Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Sunday Afternoon Moving Sheep

When I was a kid, our Sunday afternoons were spent at one of our grandmother's houses for Sunday dinner. It was a really nice tradition that I'm sure some of you probably still continue today. Here at the farm, we don't have sit-down Sunday afternoon dinners. We do sheep chores as a family. There is always something that needs to be done and since Julia misses these chores since she is at school so much, I make sure that she gets included in some kind of sheep related activity on Sundays - our only day of the week when we (mostly) don't have off-farm responsibilities. I love this outdoorsy, farm-based tradition that Julia isn't aware is different than what many other families do on Sundays. She'll miss it someday, I'm sure.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in our corner of the world. One of those days when I just wanted to be outside all day long breathing the crisp air, enjoying the sunshine, and basking in all the gold and orange tones of the world around me.

I've put together a little photo essay for you of the work on the hill. After a lunch of Scotch Broth Soup (recipe coming later in the week), we headed up to the top of the hill where our adult ewes and summer born lambs have been grazing. Time to move the fences and the sheep, donkey, and llama into a fresh spot for some fall grass. When Julia and I arrived, The Farmer yelled to us to help find some ewes who had not followed most of the flock. He could hear them baaahing in the distance. Off we all went. 

As you can see, Phoebe was worried that her mother (that would be me) wasn't coming. Julia and I are always behind the sure footed dogs and their father. Slow is good sometimes. I spied these old bones from a cow who used to graze this pasture years ago. Looked like a giant dinosaur bone to me.


It was a gray day - a sign of things to come.


Before Julia and I got to where the sheep were, The Farmer and his collies had already gathered the errant sheep. 

I love to watch The Boss and his loyal dogs Phoebe and Nessie. There is just something beautiful about it - a shepherd and his dogs. Such a time-honored tradition of dependence between canines and humans. Amazing instincts Border Collies have.


Julia and I played back-up going around the empty barns with the dogs trying to round the sheep, Eeyore the Donkey and Jeremy the Llama back towards their new grazing.

Phoebe always has one eye on me and one on the sheep, not wanting to miss a move. Sweet dog.

 Nessie on the other hand is all business watching every move of her flock, even if from afar.

The sheep are all about food so they had to sneak some of the not yet mowed hay. We look at a lot of backsides of sheep around here.

Our donkey Eeyore always lags behind. He is just a bit stubborn. But he always goes eventually.

The fences were set up and it was time to move the sheep in.

Jeremy our Llama chowing down on a nice clump of green grass.

The animals were all fenced in for a few days in this pasture. It will be picked clean in a couple days and it will be time to move them again.

Nessie knows everything is right with her flock. We couldn't move this many sheep without both our collies. They are amazing dogs.



MicheleinMaine said...

It's amazing that Phoebe and Nessie know just what to do. How wonderful it is that you are giving them the job they were born for.

Loco Lindy said...

Nice story, yours is a lifestyle that so few experience any more. Thanks for sharing :)

Elaine said...

Your sheep farm sounds so idyllic with your beautiful pictures and commentaries. I know it's not all "pretty postcard stuff". Even though I couldn't bring myself to read about the tragedies that prompted you to get the "boys" to guard the sheep I know there are times that are not so good also. The sheep all look plump and happy.

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

We tend to do the same....weekends are for doing sheep work or farm chores that require the both of us. Can't imagine a Sunday afternoon spent lying on the couch with the New York Times! (but, I do wish for one sometimes)
Beautiful pictures.

Elaine said...

I had to go back and look at the photos again. Those doggies are so loyal and good. I hope the new pups will be great family pets too.
Do Jeremy and Eeyore do some protecting or braying or whatever when there is danger?

Martha said...

Love your animals! I enjoy your blog so much. My Dad raised working dogs. He said, they should always have one syllable names to be able to direct them quick.
Such as Nick and Glen so as not to confuse them on commands. Just a thought. Also, my daughter-in-law's Grandfather is a goat farmer and he has a Great Pyrenees that works his herd and could not do without her. Good luck you have the best of both dog breeds!

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Great pictures!
Our daughter is about Julia's age. I think some people feel sorry for our daughter when I tell them that she is helping us put up hay or shear the alpacas, etc. Growing up on a farm means helping with the work. But I think it also means more family time and learning to work as a team and so much more. Many families do separate things on the weekend. I think our girls are the lucky ones.