So who is the smartest?

 4am and it is dark and cold, though we haven’t had a frost for a few days now. I spend this time wandering around partly as we are in the midst of lambing and the ewes need to be checked often, and partly to outwit a bunch of errant sheep and keep them “in common” when what they want to do is go awol into the next village where they have found some tender morsels to break their fast on.

 Mostly I manage through cunning and determination, having broken my slumber and crawled out of my warm and cosy bed. Sometimes they win, BUT this morning they have begun new tactics and will play the long game.

 Serves me right really. Last Sunday I thought I would begin a campaign and took a dog with me to park up and head them back as they came trip trap up the lane. TOO LATE,  driving up past the green, not a sheep to be had but as I drove on there were tell tale signs of  the group having passed and there they were, waiting just lounging around behind the bus shelter in the next village.

I got the dog from the car and before he saw them, they were gone, back up the road and into the lane on their way home. On the way back, having fed the sheep, I realised that one was missing and on checking, found a ewe and newborn lamb. So I left the dog in the car and took the pair home and as we were filled to bursting with ewes and lambs in bonding pens. The only place to put them was just inside the garden gate on the path to the back door and between the lean-to and the coal bunker. When they were settled I returned to the car and drove it back home, whereupon I had to get the dog past the ewe. Not an easy task. I picked the dog up and began to carry him but Ewenice felt this intrusion just too much and as she began her protest, the dog leapt from my arms, he was slipping down anyway, and Ewenice caught him several hefty thumps against the hurdle before I could drag him over the top and hurry him into the kitchen.

 The next morning I tried a different dog and headed off on the same route. There on the green was the bunch of sheep, all present and correct. Well I fed them but I am not so easily fooled, I will be back up later. Now for the tricky bit, I drove home but there by the gate in the same place as yesterday was Ewenice. Dog was okay whilst I fed the sheep so I could leave him in the car. I opened the windows a couple of inches as this one is inclined to dribble and dribble =misty windows and I might have to move fast. I made then drank a pot of tea and checked my e-mail.

 A while later, I headed out again to check that the sheep had not decided to head off.  As I got in the car Dog was very pleased to see me but at first glance I could not understand why he had chewed his collar up nor taken it off, but as more black nylon webbing became evident, I realised that this was not a dog collar but the seatbelt. Then I realised the window rubber was shredded around the car then as the day wore on and I collected The Shepherd, I found the other seatbelt was gone too. Worse was that it was the partners car, the cambelt on my van went a few nights ago when The Goatherd took a tour of the area doing a 2am lambing check.

 Back to this morning, I got in the car and started it. On turning the headlights on, I could see that 3 sheep were in the wrong place and as each tends to lamb in the place they were born or a place they have experienced as a place of safety, I had to go and investigate. Nelly had aborted yesterday a perfectly formed lamb but in minature and she was there along with a couple of others and Nesta, remember Nesta? who has been fit to burst for days now and a friend of theirs. I put out some feed for them and hurried up to find the others. On finding an empty green, I drove on up the road to the next village and wandered the tracks but no signs of sheep, so I doubled back to another direction they head off on as an early morning ramble a bit later in the year, again before there is a fresh bite up on this hill. Not there either, so I tried any other haunts I thought were feasible. Eventually I found two who had turned up and I checked them.  An hour later I spotted a few extras and headed to the green from another direction where the whole flock had gathered. I fed them all but I still do not know where they were or how they evaded me on their way back. I suspect it will be a while before I find out their grand plan and I am quite sure I will be all the worse when I do know.

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Published in: on Friday March 19th, 2010 at 9:25 am  Leave a Comment