I've learned a lot from our flock ram. I've learned not to forget where you are when you look the other way. I've learned not to bend over if he's within 20 yards. I've learned that when you forget any of these things and get plastered from behind, it hurts! Especially if you're 58 years old and have no clue it's coming- kind of like a quarterback getting blindsided because his lineman missed a block. Ouch!
I've also learned perhaps the most important lesson of all from watching our ram. Actually it's two lessons. First, don't assume someone or something, like a sheep, is stupid just because everybody says it is. And most importantly, sometimes it does pay to keep beating your head against the wall! Or to put it in terms my ram would understand, those that give up too soon don't break the gate!
Ramiswamy, that's the ram, named after a former Purdue official who left about the time we got the ram to become a Dean (and if you're reading out in Oregon, doc, it's actually a term of endearment- you did a great job here- I only name my sheep after people I like)- anyway, as I was saying, Ramiswamy lives in a six-foot wide by 30-foot long pen during the off-season. He has big ewes on one side, and young lambs on the other. The pen is made of treated one-by-fours, screwed into the wood.
It wasn't long before I noticed a piece of wood lying in his pen. I quickly determined that came from a gate used to cover a hole his predecessor had made on the pen to the ewe's side. Then one day I noticed there was a whole board missing in the gate. So I put up another gate. Yes, that just might have been the time I forget where I was! Pow!
He soon worked that gate loose and left it leaning in a tent-shape. I left it for a while. Heck, I wasn't going to forget where I was twice in a week. First time- shame on you; second time, shame on me!
Then the real fun began. Second board up from the bottom on the lamb side- a perfectly good one-by-four- the best you can buy at Lowe's, suddenly came loose on one end. I'm figuring it had some help. The sucker shoved the screws out! So I nailed it back.
A week later, he did it again, always at night- he doesn't perform for an audience when he's tearing stuff up- who said he was stupid? I got more nails, big heavy nails, and socked it back in.
Next week, it's the other end of the board! He's shoved so hard that he knocked the screws loose and left it dangling of that post. All this time he never got out, nor did any lambs get in- wise choice, lambs!
Once again, more nails, more hammering. Surely that will last him until the end of July, when the ewes can have him back. Good riddance!
No, hang on a minute. The topper! Last week I took a double-take on that same second board from the bottom. It was still nailed in, but now there is a definite bow about two feet from one post. There just happens to be a knot there.
Next day, it's bowed more. It's just a matter of time. My wife told me I might as well go buy the board and replace it before he breaks it. What? And spoil his fun? I want to see just how determined he is.
I figure I know how this one will turn out- another trip to Lowes. I'll get a board without knots, maybe a steel girder.
Somewhere in there is a message. If I'd have tried as hard at that ram , and not given up without one more try, I wonder how many things in 58 years I would have accomplished that I let slip through my fingers?
No wonder a certain truck brand calls their vehicles 'Ram-tough.' I wonder if they would like a live mascot?