Thursday, May 31, 2012

Adventures in Sheep!

The beginning of this year we were talking about raising some pigs for meat getting them in spring and butchering them in the fall for meat. Dad has been saying for 2 years now that he wanted sheep. We all just kind of kept brushing it off. But this year we got some. We got 2 lambs one male and one female from West Creek Family Farm. They are a merino cross, I can't remember exactly what she told me they were but either way they are so cute.

The Vanvorce's dropped them off and we had their little shelter made and they went right into the pasture and checked things out. Well sure enough we went back up to the house and just as it was starting to get dark we got a call from mom and dad telling us that the sheep were gone. Oy! So we headed out the door loaded the kids in the car and started searching. I drove up and down the road to check to make sure they had not traveled down the road. Eric headed up into the woods in search of them. When I got back from driving around I headed into the woods with him looking for them. Eric Jr went in with Grandma and Julianna was sound asleep in the car.

Not long after I had headed into the woods Eric had found them.  He got one back in the fence and was herding the other one back in when the one that was in squeezed right under the bottom line of barbed wire. There is 4 strands of wire with the lowest one being only a few inches off the ground. How in the world that lamb squeezed under there we aren't sure.

Now silly me in the hurry that I was to get out the door put on sandals....yes, I was crazy. The pasture where the sheep are is a hillside. The hillside has numerous fresh water springs on it so it is continuously wet. So here I was traipsing through the mud with shorts and sandals on. Eric finally got a hold of one and started carrying it down the hill. The other one wasn't following. Then it finally heard the other start crying and headed down towards the shelter.

So I continued my walking through mud to get out of the woods loosing a sandal here and there and having so much mud on my feet that I might as well not have shoes on.

Dad and Eric got them into the shelter and closed them in for the night. They had decided that maybe until they got used to things we would close them into a smaller area.

Covered from head to toe in mud, Eric and I gathered the kids and headed home to clean up and go to bed.

The next morning we noticed that they both had some red on their coats which meant that they probably got cut at one point. Wasn't too bad but still enough to make sure that we took a look. They were fine.

Two days later we had to go to Cornell Orchards to get some more apples.  We were headed back and we got a call from dad saying that the sheep were gone. UGH! So we flew back to the house to find the sheep.

We got home and asked dad how long he thought they were gone. He said he was weed whacking and looked up and there they were in the pen nice and quite just hanging out. Then he weed whacked some more and looked up and the gate was wide open and they were gone. He had no clue which way they headed. 

Eric headed into the woods in search of the sheep again. I had both kids with me and was searching the lawn and the side of the road to see if I could find some droppings or some footprints. Eric Jr the whole time asking where they were and not wanting to search for them. Julianna was fussing and not understanding what we were doing. Dad was driving around the "block" which for us is huge, looking for the sheep. Thinking maybe they had tried to head back to the Vanvorce's.

After a few hours of searching with no noise and no sightings we gave up. Eric had seen footprints in the woods headed into State Land which meant that we probably had lost them for good. We all came to the notion that they were gone. They would either be attacked and killed by coyotes or they would soon return. We called around the neighborhood telling people that the 2 sheep had gone missing and that if they saw them to give us a call.

So the next day Mom and Dad's neighbor called asking if we had sheep. When Eric said yes he then asked if we had a pasture in back of his house. Eric said no and the neighbor then said that the sheep were behind his house headed towards the house.

YAY!!!!! The sheep had returned!!!!!!

We all decided that night that this pasture was just cursed. When Eric was little his parents had animals in pasture back there and they tended to get out quite a bit. The cows we had a few years ago continuously got out. We double dutied and put barbed wire and electrical wire around the entire pasture. Did not stop them.

So now here we are again with sheep and they have gotten out twice in the 4 days that we had them.

They are now happy and content where they are. The little girl has a sore leg from her gallivanting all over the countryside, but hopefully it will heal soon.

We asked Eric Jr what he wanted to name them and he still hasn't come up with any names yet.

So we have two little lambs with no names who are just as mischevious as ever. They are getting used to us now and get excited when they hear the tractor start up and come out looking around when grandma and Eric Jr head over to see them. Eric Jr picks some grass before he heads over and as he starts getting close he yells, "Here sheepies, have some delicious grass for you!" Too cute!

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