By Pattrice Jones Matisse came to VINE sanctuary as a juvenile this past spring after being evicted from a homeless encampment. He's a semi-feral bird who normally spends all day in a wooded area near the pigeon aviary, coming inside to sleep only at the last minute before dark.
Matisse encountered snow for the first time this winter and was not happy to make its acquaintance. While I always hesitate to say that I know what another animal is feeling, I feel safe in saying that Matisse hates snow. But he hates being cooped up even more, and so we see him, almost every day, hitching a ride on somebody's wooly back.
Today, I looked out my window early in the morning, just in time to see the ewe called Lemon arriving at the hay ring with Matisse perched on her back. The hay ring is in the middle of the pasture, quite a distance from the barn, but he had evidently ridden all the way. I would soon see how he managed that.
As Lemon munched her breakfast hay, Matisse hopped off and scratched the ground for seeds. After Lemon had her fill, she turned to go-and then waited for Matisse to hop on! She then walked very slowly down a slight slope. Sheep bound easily up and down rocky hillsides. There was no need for Lemon to step so slowly and carefully, except that Matisse was perched on her back. Each time the rooster lost his balance and began to flap his wings, Lemon stopped and waited until he was settled again before taking another careful step. In this way, they proceeded to the cleared driveway, where they took a break, and then on toward the pigeon aviary.