Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moving On again

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.

41 comments:

JANET said...

awesome! maybe next time you could take bets on which sheep will come in first? (but you're probably hoping for no next time, right?)

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I think the sheep did really well. I really enjoy reading your blog; thanks for taking the time to write it. Hope your holidays are merry!!!
Peace~ Cheryl

Anonymous said...

What a great photo essay.

I would be happy to be stopped some Saturday if it meant I could watch 150 sheep go by.

Catherine

Linda said...

Thank you for that lovely story. I'm still smiling!

Deborah Newton said...

What a beautiful tale of man and nature-- what a pleasure and to see this as I sit looking out on the city street!

I thought of you last night when we watched a wonderful old B/W kids film from 1947 called BUSH CHRISTMAS (not THAT Bush-- but the Australian BUSH!). The adventures of a group of children out alone on horseback in a time that has all but been lost. Your country life reminded me of it-- perhaps you and Julia would enjoy watching it in this holiday season!

Merry Christmas Kristin!

coffeechris said...

What a great Christmas Story...the suspense and scrolling of pictures and your words reads like a book mmmmmm do you feel a book coming on. Interesting after you posting about the book "Shall I knit you..." now you have the making of The Farmer/Shepard and his Sheep adventure complete with little shepards, border collie, DHL truck and the likes. I am going to forward this to some folk I know will really enjoy it.
You are the best.

loribird said...

What a lovely journey - thanks for bringing us along for the excitement!

Jan said...

What fun! Thanks so much for sharing, and Happy Holidays!

knitting08816 said...

What fun that must have been! Thank you so much for sharing it. All that snow made me want to shiver!
Knitting08816

Dianne said...

Great post! You really should consider making a book from this. Being a sheep person myself, I can appreciate what it took to pull this off. Isn't it amazing how the sheep can often outsmart us--and they can move a lot faster than you would think when they make up their minds to! Great pictures, too.

shortoldlady said...

Thank you for sharing your special trip! To be out with such woolly creatures is great! Lucky you.

Laritza said...

You have no idea of how much all this means to me. It brings back wonderful memories of my childhood. I have tears running down my cheeks and pray to God that He will protect you and your flock. Thank you so much for the pictures, the story and for taking care of the animals.

marlaine said...

What a wonderful story! I agree with all the other comments that you should make this into a children's book. You've got all the photos for it already!

Thanks for such a wonderful blog. I enjoy each and every entry. Merry Christmas to you and your family - including all your animals!

LaurieAnna's Vintage Home said...

I love this post!! So happy I stumbled upon your blog. The pics of the sheep in the snow are lovely! Thanks for sharing this post......I love the ending!

LaurieAnna

Mia said...

The kids probably had more fun than the sheep. And the lady who was upset needs to learn to slow down and enjoy the journey.

KnitNana said...

What a terrific piece of photo journalism! Thank you, and Merry Christmas...
(((hugs)))

Danielle said...

What a great post! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. Your sheep are beautiful creatures.

Heidi said...

Are you serious?? you had to take your sheep around THE HAIRPIN TURN?!? Wow...that thing terrifies me, I go like 2 miles an hour around it, and never in the winter if I can help it.

LOL sheep butts....I had no idea sheep were so fast!

TJ said...

I love this post! I loved reading about the sheep's trek down to the pasture and I loved reading about their trip back. Glad everyone made it safely.

Happy Holidays to you and yours! :)

Tana said...

Oh, that's wonderful! I so love your farm stories!

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story! I can only imagine the mutterings between the sheep as they stand in the 'barn'!
Happy Christmas to you all!

anmiryam said...

What a fabulous photo essay. Have you thought about turning the sheep migrations into picture books for the younger set?

Lisa W said...

You took some great pictures Kristin. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I'll another, what fun! to read about your sheep moving adventure, although I know it was a lot of hard work for all!

Thanks for the pictures and story, I enjoyed them this evening!

Jean Marie

Mama Urchin said...

I'm so glad you lug your camera ob these adventures.

Zanne said...

What an adventure! I would have been scared to even attempt such a journey. Three miles is a long distance out in the country where people tend to drive like bats out of hades. (They somehow believe that the roads are some kind of Nascar race track). I totally love that greenhouse barn. Thanks for the great story.

Patricia said...

very very cool.

Felicia said...

I enjoyed the move :)

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I did not want this story to end. I'm sure you were glad to be back inside and warm when it did end!

Thank you for the story, and the photos. I haven't read any blogs in a while and went to yours as a special treat. I needed that!!!

Ewe-niss said...

Wow! Very interesting in a simple yet amazing way. I will have to show it to my kids when they get up.
And to think - people moving their herds of sheep, cows, pigs... to different areas for different reasons use to be common place way back when.

Thank you for sharing this. Have a merry Chirstmas!

Gammy aka Peggy said...

Your photos always make it look so quaint, romantic and inviting. Particularly while sitting here in my warm, dry living room.

Gretchen said...

what a fabulous story. Thank you so much for posting this and for the wonderful photos. I wish I could have been there to see the journey. This story has made my week. Thanks

Diane said...

Hey, that's MY DHL guy!!! He's a nice fellow and does have a sense of humor, thank goodness.

I'm boggled that people who live in Leyden would be irritated to have to stop for a herd of sheep. It's Leyden, for pete's sake!

Thanks for the picture story!

skywitch said...

I love this story and the accompanying photos! Just wonderful, Kristin.

Wishing you, Mark and Julia (and all the animals) a lovely holiday season.

By the way, Bebop is growing by leaps and bounds!

Wendy

DeanB said...

Well that ought to make me wonder what adventures the stuff on my needles has had!

ellen said...

Congrats on a job well done with no casualties!

Anonymous said...

Thousands of miles separate us, but sheep still act exactly the same!! I am sitting here in Victoria, Aus, and it is 40degrees, and we are bringing bales on tractors to sheep as you were in minus degrees! Glad I found you, Happy Christmas from our farm to yours.
Rosie

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one said this but it came to mind instantly for me: Baa Ram Ewe!

Wonderful.

Wabbit said...

This is great! Thank you for reminding me why I've never wanted to have sheep!

peninah said...

thank you so much for taking the time to write and share this.

Kathleen said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this special event. It is fascinating to read about the "common" events in others'lives that are so different from mine.