Monday, May 26, 2008

Don’t Fence Me In

Yesterday we went off to my nephew’s birthday party and came home to our first round of unmitigated chaos this year.... Sheep EVERYWHERE!

It was dusk, and the flock, spurred on by would-be herder Luka’s incessant barking and Maggie’s silent but tightly-wound stealth, the sheep were stampeding everywhere in clumps of three to five individuals, lambs calling for mamas, mamas calling for lambs, Daisy (AKA"Princess Daisy the pig sheep") calling for grain…. What fun!

To top it off, the kids were in the driveway playing the soundtrack for “Annie Get Your Gun” at ear-shattering volume.

So Ethel Merman belted “There’s No Business Like Show Business” while we hollered and barked, and alternately made mad dashes and futilely shook the grain bucket. Yep, shepherding is such a peaceful vocation…..

Eventually, Luka did manage to move the flock into the barn, everybody except Louise and her lamb, Connor, of course. Flocking instincts be damned, Louise went solo (or nearly solo) and wandered off, a black sheep in the black night. Dan chased after her on his ATV (Headlights!) and he and Maggie finally got her in at the pasture’s back gate.

Everything was back in order more or less.

But it’ll happen again to be sure. Fence breaks are part of the fun here at Maggie’s Farm. The grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. And these wily, smart Icelandic sheep, they know it.

Our flock of twenty-one has eaten down our permanent pasture with lightning speed and also the small auxiliary pasture along the back fence. We’ve been spending every spare minute fencing in a huge new territory, our neighbor’s yard. (Thank You, Rev. Shaw!) but it is slow going. Today, Dan put in about 300 feet of woven wire fence while I cut dozens of rusted strands of barbed wire out of the old boundary line between the properties. Trees had grown around and through the wire, and it was buried under the deep forest loam in places, a sure sheep hazard. I’ve had to disentangle our woolies from raspberry branches and baling twine. Didn’t want to see what a sheep might look like wrapped in 50 year old strands of barbed wire.

Anyway, we are hopeful that this tremendous grassy/brushy pasture will keep our sheep busy while we clean out the barn, lime the old pasture and let it grow, let it grow let it grow!

1 comment:

Christy said...

Well, that sounds like a fun experience. I hope you can get them on nice new pasture soon. It is nice you have a neighbor that will let you graze on their land.