We've been fencing, building barns and prepping for the sheep.
Honestly, I've hardly touched my computer once I left the office and it's been kind of nice.
But, the sheep have arrived and the events of this week are worth a laugh.
We've had the sheep for almost a week now, and we're learning as we go. We keep tweaking the fence and trying to keep coyotes out. We've been searching for small squares of hay and watching what they munch on in the field.
What i didn't really count on was Grover deciding the sheep were his new playmates.
We let the dogs out the other night, like we had every night since the sheep arrived, but Grover decided to jump right through the electric fence to get in with the sheep.
By the time I heard him barking at the sheep, I ran out to the field in time to see one of the bigger sheep charge Grover and roll him.
Grover jumped up, tail wagging, and barked as if to say "That was fun, do it again!"
The youngest of the sheep, who has yet to be named, was scared enough to bolt through the electric fence, through the larger field fence and right out into the next field.
We searched for hours the first night with no luck, so we tried again the next morning. We found him in a ravine and instead of staying in the more gently sloping part, he ran into the steep, rocky areas. When we got close enough to give him some sweet feed, which he was practically eating out of my boyfriend's hand, he bolted out into the next field and the next, then down yet another steep, rocky hill.
It was about that time I considered just letting him go to fend for himself against the coyotes. M at least had the good sense to ignore my near meltdown and just keep going.
We were into another farmer's field and then another. We decided not to try to climb through an electric fence, instead just climbing through barbed wire and eventually found someone's cattle coral that we thought we could drive the sheep into, but he went down a very steep and rocky hill instead.
Since the little guy was apparently more afraid of me than M, we used that to push him in the direction we wanted, which at one point involved M stuck on a very, very steep and rocky section of a hill. I probably would have had a full on meltdown at that point and tumbled down with broken bones, but he made it across.
When we were just below the hill from the sheep pen, the runaway sheep decided to bolt due south from where we wanted him to go.
At this point, we were close to four hours into the chase. Not sure if was just that M had had enough or that he was just in a better position, but M managed to tackle the little guy. And by little, I mean roughly 100 pounds. He wrestled the harness on, but the sheep was having none of that. With the harness on, the sheep was throwing himself on the ground, rolling downhill, thrashing around and generally flipping out.
We sat in the field with him, while he calmed down and eventually, boyfriend went to get the car. I somehow managed to get him about halfway up the hill to meet the car. I was feeling pretty accomplished at getting him to walk up the hill, which was a lot harder then it sounds.
Once in, I had to lay on him to keep him from flailing all over. I was laying on top of a sheep, with my hip bone banging against the floor of to car while going up the very bumpy field road, trying to call the guy I was late to interview.
It was something I had not, in my life, imagined I'd be doing. But, I was also worried about getting kicked by an animal with powerful hooves who doesn't weigh all that much less than I do. The last thing we needed was to add a trip to the ER to our day.
I'd already texted my boss, while standing in a field, that at the very least I'd be late because I was chasing a runaway sheep. His response? "Go ahead and take a personal day. Merry shepherding!"
M had to lift him out of the car so there'd be less flailing and he was chasing me since I had refilled the bucket of sweet feed and about five hours after the chase started, he merrily joined his three pals.
All through the search and chase, I was pretty glad I'd bought some steel toed boots, but since they aren't fully broken in, I had blistered by the end and didn't think I could walk one more step.
M and I both slept like rocks that night and I woke up the next day with muscles I didn't existed that were aching.
Suffice it to say, we learned some lessons and will continues to do so. After all, we did just lose, find, tackle and bring home a sheep in our first week of shepherding. Here's to hoping we master this shepherding thing eventually.
Besides, the dogs lost interest in the chickens eventually, hopefully they lose interest in the sheep too. Grover has a few spots of singed fur, so maybe he learned a lesson about jumping through electric fences. And we're hoping we can cash in on Gidget's Aussie shepherd/collie genes and turn her into a proper herding dog. Wouldn't that be nice?
How's your life been lately?