Wednesday, June 1, 2016

catching sheep in 25 steps

1.  One stormy Sunday night when a fence came down, four of our sheep were frightened and escaped down the valley while the dogs and the chickens stayed behind.

2.  When they are stressed, sheep can run FAST and jump over and under and through many types of fencing in a single bound.

3.  Just because we are good and knowledgeable in dealing with one type of livestock does not mean we have a clue about dealing with any other.

4.  If sheep already have a good feed source, they will not be interested in the bucket of wheat or the handfuls of lucerne we are trying to tempt them with.  

5.  When chasing sheep through paddocks and forest we twisted an ankle in a ditch, scratched up our arms and legs on fences and gorse bushes, tore our clothing, lost a phone, cried. 

6. Just because everyone in the country appears to keep sheep quietly and happily in their paddocks or front yards, does not mean we can too.

    7.  Running through the paddocks and bits of forest we came face to face with some of the biggest and scariest looking kangaroos we have ever seen and teams of miniature horses that we never even knew existed.

    8.  Chasing sheep can be a full time occupation complete with phone calls, text messages, emails, appointments and many, and varied attempts.

    9.  After a few days we came to the conclusion that sheep are unpredictable and irresponsible.

      10.  Sometimes we found ourselves wondering about what the size of a flock actually is.

      11.  We worried night and day about the stress to the sheep, about car accidents involving sheep, about fox and dog attacks on sheep, and about other worse case sheep scenarios.

      12.  We had moments where we doubted ourselves as farmers, as animal caretakers, as wool lovers or as shepherds.

        13.  We stressed like crazy at the fact that all we did all day everyday was chase sheep instead of the zillions of other jobs that were urgently crying out for our attention.

        14.  During the days we were chasing sheep we spent more time with our neighbours down the valley than we have in the last 16 years combined.

        15.  During that time spent with our neighbours we were shown such generosity and kindness that we were humbled.

        16.  On one occasion we were threatened and frightened.

        17.  On the Friday I skipped my spinning group session because I was chasing sheep and because I was having a crisis of confidence about keeping sheep and spinning their wool and whether I should just stick to knitting anyway.

        18.  Each night we lay in bed at night catching NOT counting sheep.

        19.  No-one; not Dave in the fruit shop, not Sam our gym trainer, not the guy who made our coffee, not our kids, nor the other parents at school really cared about our lost sheep even though that's all we spoke about for a week.

        20.  It appears on the other hand that EVERYONE knows that sheep get lost even Game Of Throne's Lord of the Twins, Walder Frey who in last Sunday's episode was furious at the news his troops had lost control over Riverrun and shouted "It's a castle, not bloody sheep!"

        21.  Little Bo Peep was a fairy tale. 

        22.  In the end, one week and one day after they escaped, it was a beautiful sheep dog called Jess and Real Eggs farmer Paul who saved the day, thank you, thank you!!!! Thank you also to my Mum and Dad, Rob, Susie, Craig and Kimmy, Tracey, Lisa and Ally. xx 

        23.  The sheep have now gone home to Nats and Jono at Brooklands free range farm where they originally came from. N and J have shown us such kindness and patience throughout this adventure and we both feel very lucky and grateful. 

        24.  And as for us, well let's just say a book about keeping sheep found its way into our Amazon shopping cart yesterday. While we do feel a bit heart broken at the set-back, we are already making plans for sheep proof fencing a few paddocks, we are chatting about a  proper stock trailer and some yards, and we've decided that if we are lucky enough to try this all again, then next time we'll start with a few lambs. Maybe we'll even bottle feed them and warm them in the Esse.

        25.  Fingers crossed.

        Visit my other blog.