Saturday, February 23, 2008

I wonder....

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night?
I do. I find myself thinking about things, long before I realize I am awake, when I should be sleeping. Sometimes, it is my barking dogs. I hear them bark, maybe they even wake me up, and lay there trying to decide if it is one dog barking or two. The young dog has a short repeating bark, and she runs back and forth, from the road to the pasture while she barks. The older dog only runs when she is excited by something intruding into her area. If they are too close to the barn, the yard or maybe even the sheep, she runs too. The older dog is big, and her bark is lower in tone. I trust the big dog to know what is worth barking about, and what isn't.
So I stay in bed and wait to see if whatever has them barking....goes away. If it seems like there is too much barking excitment, I might get up and open the window to hear better....If it isn't too cold, I may walk outside and listen.
A couple of days ago it was a herd of screeching dogs running after something. My creek fencing has been battered by floods this winter. First the posts were washed out, and the fence lay on the ground in two curving stripes. The next flood moved more posts and looped the fencing into a tangle on the downstream side. This last flood must have broken the fencing....since one line wanders through the bushes and rocks....who knows where the end is....wonder how many posts have been lost? The herd of dogs came up the creek bed....a few feet from the ewes fencing and between the ewes and the rams. We had to run to the creek to make sure they didn't jump the fencing. We shot a few times in the general direction of the hills. The dogs left, but I need to fix the fencing to avoid having a trail too close to my ewes.
During lambing season, I usually wake up in the middle of the night and catch my breath as I fly out of bed to seee if they had a lamb in the barn. It doesn't take my body to get accustomed to jumping out of bed every couple of hours to go check the barn. Then I wake up without barking dogs....and quietly walk around sleeping cats, dogs, and sheep to peer into the dimly lit barn. All shepherds know the signs of a restless ewe digging into the bedding. Turning and sniffing the bedding as the ewe rises. Usually I am checking in the night for a week or more before the first lamb arrives.
Not this year. It is almost March, I know I had a ewe bred the 13th of October, and I know she wasn't the first ewe bred. For some dumb reason, I can't seem to pin down the first day a ram was in the pens. I know there were three breeding groups by the 17th of at least a dozen ewes could be exposed, and some before the 14th. Windchime, who I mentioned being bred in a blog was bred on the 13th....she would be due around the first week of March. But, perhaps there were ewes exposed before Windchime...and I'll bet that was the case. That means I could have lambs born around the first week of March....or even before that??????
I, theoretically, should be checking the barn for lambs. Why is it different this year?????
I can't get there from here.
We are again iced in, waiting for the temps to get above freezing. Waiting for a plow...or warmer temps to melt the ice. I had to lean on a shovel for every step between the house and the barn yesterday. We went out twice. Once in the morning for feeding, and once before dark. Ordinary years, I would be walking around the pastures, watching sheep, and watching bags on the ewes. trying to predict who would lamb next. Well, can't do that this year. Can't shear. Too cold....too icy....too soon.
Dang. This is no fun.
I'll slide down to the barn in the next hour. Leaning on my improvised ice-pick. Trying not to break something valuable on my body.
Anyone seen spring?
Are the ice storms done yet?
I wonder.....


At 7:22 AM, Blogger Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I have heard that putting socks on over your shoes gives good traction on ice; it's a cheap trick to try!

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Karen B. said...

Sorry about your nasty ice, it's got to be melting soon. I use Yak Trax on my shoes and boots, since I'm a bit of a tripper/faller. You can almost walk normally with these on. Want me to send you a pair?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Time for you to go buy a pair of ice cleats to put on your shoes or boots. Ice cleats are good for us older bodies!And yes, thick wool socks are wonderful Michelle! I often go out in them to bring in firewood. :-)We have allot of ice here now, we can not go down to the arenas. We had a chinook come in for 5 days and melt allot of snow, leaving behind lakes of ice.


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