Saturday evening we had some friends over for dinner to celebrate mutual birthdays. We did the obligatory walk around the farm so everyone could see the sheep and the chickens and then went into the kitchen to settle in for a glass of wine and some pre-dinner snacks. Everyone was in a jovial mood - catching up since we hadn't seen our friends in over six months. I was sitting at the kitchen table where there is a view out the window. The Farmer was just about to tell everyone about a funny scene from a BBC show we used to watch called Ballykissangel. I knew exactly the scene he was going to tell them - about the old shepherd who made cut-out plywood sheep and set them up on his hillside so it would look like he had more sheep than he really did. As I looked up and out the window, there went a mess of adult sheep flying by....
I stopped the conversation quickly - yelling - "Oh my goodness - there go the sheep....." Noone had a clue what I was talking about - especially The Farmer who thought the adult ewes were way up the hillside grazing our neighbor's field. I said "No Mark - look - it's the mamas." Talk about a conversation stopper.
Luckily we had sheep tolerant friends visiting. All nine of us headed outdoors to try to contain the renegade sheep. Without the dogs, we all would have been useless. We positioned some friends by the gate and told them to flap their arms when the sheep came back and point them into the fenced in pasture to mingle with the lambs that are living in our front pasture. With Phoebe and Nessie, it took about 4 minutes to get 100 or so contained.
The Farmer drove back up the hill quickly before dark fell and found a handful of lambs left in the field. His theory is that something spooked the sheep and they all headed home. The little ones didn't know to move fast enough. Hopefully they would stay safe overnight. We'll never know what happened but it did make for a memorable dinner party.
Sunday's job was to reset fences, split up the flock once again and send the mamas back up the hill. It took the better part of the day but by late afternoon, we were ready to move them on out.
Here they go up the field directly behind our house. Nessie is there somewhere helping although the grass is so tall it is hard to see her. When there is such good eating, the sheep like to take their time. We didn't have much time until nightfall so we had to rush them.
Once they all realized where they were going, they started moving quickly. Julia and I stayed behind with the stragglers. As with humans, there are some sheep who are just faster. Here's the leaders of the pack with Eeyore meeting up with the left behind group.
Here's the whole bunch walking down the hill with The Farmer not far behind.
Nessie helped us move them into the enlarged newly fenced field.
Here she is taking a break after all her hard work in a patch of ferns.
As we walked down the hill, the sun was setting and everyone was ready for a night of grazing.