Monday, June 18, 2012

Countin' Sheep

Insomnia should never again be a problem here on the hill.

Okay, one look at Jed and you will realize that he has no sleep issues. He has been known to cause more than a few! …and on a very personal note, yes, I admit it…I have fallen asleep during the news.  …and, YES, that would indeed be the 6 o’clock news! (there were mitigating circumstances, but nonetheless…)

However, if one needed to count sheep in order to fall asleep, things recently got a little more interesting around here.

A couple of Fridays ago, I was picking in the hoophouse when I heard a good deal of commotion at the top of the lane.  It was raining, and the hoophouse side was rolled down, so I couldn’t see what was going on without discontinuing my work and walking to the door of the hoophouse.

That didn’t do a whole lot of good.  I could see a pickup with a livestock trailer…the driver got out a couple of times, looked around, and re-positioned the truck each time.  Since I was “on the clock” and didn’t want to appear REALLY nosey, and it was raining, I went back to work.  The banging of the trailer doors and revving of the engine signaled that the project was completed.  I still couldn’t figure out what might be going on, so I texted the Boss. 

“WHAT’S going on?  Are neighbor’s horses being rustled?”

His answer?  “we have 25 new neighbors!”


I finished the job, and since it was time for lunch, went in the house to find out what he meant…what was going on…I figured it was animals of some type, but since I hadn’t seen anything in the trailer, and I couldn’t see Neighbor’s field…I was stumped.


Twenty-five ewes are making their home at our neighbor’s for the summer.  He generally runs calves, or a few cow-calf pairs (…one year he had a bull, too! Funny times, those…NOT) in order to keep the property in “land-use”.  This provides a tax break for those keeping their land in agricultural use. As cattle prices were a little higher than he wanted to invest, he “borrowed” some sheep from his brother. 

This is more than a little amusing to me as Neighbor hates sheep. I’m fairly certain he’s one of the locals that would refer to sheep as “range maggots” if pushed.  He and brother used to run sheep on this property back before we bought it. So, the neighborhood has returned to its ovine roots. Although Jed and Ellie Mae are fit to be tied about the new status of the hill.

It’s odd to see sheep over on the hill where we are used to seeing cows and horses.  It’s funny to hear them call to our sheep and lambs.  They run around and holler when I call our sheep at feeding time.  But, it’s downright hilarious to see one of them in our driveway, sheep and lambs on either side of the driveway, dogs bouncing around at the gate!

About two days after the new inhabitants arrived, I heard more commotion at the top of the driveway.  I was in the kitchen preparing supper when the dogs went off.  I looked out the door, half expecting the UPS man, or the neighbor’s Chihuahua (Jed’s nemisis).  There on the lane was a sheep!  She was running around, shrieking.  Our sheep and lambs were all on alert. The dogs were having fits. Neighbor’s sheep were on the other side of the lane, calling to their sister. She went galloping off down the lane.  Just another day on the hill…

I reported to the Boss, he just chuckled, (Neighbor has a terrible time with wandering animals) and we went back to our supper preparations. Meanwhile, we were rejoicing that the Boss had the foresight to put the gate in at the top of the drive.  Have you any idea what kind of damage we could incur from marauding ruminants?   Since he was grilling, he was standing on the front porch watching it rain (again!)as he cooked.  When he came inside, he was laughing again.  “You should have seen it!”  he said. “I think I’ve seen everything!”

Seems Neighbor was coming home from work, and encountered Ms. Sheep on the lane.  He proceeded to herd her up the lane with his vehicle…his vintage Camaro!  Gee, I miss all the good stuff!

A little while later, sheep owning brother showed up…tacked up some barbwire and went his way.  Escaping sheep issue solved! 


Apparently, Ms. Sheep must like free and easy living.  Two days later, she was out again.  This time she was munching the other neighbors grass. At some point, someone got her back in the field.  I know; I counted!

This afternoon, I walked down to get the mail.  I saw Neighbor’s sheep in the alley near the creek.  I tried real hard not to scare them, but they bulleted up the hill anyway.  In passing, I wondered just where that one sheep could have escaped.  I had no moment of enlightenment, so I got the mail and started home.

About that time a big red dually came up the hill.  I sorta, kinda recognized the driver.  I waved, he waved, the passenger waved.  I think the dog in the back waved.  Then, the truck stopped on the hill, it started backing up.  Hmm, okay, now this is weird…

Then, I saw them gesturing to one another.  Ms. Sheep bolted out of the underbrush.  

The two fellas jumped out of the truck…I volunteered to help (‘cause that’s just what ya do)…a quick discussion…open the gate…everyone wave their arms…Ms. Sheep jumps the cattle guard…dude closes the gate…done deal.

The driver and I started discussing where she got out.  I told him that I’ve been trying to figure it out, because that same black one was out before, he rolled his eyes and nodded.  I admit it, I tell him, I am stumped.  He told me that another neighbor called him about the escapee.  It was then it dawned on me that he was actually the grown-up version of some little kid I had met eons ago.  Yep, he’s sheep-brother’s son!  Man, do I feel old.

Now, there is an ongoing mystery in our little community on the hill.  How in the world is Ms. Sheep (and it is ALWAYS the same one) escaping?  …why aren’t the others escaping?

I told him I’d keep an eye on it.  I’ll let someone know if I figure it out in the relatively near future.

As for counting sheep to go to sleep….I really don’t think so…

                                         that escaping one may end up giving us all nightmares!

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