Saturday, August 04, 2007

Why is that sheep baaing?

Check on a sheep baaing, check on any sheep baaing!
In this hot weather, we shepherds need to be vigilant. Especially us.
We raise Shetland know.....the ones who can get into trouble. Yesterday was hot. Stinky hot. Dry and dusty.
I let the sheep into the meadow, where there is grass the color of green, and lots of shade. I counted them up to about 40 then went back to the barn to see where the rest were.
They were milling in the barn area waiting for me to open the gates to the sahara. The promised land where they found something that tasted like grass the day before.
So I fed out some hay in the barn to the beggars. Dropping most of a bale on the other side of the fence panels we use to control sheep flow in the barn. They look like the corral panels used for cows...but are sheep sized.
I did let the sheep out, and heard some baaing on the otherside of the creekbed in the far meadow. Thinking it was a ewe and lambs that just discovered she was alone....I went back in the house.
Yes, we do run air-conditioners in this heat. The dogs all lounge around during the day, and even the cats come back in in the heat of the day.
Molly the goose honks to come in too....but I draw the line at feathers and goose-shit.
When I went back out to draw more water for the sheep, I heard a sheep baaing. "Sheeep! Everyone's over here." the heat muddled my mind. Of course the baaing sheep could understand what I was saying....I called "sheeeeepppp".
We got a brief shower late in the day. Thank you for those prayers. Most of those pop-up showers had missed us. We got 1/10 of an inch....not enough to water the grass, but enough to get the dust out of the air. Your mouth actually feels gritty after a month without rain.
I went out during the shower and closed the gates. The sheep were sheltered in the barn....not knowing what that stuff was falling from the sky. So I ran and closed the gates to the sahara, and the south meadow. I was sure everyone was back in.
Returing when the sheep were back outside I started to get ready for nightly feeding, when I heard a ewe again. OK....maybe the shower uncorked my brain. I hopped the fence and saw her immediately. A white sheep....well a big white spot sheep....near an old hog pen. Sure enough as I approached, she made a move to get away, but the barbed wire wrapped twice around her throat only bounced her back. She was lucky, I left her out in the sun all day, but she was attached near a big bush, and had some shade to keep her alive. After she was unwrapped, we only had a few red spots for the experience....she ate fallen leaves from the winds, and seemed in good spirits.
I counted my lucky stars for the rain, and the live sheep and went to bed.
About three o'clock in the morning, my husband turned on the light and got dressed. "There's someone baaing outside, I'm going out to check." Shepherds like their sleep.
But after a few moments I slid on some shoes and followed him. Who needs to get dressed in the middle of the night?
Sure enough there was a lot of commotion....Buffy's twins were up near the barn baaing loudly at Buffy, who was off in the darkness and fog. I started down the sheep path with wet weeds brushing my legs. Buffy finally appeared, and Snowwhite's twins. But there still seemed to be some extra baaing. My husband was leaving for the house, but I called for the light. Some ewe was baaing in the barn too. You know how sheep are. If one is baaing they like to answer....Baaa.....BBAAAA....baaaa. In the back of the barn, I could see Miss Muffet....with her head stuck thru the fence panel to eat the hay I spilled on the other side. But, she was alone....and didn't take her head out when the light shown on her.
I've seen this behaviour before. She had stuffed her head thru, and couldn't get it back out. I don't know how they do it....Bunny used to get her head caught all the time. Some of the panels have gaps in them where I have pried Bunny's head out. So I jumped the fence, which was cold and wet....found a 4 by 4 in the yard and stuck it in-between the rails. Thus loosened, Muffet pulled her head out and I threw some more hay in the middle of the barn so she wouldn't put it back.
Trust me....listen to your sheep. If they are baaing on one side and everyone is on the other...go check. I was lucky this time....not so lucky once before.
Speaking of not-so-lucky, that was the name of our farm cat in Wisconsin. Another story, sometime. Well, sorry I didn't dream of another dragon yet. Maybe later.


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