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Dear Doggers,

Often - and I’m as guilty as anyone - we discuss sheep work as if it happens on a short grass paddock with dogs that move obediently between trial and farm work.

This afternoon, Brandon (the kid who works for me) said: “a gate latch broke.”

We’ve 125 breeding ewes with ram on one side of that gate, another 125 with ram on the other. The orange marked ewes graze on forty acres, the red marked on sixty.

It’s pouring rain. The rams have been out for thirty days.

The new grass is knee high: dogs can’t see sheep, sheep can’t see dogs.

Brandon and I fix the bad latch and double it. The messugenah sheep are three hundred yards away in cedars on the far side of a swamp I don’t want to walk through.

Fly WILL do things her way, right or wrong, but at nine years old, she’s experienced.So I send Fly. There’s no point trying to direct her to where the sheep are. She goes out and scours all the places where sheep usually are. After five, ten minutes the cedar sheep start to move. Fly likes to work the leaders and maybe fifty start toward me but the grass closes up behind them. Fly doesn’t know she’s left them and won’t, by God, take my commands. Pretty soon, I’ve got about 1/5th of the ewes. I tell Fly “look back” and she disappears in the grass. The first fifth start to escape. I yell to Brandon to turn 3 year old Jake out and Jake arrives, catches the escapees and since nothing is happening with the remaining ewes in the cedars I send Jake. Problem: when Jake finds them he tries to force them through deep water where no sensible ewe will go. Meantime, Fly has vanished. So I walk down the gravel road (I AM NOT SLOGGING THROUGH THAT SWAMP) to make the fetch more direct. I tell Jake to quit and go back to the house but don’t know where Fly is. I try flanks and downs and HAPPY MIRACLE the ewes start to move and I spot Fly. I get the second bunch to the gravel road and start them toward Jake’s and “Look Back” to Fly who disappears again. The third bunch are easier, drawn to the first cohorts.. Fly wants to control them HOWEVER and isn’t listening to me and I am at LOUDMOUTH before they finally get on the road and to the others.

The easy part was moving them through the lots and chute though as always, a few ewes got cut to the wrong side and had to be leg caught , dragged and resorted.

My raincoat wasn’t worth merde and is headed for the Goodwill. Brandon wore my wife’s old Barbour and stayed dry except the sleeves were too short. Fly got lamb meat on top of her kibble.

 

Donald McCaig

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Laws of farm physics:

1. Latches break in pouring rain only.

2. The worse the weather, the meshuganer the sheep.

3. A good farm dog is a blessing that brings joy beyond measure.

4. There is always something wrong with one's rain coat.

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This is the sort of situation that would offend PETA. I know I'd have been doing a bit of cussing.... :P

 

Oh dear, Julie, you wouldn't, would you? Say you wouldn't! :lol::lol::lol:

 

(I accidentally clicked 'report' instead of 'quote'. I hope I managed to cancel the process :ph34r: )

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