Truffle, of course, tried every trick not to go. He became an inert lump ("I can't walk!"); threw himself down on his side with his legs extended ("I am dead"); jumped ("If I can just catch you with your attention diverted for a sec..."). When we put him in his well-hayed, secure compartment, he gave me a final kiss right on the mouth, then said his "meeh-ww" a few times from behind the window. I waved them all goodbye and went to check on the flock that stayed here. They were fine - not like they were when Winter left. Strangely, I don't feel sad that there is no Truffle in the barn now.
Tomorrow Louie and I set up our breeding pens. We bought two 16-foot cattle panels. One of them will divide the barn in half, and get secured to the floor with eye hooks. The other panel, we'll cut in half and attach to the first one perpendicularly. It will serve as a gate while also stabilizing the long panel, and make a private pen for Blossom, the ewe lamb who was born in the spring this year. She is too small to breed yet so I need to keep the boys away from her. The other two pens will serve as nuptial space for the breeding pairs - Matilda and Ram-Beaux in one, and Marsha and Coffee, Jr. in the other. Totally depraved of me to make a little girl lamb watch the x-rated activity in the other pens!
The festivities of the breeding season are about to start: The boys are sniffing the ewes and curling their lips. When I check under their bellies for urinary tract health, they look at me with amour in their eyes. Not too long now before the girls being their estrus cycle, and then a long winter of settling in with their 5-month pregnancy.