Friday, March 25, 2011

We have Sheep

I went to Kingston, OK on Monday. I drove up to the last turn and I knew I was in the right place, it was quite comical. What greeted my eyes as I turned onto the road? A farmer trying to herd a flock of sheep off of the road. I rolled my eyes and wondered what I was getting into. The farmer greeted me and asked me to honk my horn, so I did as I was bade and the sheep cooperated and ran into the yard.

We exchanged hellos and then proceeded to look at the sheep. The farmer was very nice but looking at sheep proved a bit challenging. He had lots of them (probably about 100) but they were penned on 40 acres with fields sectioned off here and there but NO real gates, so the sheep could go from section to section. The sheep were pretty spooky and as we'd get close they'd flock together and pour into another section. I inquired about a couple of ewes with lambs "was that a ram or ewe lamb on that ewe". He didn't know (or at least didn't let on that he did). Finally I settled on a loud painted desert ewe and older ewe lamb (he was pretty sure this lamb was a ewe lamb). I wanted at least one more ewe and lamb to start my flock. I picked out one more barbado ewe with a nice lamb (not sure if it was a ram or ewe).

This is the painted desert ram that was running with the ewes, sire of the painted desert lambs:

On my way out he showed me what he had in his little horse trailer -an adorable day old bottle lamb. She was just darling. He said I could buy her but that was more than I wanted to get into. We parted company and he said if he got down to the Gainesville livestock auction this week he'd deliver my sheep for a little extra.

Well I didn't hear from him on Tuesday auction day, so on Thursday I made arrangements to go pick up the sheep. I hummed and hawed on how to get them. We have a 4 horse trailer but that seemed a bit overkill for two ewes and their lambs. I looked at my HHR and thought why not? The HHR rear seats fold down nice and flat and they are all plastic backed -they don't have carpet on them, nor is there carpet in the back of it. I found an old shipping blanket put it in, picked up my daughter at school and set off to get my sheep.

What an adventure. We got there and the farmer had some of the sheep sort of penned in a catch pen (there was no gate). The ewe and ewe lamb were in there so we set about catching them. We were able to corner and grab the ewe with sheep dipping and diving all around us, and got her into the car. Meanwhile the sheep started sliding through an opening between the fence and a pole in the catch pen. We saw her lamb disappear with the group. My daughter and I ran to get a gate closed before they disappeared out of the field and shut it in the nick of time. Then we had to herd the sheep back into the catch pen which of course was the last thing they wanted to do. We did manage to get the ewe lamb in there and nabbed her. Now I had to find the other ewe and lamb I had picked out. They of course were not with the group that we had penned. I said "well let's go get them". The farmer said we'd never catch them but I was determined.

We found the ewe with a group of sheep in the top field and I was excited when we were able to drive them down out of the top field into the field with the catch pen. The farmer said "It's not going to work", and I shrugged wondering what he was talking about. The sheep so far were cooperating, they had come from the top field, and we only had to drive them from there to the smaller field with the catch pen. Then I saw. This field had a culvert that went under the road. The sheep were heading in that direction. I said "they can't go through there can they?". He nodded, they could. Oh boy...this wasn't good.

I conceded defeat. He said he'd catch the other sheep in a couple of weeks time and I could get my ewe then. On the way out, I showed my daughter the little bottle fed barbado lamb. The farmer asked my daughter if he wanted to feed her as it was feeding time. Of course she did and so a bottle was mixed, and my daughter fed her. I could see it was love at first sight, and it was an ewe lamb so what harm would be done adding her to our folds? In the car she went with a bag of milk replacer.

The sheep were good passengers and other than having to relieve themselves straight away and stinking us out, traveled well. Here is a picture of them on their ride home:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, your sheep buying experience mirrors mine quite well - everything from sheep in the road, to chasing them down and finally getting a bottle baby throw in at the last minute! Must be a common tactic amongst shepherd! :)