Jordan said "Mom, we did shut that gate this morning, right?!" I said "Yeah, I remember locking as we left." Jordan, "So how did it get opened?" Me, "I have no idea."
The two of us investigated the gate, but there were no clues. Then we noticed that Lilly was limping, badly. Jeremy was just getting home, so we waited for him before tending to Lilly. As we were walking down, Eric (our neighbor) came by and said "One of your sheep is limping." We told him we knew and were going to see what was wrong. He said, "I was worried that she had a broken leg or something. So I jumped in to take a look and didn't see anything wrong." Gate mystery solved. Eric had opened the gate to get to the pole barn and Lilly. The chickens were probably all down in the orchard so he didn't think to close the gate again. We thanked Eric for looking in on Lilly.
Even with a bum foot, Lilly as hard to catch. Normally she is a calm animal. I suppose that having a injury was making her skittish. Finally Jeremy grabbed her and I started in on her foot. After clearing the dirt and trimming some hoof, there didn't seem to be anything wrong. No hoof-rot, no cuts, no broken bones - nothing. I went a head and trimmed up the rest of that hoof and we let her go. Strange.
Jordan and I went up to make dinner while Jeremy finished up the rest of the chores. When he came inside he announced "I am the chicken whisperer." "How's that?" I asked. "All the chickens are back in their run." That is actually amazing since it was still early, a couple hours from sunset and the chickens were scattered all over the property. Jeremy wouldn't give an details, preferring to keep his skills a secret.
Update on Lilly - She continued to limp for a couple of days but by the weekend was walking normally. Maybe she sprained an ankle.