Prior to leaving for Australia in August 2006, I called upon a local butcher, Patrick Charvet, to spend a morning slaughtering my existing flock of sheep (with my active participation in the events). But we refrained from killing a ewe and three tiny lambs. Shortly before I left for Australia, these remnants of my flock escaped from Gamone, maybe because they smelt blood in the air. In fact, escaping wasn't difficult, since my donkey Moshe (who often shared paddocks with sheep) had the habit of leaning against the fencing, to eat greener grass on the other side, and my once-robust paddocks at Gamone had deteriorated to the point of being like a prison without padlocks.
A few days ago, I was surprised by this scene up behind my house:
The ewe and the three tiny lambs of August 2006 have now evolved into a flock of nine animals. Totally wild.
As I walk slowly towards them, they wander slowly away from me. And they usually disappear over the crest of the hill behind my house, in the direction of their familiar mountainous abode above Pont-en-Royans.
What can you do with such animals? The immediate obvious answer is: Nothing. Let them be! But this is an unsatisfactory answer for two reasons: (a) It's illegal to "own" undeclared wild sheep. (b) These animals could stray onto the road and provoke an accident.
So, I would like to eliminate them. But how? That's a good question. The only solution, I fear, will consist of my asking officially the gendarmerie to authorize the physical elimination of all these wild sheep with the technical assistance of local hunters.
Aussie readers at such-and-such a refined Sydney golf club might make fun of the fact that my handful of sheep could cause problems here in France. I could use a nice word such as Antipodes to designate our respective viewpoints, but the truth of the matter is that we're not really living on the same planet.