I was also trying to hold onto Checkers so she wouldn’t slip down and hit the accelerator.
Finally, I got the key away from Maa-Maat and turned off the engine. As you can see, the floorboard isn’t very wide and Maa-Maat isn’t very narrow so there was no way she could turn around. She was going to have to walk all the way through and out the other side.
I got out.
Checkers got out.
After checking if the gear shift was edible—it wasn’t—and checking if the steering wheel was edible—it wasn’t, Maa-Maat finally got out.
Good! Disaster averted. Just to be on the safe side, I grabbed a little bit of grain and teased Maa-Maat into the barn with it. While she was busy gobbling it up, I ran to the Red Thing and got in. Checkers ran to the Red Thing and got in.
But before we could get away, Maa-Maat ran to the Red Thing and got in.
This time it went faster: I got out of the Red Thing. Checkers got out of the Red Thing. Maa-Maat got out of the Red Thing. I ran into the barn and scattered a bit more grain down the aisle then raced back to the Red Thing.
This time we made it—almost.
I came around the other end of the barn, and there she was in the middle of the road waiting for us.
I made a quick U-turn and circled around to the other end of the barn. Maa-Maat raced down the aisle, and there she was again, blocking the road.
Another U-turn. Another Maa-Maat block.
Sometimes it’s difficult to out-smart a sheep, but it’s not impossible. The next time, instead of making a U-turn and going around the barn, I made a complete 360 degree turn. As Checkers and I drove past, I could see Maa-Maat at the far end of the barn, waiting for us.