Friday, July 5, 2013

Tom Sawyer and loading the sheep

I thought I would share my adventure of the day…
I called my friend Karen as I was driving to Nashville.  This is a herding clinic weekend, and my sheep were at Nancy’s needing to be picked up, I had the brilliant idea of asking Karen if she and her Aussie, Motley would like to meet us at Nancy’s to load these 4 sheep(yearlings) in the crates on my trailer. Karen thought it would be fun as Motley was getting a little stir crazy, not getting to run around the backyard because of all the rain. I suggested that I would call when stopped for gas 15 minutes before getting there.

I called upon arrival at the Shell Gas Station/Dunkin Donuts, and Karen asked “is it raining?” “No, not here”. “Its pouring here” (closer to Nancy’s, and feared as I did see the very dark sky ahead).  “I’ll call you when I leave the gas station.” And as I left the gas station it started to drizzle.  I called Karen to let her know that I was on my way.  She was not sure about this (mis)adventure, however in true Tom Sawyer fashion, I convinced her that whitewashing the fence (AKA catching sheep) would be a grand time.

Which it was. We had the great idea to back the trailer up to the small personnel gate, and opened the sheep crates so they could be put in. I brought young Dari in as backup and Karen sent Motley to get the sheep. (this field is probably 150 x 150 feet) As Mot was bringing them to her in the corner, I had an even better idea, have the sheep load themselves on the trailer, and into the 2 crates! I explained it to Karen. They (Karen and Mot) tried, but every time the sheep got close, those sneaky PIA would get away. Motley would shift the wrong way, or Karen would stop him at the wrong place. They would have gotten it with time, but I heard thunder. And so, I sent the ever impatient young Dari to go help. Dari brought the sheep, and stopped when asked. Just a step or two too far to the left. Karen stopped Motley. I looked to see where he was, and he was behind me and a bit further away from the trailer. It was perfect to stop the sheep from running. Now to get them to jump on the trailer (really had one chance for this plan to work, as sheep are really not that forgiving). Would Dari take that “Away” flank (with just a verbal)? Would Karen and Mot hold their positions? Would the sheep jump up on the trailer and go in the crates? (they had done this a month ago). I asked Dari, she took the step, the sheep shifted, I asked her to walk, and she eased. They jumped on the trailer, 2 went in one crate, one in the other, and the forth I pushed into the ½ full crate. A plan that fell in place! We got the crates secured, the tarps tied, the dogs in crates, and the gate re-bungeed, and then it started pouring. Timing! And I appreciated all 3 of my helpers in this little adventure!