Our faithful and skilled gardeners, Lukas and Franz, have brought a great and unusual surprise to the ITI: 18 sheep and goats, on loan from a nearby farmer, to tend to our Schloss’s fall garden overgrowth!
If it seems like a joke to you at first read, you are in good company. As a few of us walked to Thursday night’s lecture (on the Filioque, given by our own Dr. Alan Fimister), one of the students remarked that we were now pasturing sheep at the ITI. Trying to avoid being “the gullible one,” most chose to assume it was a joke where we didn’t quite get the punchline, and thus quietly and courteously laughed the comment into silence.
As we have learned, however, since receiving the e-mail announcement this morning notifying us of our new visitors, it is a fairly common practice for owners of sheep to lend them out for a mutually beneficial temporary situation, where the sheep have plentiful greenery to eat, and large gardens get their necessary–and otherwise laborious–trimming. Our wise gardeners sought to take advantage of this practice.
So, behind our fairytale castle, in our beautiful orchard, a small herd of sheep and goats can be seen grazing at any time of the day for the next few weeks. They have found special favour with all of the ITI’s children–who spent the better part of the late afternoon inspecting and petting the curious and contented creatures.
It is true that the small things bring much joy, and, for that reason, it seems the sheep will benefit more than the garden. This is simply one more way God seems to be inviting us all to look anew at the world, with the eyes and heart of a child, fascinated and delighted at both his creation and the humorous and quaint oddity of sheep in a university’s backyard.
(Although, I must say, they are certainly doing an excellent practical job of being hungry and responding to this need accordingly, to the benefit of our grounds—there is a lot of top-notch grazing going on in our little pasture! We are already so proud of them..).