Friday, 12 August 2011

Anyone want a flock of sheep? Anyone?

So we have a problem. For some reason the sheep, in particular TM (the twin's mum), have decided that the field in which they are supposed to reside until we can get the last of the perimeter fencing done, is not where they want to go.

So what should happen is this.....Hubs opens the lower gate of the Sheep Paddock. Since they have been banned from munching on the grass of the paddock over night they are hungry. (The grass has to recover for the winter which will not happen if the sheep eat it right down to its roots) Now what they are supposed to do is move right down the Side Path, then veer right, leaping over a small ditch and going through the entrance to their field. It is a big field. Has an attached copse which used to be thick with vegetation but no longer is because they have done an efficient clearance of all greenery to just above their head heights. But they do have shade during the heat of the day. This is all imminently preferable to the Side Field, which is low in grass, has no shade and no copse.

This was alright for TM. Most times she is the first one to barge out of the gate, and leads the charge at a good gallop. Down the Side Path. Veer right. Jump. Through gate. Onto field. Done.

However.....what we didn't know was that TM had found a weakness in the fence. Well it wasn't a weakness really, just the place at which we had stopped fencing temporarily while we did other things. So what she was doing was nipping through the fencing wire, which is four strands of parallel wire to which the fencing wire itself is clipped, doing a sharp left, with a bit of a struggle, through Blackthorn bushes, then filling herself up with the long grass of the verges of the lane. We had wondered why we had been hearing horns beeping from passing cars. But she was crafty, was TM. Once her tum was full, back she would go to the field.

However, she got caught out. A neighbour stopped and told us. Urgently we finished off that part of the fencing. TM was curtailed. Was OK about it for a couple of days. But the gate.... down the Side Path, jump th.....but no. TM at the front leading the charge as usual. Left. They went left. Out into the Kitchen Field. Hubs did a yell for help. Bools, Gus and me all charged out. Just in time to see  TM leading the flock, still at an unstoppable pace, back up the Side Path, onto the Drive, onto the lane, then left, sharp right, did a bit of a milling about, then onto the field of stubble beside the Side Field, came off that, stood at the gate of the Side Field waiting expectantly for it to be opened.

There are times, however, when it is necessary to show authority. I said that no, they should not be allowed to go where they wanted to do, but should be got back to the Copse Field which is where WE said they should go. It was going to be a baker of a day, and they would need the shade anyway. This was done. Except that TM stood at the gate of that field and told me to expect more probs from her as she was not best pleased at not being able to go where she wanted to go.

So the next day:.......gate open....down Side Path.....jump ditch....but no. TM stopped in the middle of the ditch, swung round, did sharp right, then another sharp right into the other half of the Home Field, the one which has lovely long grass all brightly sparkling with heavy dew. Knew that this was a disaster. Poles up. No fencing wire as yet. No boundaries. They kept going. Through the poles they went. Down to the Lower Wood. Sharp right. Through another line of poles. On into our neighbour's field they went. There they stopped. Spread out. Munched. Hubs nowhere to be seen. Me, Bools and Gus only. We three crossed over into the field. Did a circle round the sheep to head them off, turn them round. This we did. Back to the poles. Through them.....but no. Did a sharp right. Did a long gallop on out into the neighbour's field. Now spread even further out. Opened my lungs. Yelled at full voice for Hubs to come. He did. At his full gallop which was about a quarter of the speed at which the sheep went. My speed is about a sixteenth.

Hubs got behind the sheep. Instructions obeyed. Flock turned round. Still reluctant to get a move on now. Brakes on. Flowers to be eaten. Gus, the would-be sheep dog, to the rescue. Bounding onwards towards the sheep, they started picking up speed again. Headed towards the poles. Got Bools beside me. Jumped up and down and made a fuss. TM looked at me. Knew I was not to be messed with. Kept on going through the poles, the rest shoulder to shoulder with each other in a tight bunch following her lead. Took a swing left. Through the other poles. Now into the Home Field, but the wrong side of the central fence. Hubs took a trot down to the end of the field to open the Side Field gate and also the Paddock gate which had been closed in case the piglets got out into the Paddock which is where they expect to go for the morning so they can stretch their legs. It was OK. They were still in their little paddock, albeit screaming at full voice with indignation about being ignored.

Sheep now down bottom of Home Field. Could see them stop. Bang infront of the Veg Plot, in particular the courgette patch. Heads went down. Munch time! But no! Not today! Sent Gussy off after them to get them moving. They did. Sharp left, sharp right, out onto the Kitchen Field. Gave up. I gave up. Stood and waited for Hubs. Instructions given..... go out onto the lane in case they go that way... hope they will go into the Home Field though. They didn't. They repeated the same route as the previous day, milling about in the lane, then onto the other field, then parking themselves up infront of the Side Field gate. Which Hubs opened. Wet of foot, puffed out, p*****ed off, we gave up the fight.

"Cup of tea and a piece of toast?" I said.
"Good idea" said Hubs.

And so.....anyone want a flock of sheep?

Ah but no! We don't mean that! But nineteen is too many to manage. So which ones are going to fetch up in the freezer? Does this mean that TM's days are numbered? Only time will tell! She did, after all, give us two superb lambs both of which show the same desire to get into mischief!

By the way, we're in. The House. To Sleep......


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Congratulations on sleeping in the house, big day for you :-) The sheep, time to buy a big freezer perhaps....... Keeps you exercised if nothing else LOL Diane

Jean said...

Congratulations!!! On being in the house to sleep, that is.

Thanks for the offer of the sheep but I think I'll pass this time!!

Thanks for a super post, very funny and entertaining as usual - better than going to the pictures any day !!

Vera said...

Diane: I am sure being exercised! Good for the bod, good for the soul!

Jean: don't want to be a shepherdess just yet then!

Ken Devine said...

Hi Vera
Sheep, who'd have 'em:) More beneficial and a lot cheaper than a monthly subscription to a health club, though. Fantastic news about being in the house to sleep. Is it for good?

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, have you tried putting TM on a tether, sounds like she is the leader. Maybe this would help. We used to have goats on our farm when we were younger, The billy goat was very big and difficult to handle, so we put him on a tether away from the flock until needed. This worked out very well. It was my job to watch him and move him when needed. When he got rough with me I rough him up so he would respect me and do what I wanted. When he stood on his hind legs he was about 7 feet tall. My mother could not handle him.

Duta said...

There's no bad without good. I mean (as the other commenters do) your excersing while running after the undisciplined sheep is a good thing.
As usual, very well-written and entertaining post!

Vera said...

Oh Horst you had me chuckling for ages after I read your comment. Kept seeing a picture in my head of us trying to put a tether on TM and her running off with us in tow! She is one mighty big ewe! But thanks, will pass your experience on to Lester who has had to do 'rough up' times with our male animals as well on several occasions!

Duta, you are right..... running around after the sheep most certainly does keep one exercised! But normally they are quite is just that the moment they aren't, mostly because of the mood TM seems to have got herself into! Loved your spices post, by the way. Have been thinking about getting spices via the Internet because of the lack of choice here.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hey Vera, I had a good chuckle as well, we used a 5 foot spike, hammered it into the ground and tied the Goat to it, this kept him from chasing the females. We also did this to one of our cows that wanted to run away. Just a thought.