Jack Knox: The three Ewedinis join ranks of livestock on the lam in Metchosin

First there was Metchosin Moodini, the escaped cow. Now it’s the Metchosin Ewedinis.

That’s what farm folk are calling three renegade sheep that have been (and here I apologize, for this is too easy) on the lam for 13 days.

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OK, this is not the most important news story of our time. It’s not about politics, pipelines, protests or any of the other topics that inspire people to explode in the kind of purple-faced rage more often associated with Don Cherry stepping in a Moodini pie.

But it is the most Metchosin story you will read today. Really, Jesse Roper should write a song about it.

The yarn goes back four weeks to when Anita and Gordon Telford brought the sheep, then two months old, to their rural property. On Day One, one of the animals made a short-lived break for freedom, which in retrospect might have been foreshadowing.

Two weeks ago, all three took off. Maybe somebody left a gate open, or maybe it blew open in the wind. Whatever the case, the animals seized the opportunity and got the flock out of there.

Gordon figured one made a run for it and the other two followed because they were, well, sheep.

The Telfords glanced out the window just in time to see the Ewedinis disappear down the driveway before crossing a park and at least two other farm properties.

The cocky critters have eluded seizure ever since, swaggering down Metchosin Road (somebody snapped a photo from a car), helping themselves to crops, tipping cows, stealing tractors. “It has been an adventure,” Anita says.

The trio have come tantalizingly close to recapture, only to pull the wool over the eyes of their pursuers.

A woman with a trained sheepdog almost caught them Sunday night, but the escapees hurdled fences, then swam across a pond.

Swim? Sheep?

Yes, for they are hair sheep, not wool sheep, meaning they shed naturally instead of being shorn. Hair sheep can swim, where wool sheep get weighed down and drown.

Whether hairy or woolly, the behaviour of the Ewedinis has been surprising. Aren’t sheep supposed to be docile?

“Yes, that’s why we didn’t get goats,” says Anita.

Ah, but maybe the Telfords should have paid more attention to the tale of Metchosin Moodini, another supposedly tame farm animal who went rogue.

Moodini, an Angus-Hereford heifer, gained fame in 2017 after hurdling a Happy Valley Road hedge and hot-hoofing it into the woods, where she spent several months living at large.

They never did catch her. One day, she simply surrendered, showing up in the farmyard on her own.

Word is she came back pregnant, though there’s no truth to the rumour that the calf came out half-cow, half-deer.

Moodini became the stuff of legend, or at least souvenir T-shirt.

At last fall’s Metchosin Day, local artist Heather Buchanan sold a stylish, suitable-for-framing Moodini poster that ensured the cow would live on well after the barbecue cooled.

Few expect the Ewedinis to last that long. The Telfords were to be out with their friend with the sheepdog again Monday night.

“Eventually we’ll catch them,” Gordon said.

Well, either that or the black bear that lives in the Taylor Road area will.

What is it about bucolic Metchosin that inspires previously placid livestock to take that kind of risk, to go all Shawshanksteak Redemption instead of staying safely inside the fence?

Perhaps it’s the proximity to William Head prison, where the history of escapes includes a 1982 break-out in which an inmate paddled away in a coffin being used as a prop in the play Dracula (it took 18 months to catch him).

Or perhaps it’s the stubborn independence of a community that remains defiantly rural even as the rest of Dysfunction-By-The-Sea sprawls around it.

“I think life is just so good in Metchosin,” says Anita, and she is right.

Metchosin is the kind of place where your neighbours will help you search for escaped sheep, or loan you a truck, or help tip a government official down a well.

It’s also the kind of place where outlaw livestock become folk heroes.

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