September 16, 2011

Morning Exercise

Feeding the sheep this morning, doing the head count, I realized one was missing. Bo, Notag's boy, was not with the group. A scan of the pasture gave me no clues. Then I saw him, two neighbor's pastures away, pacing frantically along the fence. Well, crap!

Question 1) Why does this only happen on weekdays?
Question 2) Why does this only happen when I'm in nice clothes?
Question 3) Why does this only happen when I have a meeting first thing at work and can't be late?
(Those are rhetorical.)

I crossed the our pasture and Eric's and then climbed over the fence to where Bo was. Under normal circumstances Bo is pretty calm and lets us pet him, but he was so freaked out that he wouldn't let me get close enough to grab him. My next thought was to find where he got out, presumably a space under the fence, and just pry it open and push him back through. I looked and looked and couldn't see any such space. (I have no idea how he got out.) By now all the other sheep had realized what was going on and had come over to Eric and Lola's fence to check out the commotion.

Next idea was to walk the all the sheep, along the fence line, down to the road and hope that Bo would follow. Fortunately a sheep's desire to be with the flock is so overwhelming that Bo would go any where the rest went. He came happily down to the road. Why is it good to get him to the road, because from there, Jordan could walk behind him and push him to our driveway and up into our yard. At least in our yard I could trap him. This started to work great, but I quickly realized that if I didn't get the other sheep back to our fence line, Bo would turn back. So I started running, across two pastures, with a thundering heard of sheep following close at my heels, which were 2" black boots and caused me to twist my ankle twice.

But at least everyone was back on our property. The next step was to get Bo close to a gate, open it and let him in. Sure. I got him close to the gate, but when I tried to open it, all the other sheep just wanted to get out. I kneed Notag in the chest trying to prevent her from making a break. Finally after a few attempts, where-by I stoop idly along side the gate pretending not to be watching Bo because he was eying me and twiddling my thumbs while whistling gently, Bo moved to the gate opening. I gently, again keeping my eyes on the sky, cracked the gate and he went in. Ok, off to school and work.

In the car I realized my boots were covered in dirt and grass and poo. Before heading to my meeting, which I was late for, I stopped in the bathroom took off one boot at a time and rinsed them in the sink. Thankfully, only one other person came into the bathroom, looked at me quizzically and decided better not to ask.

I got home early and was headed up the driveway when I saw Bo in the garden. How the hell did he get out again! I parked the car, jumped out and went down. Correction, all the sheep were in the garden. Apparently I did not get the gate locked closed this morning. Thankfully, sheep don't travel far and certainly don't travel onto strange lands if it can be helped. Also thankfully, the whole flock loose is actually much easier to deal with then just one. The whole flock is calm when together and if Notag, the alpha, goes somewhere then all the rest will go there too. All I had to do was open the gate, yell "Oats" (which was a complete lie) and watch them all coming running. I made sure that gate was locked tight!

The garden didn't take too bad a hit either. They munched some broccoli and beet leaves, but no fruit were hurt. They did poo all over the place, so when I got back inside I looked down to see that my boots were again covered in grass and dirt and poo.

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