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Thursday, January 28 2010

     Trying to juggle farm-work and work-work is a constant struggle. Some days I'm better at it than others. My success is directly proportional to the amount of sleep I get. I accept the fact, and will readily admit, that I am a Bitchy Bear when I don't get at least 6 hours of sleep. That's the minimum. The problem with life on a farm is that if I get in from work at 4 AM, the farm still wakes up at 7 AM.  Border Collie does her GI Joe crawl across the bed to kiss me and inform me that the sun is up and so is she. The goats begin to scream, and this invariably sets off the sheep. (Don't even get me started on the damned rooster.)

     An end-of-the-shift murder call had me getting in late, and thus I'd only had about 4 hours of sleep when the farm got up yesterday. They were all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was not. I was not even close. I staggered to the refrigerator for a bottle of Starbuck's Mocha Frappuccino. It's my addiction. If they made frappuccinos illegal, I'm afraid you'd find me strung out in a crack motel somewhere, except they'd call them "frapp-motels," and dealers would smell of coffee and use code words like "grande" and "vente." But I digress.

I popped open a frapp and wobbled to the patio door to slide into rubber boots. It's hard to put on rubber boots while you're mainlining caffiene and as luck would have it, the cap of my frapp fell off and rolled under the couch. Oh dear! I don't know about the rest of you, but I have at least 5 dogs at any given time inside my home. That's a lot of dog hair. I try to keep it swept up pretty regularly, but nevertheless, it can accumulate under the couch. Generally by the time I move the couch to sweep, you could make a poodle out of the hair trapped under there. And friends and neighbors, that's exactly where my lid rolled! Yuck! Since I really needed the lid, I was forced to get down on my hands and knees and grope about in the darkness until I found it. I suppose I should thank the hairy poodle under the couch that it didn't roll any further. My lid had dog hair stuck to it. Grossssss . . .  For a moment, I considered the germs. Then I decided that someone who steps in blood at night shouldn't be too picky about a little dog hair. So with that thought, I slammed the lid back on my frapp and stepped outside.

I locked the main pack of dogs in a paddock to keep them out of the mud, then I staggered to the barn to release Briar and the sheep. s the sheep filed behind us, Briar bounced up and down at my leg.  She is now 13 weeks old, and is as solid as a cinder block with legs. I would say she is built like an "excrement domicile" but my grandmother would not have approved of that term and since we have younger readers (who are no doubt racing for their dictionaries as we speak), I have to keep it clean.

It made my head hurt just watching Briar as she danced along. Once in the pasture, I fed both the puppy and the sheep.  She wagged her little tail and occasionally paused in her 'heifer-like snarfing" to smile at me. I took a long slow sip of frappuccino and decided it should be against the law to be that happy in the morning. (I told you I am Bitchy Bear without my sleep!)

Briar finished her breakfast and puttered off. The sheep happily hoovered down their food while I kept a watchful eye on Hulk lest he choke again. Several days ago, Hulk was bolting food down so fast that the little booger started to choke and I was forced to do the Heimlich maneuver on a lamb--a very fat lamb. Although I am considered a First Responder, I don't think the police department had lambs in mind when they taught that class. It must have worked though, because the little pig lived.

I stood in the pasture, letting the caffeine slowly drip into my veins, wishing I was still in bed, when a black and white bouncing blur crossed my field of vision. It took a little effort to focus on the Bounce. Tiny Tim was springbokking his way across the pasture. Like a little antelope, he leaped toward Briar. She was deep in thought with her nose crammed in a bush when he stopped in front of her. For a moment they stared at each other, then like a sewing machine, Tiny Tim started bouncing up and down in front of the dog. Her eyes lit up and the chase was on. The little cinder block managed to get up considerable speed, but Tim turned on the juice and kept just out of reach.

Tim was delighted. I was not. I didn't want Briar to discover that she was a foosa after all. While it seemed like innocent fun, I was reminded of that chase scene in the movie, "Madagascar", when the lion and his best friend, the zebra, discover that the lion is a foosa, after he becomes mesmerized by the zebra's butt running in front of him and takes a chomp out of his best friend. Briar and Tiny Tim are tight, but I was afraid that Briar would begin to see lamb chops instead of her little snuggle-buddy. I could almost hear the National Geographic theme song playing in the pasture.

So as the pair raced past me, I dropped a bucket on poor Briar's head. (I know. It was mean. I felt guilty for doing it, but she can't chase the lambs, even if they "started it.") Briar staggered a bit, but immediately spied my leather gloves that fell out of the bucket. Pennies from heaven!!!! Briar LOVES those gloves. She quickly abandoned Tiny Tim and snatched up a glove. Then she danced around to show me that although it was raining buckets, it was also raining leather gloves, and this was a Delightful Thing. Like Winnie-the-Pooh, Briar's world is pretty simple and it's easy to make her happy.

I took another sip of frappuccino and decided that Briar was probably right--when Life throws a Bucket at you, don't get discouraged, your favorite leather gloves just might fall out of it.   



Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Knowing nothing about guard dogs and their jobs, I was wondering, since guard dogs consider the sheep their job ,as well as their family, wouldn't the posturing and antics of the sheep tell Briar the difference between play and prey? Kind of like the dogs with cats. Sometimes they play and every now and then the cat knows it's serious. Has there ever been an instance of a guard dog injuring their charge on purpose? Who does Briar play with?....and I meant to ask if they know the other half of her lineage? She has the cutest face. I would have such a hard time not spoiling her to death.
Posted by Janet on 01/29/2010 - 06:02 AM
{erhaps so. I didn't make a big deal out of it, just re-directed her behavior. In the past couple of days I have noticed that the sheep are beginning to chase chickens and cats. Briar joins right in, takes control, and the poor chicken or cat is chased from the pasture.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/30/2010 - 08:25 AM

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