About 150 of our sheep have been living up on a neighbor's pasture two miles from our farmhouse. I talked about how they got there here. Now it is December and the pasture is hidden under several inches of snow. The Farmer has been feeding hay to these sheep but that entails driving an uncovered tractor 3 miles to the field with a large 800 lb. bale on a spike, depositing it in the field so the sheep can eat for a few days and then doing it all over again. Needless to say, this couldn't continue. He is getting more wrinkly by the day out in this weather. It was a matter of timing and weather to make the moving day happen.
Saturday it was. The weather forecast predicted a nasty storm coming in on Sunday. We had to move fast. We called a few friends to beg assistance. This move was going to be harder than the last – the sheep had to travel three miles and most of it on paved roads on which people are used to driving too fast. This is the country but you wouldn’t know it. Everyone is always in a hurry. But Saturday, this particular Saturday, they would have to stop and slow down.
Here are the sheep deep in the middle of a field. There is a track from the tires made by the tractor into the fenced in area. The snow is about a foot deep. If you look hard, you'll see The Farmer in his lovely brown Carhart jacket and overalls and our little friend Matthew. The two dogs Nessie and Phoebe are there too.
The tractor tracks are very helpful - the sheep are moving nicely along them. They are obviously confused and several tried to head back but were slowed by the deep snow.
"Run, Julia run - please - they are coming fast. We've got to get down to the road to slow them down and turn them the right way."
As you can imagine, that last part didn't go too good. Oh well - she is a little trooper. Next the sheep ran past the barn and the farmhouse they have been visiting. Two by two - along the tractor tracks.
"Oh my goodness, which way should we go," say the sheep. Julia and I say, "Please, please, head up the road towards Eden Trail."
Yes, they chose the right way. Here they are with Matthew, the dogs, and The Farmer in hot pursuit. Do you see the truck at the end of the road? That is our friend Lynn and her two children Cody and Sarah. We enlisted them too.
With Lynn and her truck and kids' help, the sheep turned correctly and off they went at warp speed down the road. Julia and I tried to keep up but we couldn't. We hopped in Lynn's pick-up and got a ride closer. The whole trip was a game of catch up with the sheep.
Everyone kept keeping on - the truck and Julia, the kids, The Farmer and me and my camera. Down, down, down we went, past many bewildered neighbors. The traffic began to pile up behind Lynn's pick-up. (A pile-up around here is six cars.) Not to even mention, we had a front-man - our wonderful neighbor Sid - He drove his Jeep quite a bit aways ahead of the sheep and made oncoming traffic slow down. Can you imagine? "Please wait, 150 sheep coming through. And yes, that Christmas shopping will have to wait a while."
That there was the famous hairpin turn - you'll see Nessie doing what she's supposed to be doing. And below, that's the steam coming from the sheep.
More down, down, down..... Through the woods, following the road...... Here we are - 150 sheep, The Farmer and 3 young assistant shepherds sprinting down the hill towards the great opening.
Ah, yes, here it is the opening of the woods to the beautiful fields, antique farmhouses and barns.
But to sheep? "Hey, let's fly." Who knew they could run so fast.
We all keep on going - some better than the others. We let some backed up cars pass in amazement. Only one in six was irate. I guess that's good. Poor woman, she didn't know what she was missing.
We pass three beautiful old farms, travel through some more woods, and then approach The Farmer's neighbor Mrs Dyer's antique home. There a hunter gladly pulled over and let us pass, watching and laughing.
Just past Mrs. Dyer's, we were met by the DHL truck. This guy comes out of Springfield, MA I think. I guess he must see it all, but this must have been one of the best.
"Okay, he's gone. Let's push on. We're almost there."
Down, down, down - although not so dramatic. Here we are approaching The Farmer's brother's barns where he raises and milks dairy cattle. The sheep sense familiarity. They are sprinting and it's hard to keep up.
Sid has the road blocked off and we're all hoping for the best. No worries - the sheep easily turn into their lane.
Look hard and you'll see Jeremy, our guard llama, waiting there in the fancy schmancy greenhouse barn.
Here they are - all safe and sound. They are back where it's home sweet home, no matter how humble.