Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The grazing season has ended. I had hoped to bring the sheep home for the winter in four days or so; but with seven inches of snow, turning to rain and then cold temperatures moving in, Bill and I decided it was time. The electrified, portable net fencing that protects the sheep all summer is very fragile in cold weather. I didn't want it to freeze into the snow and ice. In addition, snowmobiles traverse the area frequently and I didn't want to stand the chance that they might run into the fencing. So Bud and I went out into the sleet to do what we had to do.
Bud has been a bit of a yahoo with the sheep lately. Taking off like a streak of lightning after the sheep, and not responding when I called "Down!" the command that basically means "cool your jets."
Today he accomplished his task with finesse. When I said "down" he lay down. When I said "walk up" he approached the sheep slowly so that he didn't create panic. By edging into the zone of discomfort for the sheep he directed them where they needed to go. When one sheep separated herself from the flock and I said "look back," he realized that he needed to return and bring that sheep back into the group. I was proud, and Bud was praised profusely. Once in awhile things go smoothly.
Having moved the sheep into the pasture adjacent to the barn, Bud was told "That will do," and he settled down to monitor his flock while I climbed all over the hill, retrieving fence. I think I'll keep him.