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Saturday, November 20 2010


     Some days you tackle the farm, and some days the farm tackles you. Today was a big WWF Smackdown on me. Perhaps I'm just hormonal. You just shouldn't work livestock and water hoses when you're hormonal. I had some yearling rams that needed to be moved. Now common sense would tell you to wait until Other Half or Dear Friend could help, but NO!  I was PMSing and it needed to be done NOW!  So here's how it went:

Lock up everyone but Lily. Start to separate sheep.  The constant barking in the dog pens has me thinking about handguns. Snarl at the Main Barker.  Ice is offended that I would speak to her in this manner and shuts up.  But barking resumes as soon as I start working sheep again.  Thoughts of handguns dance like sugarplums in my head. Lily and I soon have the two young rams separated. (I know that lots of folks don't like them, but I LOVE my cheap wooden feedstore crook. It allows me to reach out and grab the one I want while Lily steps in to move everyone else off. It also allows me to hold onto his bucking little self when everyone leaves him.)  So my Clunky Crook, Lily, and I get the rams separated and begin to move them through the barn, into the back yard, and toward an opened gate that leads to more paddocks.

All is well until the rams decide that the open gate is waaaay to close to a kennel of Foosas.  (Ranger and Trace)  Note that the kennel is not that close, but if the rams see it as a problem, it's a problem.  Decide that it is easier to move the dogs than it is to convince the rams to move past the dogs.  Trace is beside himself watching Lily work.  ("Put ME in, Coach!  Put Me in!  Let me slip into my SuperSuit and I can work those rams too!")   Eegaads.  Not what I want.

So while Lily watches rams, I grab Trace and Ranger and throw them in house. Okay then.  Problem solved. Begin again. 

Rams decide that kennel which USED to contain Foosas is also too scary to walk past. Although I tell myself I have all the time in the world to do this, the idea of butchering these rams is looking better and better.  Lily is much more patient and continues to slowly move two flighty, moronic rams, who should probably be removed from the gene pool, around the back yard and towards the gate.  Her patience is rewarded and shortly they are through the back yard, through two small paddocks, and into their new Bachelor Pad Prison. God helps us. I know our style may look like a train wreck on a Sunday afternoon, but it gets the job done.

Safely in their new prison, the rams happily discover rye grass and wander off.  Now that the marble that is their brain has stopped rolling around and settled back into its hole, they have settled down too.

Look around and realize that they need fresh water and the hose which feeds their tank has a giant hole in it.  Probably because someone drove her truck across it. More water now sprays out the geyser than comes out the end of the hose. The hose must be replaced. Trudge to barn to find another hose. Drag old hose through barn, across yard, through dog poop, and into paddock. Replace geyser hose with ancient yellow hose.  Turn on spigot.  Note that Yellow Hose also produces a geyser.  Did I drive over every hose on the property?!

Since this geyser is not as large as the Green Hose Geyser, I approve hose just for today.  (which probably will mean that I won't get around to replacing it for months!)  Pull hose toward trough.  It is six feet too short. Lily is slightly confused at this round of cussing which does not involve sheep.  Walk back into house for a dose of Calm Down Juice - cup of coffee.

Exit house with coffee and re-examine length of hose.  No, it did not grow any longer while I was in the house. Perhaps I should have fertilized it.  Decide that if I pull it underneath the horse trailer instead of around the horse trailer, it "might" be able to reach to the trough.  Ponder how I'm gonna run the hose underneath the trailer without getting down on my knees and reaching under there.  Consider standing on one side and asking Lily to fetch the hose to me.  It has possibilities but then, how many additional holes do I want in the yellow hose?

Pull hose where I want it and discover that all I have to do is run it underneath the tongue of the trailer. FINALLY!  Things are working in our direction again.  Now the hose is only one foot short of the trough.  Decide that I can hold it while it fills the trough. YES!  We're on a roll!

And that's when Lily said to me, "Hmmm . . . look at that."

"Huh?"  I turned to look.

The rams who had been grazing in peaceful bliss were now perfectly upright, staring at a Foosa. This was confusing, since Lily was standing beside me.  Where was the Foosa?  Then I see him.

Apparently when I went into the house for coffee, Trace must have slithered his tiny little ass out behind me.  Eeegaaads!  A four month old puppy in a paddock with two yearling rams is a recipe for disaster.  So I call to him.  Deep in stalk mode, he barely glances out the corner of his eye, and says, "Sshush Mom!  I'm getting my groove on!"

I am now in deep Freak-Out mode as I watched my toddler neatly gather two rams and start walking them towards me.  (and I must say that despite my absolute hysteria, I was quite impressed too!)  He walked; they walked.  No running. No barking. Just smooth, deliberate stalking. And it was working for him. The problem I saw was that the sheep were walking away from Foosa A (Trace) toward me, but Foosa B (Lily) was standing in the shed beside me.  Quickly project that all will be well until the sheep discover Foosa B and run back over Foosa A. 

So I call Foosa A again.  (Why did I bother?)  He has on his Supersuit and he is in full Superhero mode.  No running. No barking. Just slowly creeping the sheep in my direction. So I put Lily on a stay and walk out of the shed.  The rams decide that on second thought, perhaps they DON'T want to go into the shed and turn to move away from me.  Foosa A then moves his tiny ass around to cut them off, and heads them back toward me again.  (Holy crap! What a good boy!)  This time they move into the shed.  I let them pass me, and as he slithers past, I grab up his bratty butt. 

It is pointless to scold him.  It was my fault that he got into the pen in the first place, and he's proud of himself for gathering the sheep.  Despite the fact that I saw his life and working career flash before my eyes, I'm proud of him too.  Lily is not nearly as impressed. 

Then I whisk him back into the house where he belongs and pack his Supersuit away for another year until he is ready to be a real stockdog.  (and count my additional gray hairs)

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 01:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
There's so much about this post that has me giggling. The picture you painted was perfect. I would have gone after the duct tape for the first hose. Remember, all farms/ranches must have 3 items available for 'repairs' at all times: duct tape, zip ties, and baling twine/wire. Trace is gonna be amazing! He just has to stay out of trouble until then.
Posted by CeeCee on 11/20/2010 - 02:41 PM
DUH! Duct tape! That's what I should have tried! That'll keep me from having to buy another hose! Trace is an amazing little dude, but I can't take any credit. It's his breeding, nothing I've done. My job is just to keep him safe and well-socialized for the next year until he's actually old enough to start real stockdog work. (which I obviously didn't DO today!)
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 11/20/2010 - 05:08 PM
What a great example of genes at work! you're right, it's your job to help him grow safely so that his body catches up with his drives and he can achieve that perfection of a working dog, working. Claire is a mixed breed, her 'work' is chasing and sorting and carrying tennis balls. When she is fully absorbed in work, she is just perfectly in balance and beauty.
Posted by clairesmum on 11/21/2010 - 08:56 AM
Use the black Gorilla tape. It's more expensive but worth it for water hoses. And omg - I almost died on the "marble" sentence. That is soooo sheep-truth!!
Posted by Sharon Martin-Holm on 11/21/2010 - 08:03 PM
I didn't even realize they made "Gorilla tape!" Now I simply MUST have this!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 11/22/2010 - 07:39 PM

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