Thursday, August 9, 2012


It's raining today, and it's glorious.

 Maybe not so exciting for many people, who are just happy the flowers and yard are getting watered.  But our pasture is so dry there is nothing there.  I have to take the sheep out to the woods and sit with them, using a trained sheepdog to keep them from wandering, just to make sure they are getting enough to eat.   This can be a good time for relaxing and meditating, but really, how much relaxing and meditating does a person need?   I don't dare take Dane's laptop to the woods in case it would get leaves or something in it, or get stepped on by a sheep, and we don't have any smart phones or whatever.   Reading a book is difficult, because I don't dare get too involved in the plot lest the sheep get too far away, and out in the road or lost in the woods.

Then I feel like Little Boy Blue

Little Girl Blue come send your dog
The sheep are in the road and the cows are in the bog.
Where is the girl who looks after the sheep?
She's got her nose in a book, way too deep.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Moving the sheep to find some grass

Our pasture is very sad, very dry.  Really not much there, so I have to take the sheep out to find some grass now, or leaves, or anything really.   When the governor announced that parks would be opening for livestock grazing my ears perked up.  That's how bad it is.  I probably will not have to do that, but it's something I keep in mind. 

Sprite bringing the sheep out of the "pasture".  Not much there. 

Putting sheep through the gate- just enough pressure so they are not rushed

Decker, the naughty sheep, makes a break for it and Sprite brings him back
Hello sheep

Taking them through the yard, and working on the drive

Sprite really wanted to go to the head and bring them back

My adorable hyena-dog

Sheep say "mmm, trees"

Sprite holding them off the gate

Sheep in their patch of weeds to eat

That'll do, good dog

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Puppies herding

This week I tried both pups, Stormy and Taz, out on the sheep individually.   They are 4 months old.   They had both been on the sheep at the same time about a month ago, and turned on really fast then.   I was expecting wild and wooly  this time.    And they were!

Taz went first and I was able to get him circling the group pretty well after a minute or so of wild chasing.   He was very eager and not able to be shut down at all.   When I finally grabbed the rope he still wanted more.

Stormy went a couple of days later and he was even more intense than his brother.  He didn't notice I was out there in the pen any more, he just wanted SHEEP!   I finally grabbed the rope and made him walk around next to me for about 20 minutes, before he started giving to my pressure.    Then I turned him loose and he was wonderful- he moved off me, he circled the group, he wasn't running into the middle of the sheep any more.   He also did not want to quit when I was ready to stop and had to be dragged out. 

 I managed to get a couple of pictures of him in between when I tied him to the fence to catch my breath.  
He is one eager pup! 

The puppies are out of Holmberg's Firefly Contessa DNA-VP and by WTCH Birch Hollow's Ranch Security RTDcs, PATDcs, OFTDcs, DNA-VP

They are both DNA tested. 

Kids and fun

What are we up to?
            Combination James Bond/cheerleader/Santa Claus? 

What can I say?
A boy and his snake

The kids were having fun Monday on their day off.    

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It should have worked

Yes, that is how my morning went.  I tried a new set up this year for loading the lambs because I had loaned out my X pen that I usually use to form kind of a chute.  Plus, the snow wasn't very deep so I thought it would be easy to have the trailer right up by the barn.  Usually we have to leave the trailer in the driveway and bring the sheep to it.  

So, last night Dane shoveled a little snow out of the way and backed the trailer right up to the barn door.  He said to use the giant plywood sheets to make sides for the ramp up to the trailer, but in the morning I wasn't sure I could move the plywood, plus I was afraid of ruining it.   Instead, I grabbed a spare gate and a smaller piece of plywood.  

I figured it would take me 20 minutes to half an hour to get the ramp made, and get the correct lambs sorted and pushed through the barn and loaded into the trailer.  

Everything went fine with Hank helping me for the gathering of the lambs, the sorting,  and putting the lambs through the barn.  The first one started up the trailer, then the second one decided my ramp sides were too low and bailed over the side.  By pushing hard, I got three more lambs in the trailer, but then the rest either jumped the sides or scooted under a crack in the bottom by the gate.   Dang it.  Now I had 4 lambs loose in the barn yard.   I sent Hank to round them up, thinking I'd just put them back in the barn and try again.  
But they wanted nothing to do with that barn door, treating it like a solid wall, and every time I'd get them close this one little wether would make a bolt for freedom.  I was losing it.  A few swear words and dire threats were issued.   After several more attempts at getting them in the barn. I was about ready to butcher the one wether on the spot with my teeth.   

Just then Dane came outside with the kids.  Pepper, who is very enthusiastic and only partly trained, slipped past them from the house and came bearing down on us and our four flighty lambs like a freight train.     I reacted quickly.   I stepped out in front of her and in my fiercest voice said "DOWN" and she did.   Whew!    I quickly grabbed her and put her in the car out of the way.  

Dane helped me grab two more lambs and toss them up in the trailer.   The last two were now very squirrelly from being separated into such a small group, and Hank was having trouble holding them.  So I did my one and only sensible act of the morning, I went and had Hank sort off one of the old ewes to bring out and settle the lambs down again.   After a bit more work we got them all together and were able to grab the last two lambs and get them loaded. 
It ended up taking about twice as long as I thought, but at least they were all alive, uninjured and on the trailer.  I hope Dane made it to work on time. 

In another week we should have a nicely stocked freezer again. 

"It should have worked" is a phrase often used by Norm Andrews, a cattleman and writer of humorous stories from Nebraska.    To see one of Norm's stories/photo galleries, click here:

Dog Tales from A Cattleman