I always dread this particular day in the shepherding calendar: our appointment with the butcher. It's not that I dislike our butcher. In fact, I am very grateful that we have such a good facility within driving distance. I took sheep to an auction once, and vowed I would never do it again. This way, they are literally in clover until the moment they are loaded in the truck.
It is more that I dread the hard decisions that need to be made. As a responsible shepherd, I know I need to make those choices, for the good of the animals and the flock, but it doesn't make it any easier.
However, the whole farm seems to breathe a sigh of relief with the release of the pressure. We are back down to the number (roughly a dozen) that the farm -- and its farmers -- can handle over the winter.
We have learned the hard way that it is really important for us to know our limits.