Friday, June 24, 2011

ashes to fences

Last night was one of those nights that work rolls off you and just happens. You start one task, then another, and then in the middle of task A you see a bucket and start filling it with water so you can add task C (bring Jasper fresh water) to the original two. Before you know it, you've gone through several alphabets and it's dark.

I came inside muddy and sweaty, but ready for a beer and some time to unwind. I was tired, just a couple hours of sleep the night before and a full day of office, ending with a fever of effort. Time for bed.

I was in that blissful state of "almost", not awake or asleep, when I heard my least favorite sound of June...

AAAGGGGHHHHHHHHKKKKK!"

It was Ashe, the ewe-lamb born this spring right after Knox. She's one of the two ewe lambs here, and not anywhere near as savvy as her peer, Pidge. I knew it was Ashe soon as that bleat hit the farm house window. Ashe has somehow learned to open her mouth before baaing, which removes any sort of "B" sound to the beginning of it. Instead she belts out a long, alto, cry with a light middle eastern accent. It's her voice. No one else's. I know that flock. And I knew she was stuck. "Get yourself out this time" I mumbled into the covers, exhausted as sin. But the bleats kept on coming, each one more desperate.

She's at this weird age where her head and horns fit through the fence, but she doesn't know how to back out. So she sticks her Cocker Spaniel sized head through to eat grass, and then tries to back out and her horns won't let her. You're left with a confused, moaning, sheep. She needs me to walk up there and pull her out.

So I get out of bed, get dressed, and look for a flashlight. I slide on boots and tell the dogs to relax and walk over to the first gate. There I unplug the fence, vault over, and walk up the steep hill to the high gate, where I walk through and Jasper comes trucking over. He has watched me do this so many times with Ashe he could do it himself. I gently pull the horns through the wire and let her go, what a racket.

So tonight when she got stuck again (and this will happen until she outgrows it or finally gets zapped from the charger) I decided she would have to pay for her bail out. So when that loud AAAHHK came in through the window I went to the fridge for the dewormer and an oral syringe and after her rescue dosed her with the first of three days of worm treatment. I'm rewiring and building more pasture area Monday, so timing is everything. Three days of stuck heads and three days of deworming. So it goes.

P.S. If you're in the Veryork area and have time to spare Monday, there will be a work party that day for certain. Fence building, pasture expanding, electric wiring...come learn all that stuff from the person who's already made all the mistakes. I'll cook a chicken dinner with Saranac beer and serve ice cream with my own strawberry sauce. Email if you can help, from 11AM-4PM.

15 Comments:

OpenID notherethenwhere said...

I love that you know your flock by voice, as it were. And that they get payback for getting you up and out (I'd probably take some amount of pleasure in doing the same).

June 24, 2011 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I was so afraid that poor little Ashe had died. When I read the title, then she was stuck, I just knew this was not going to have a happy ending. Man, was I relieved to read that she is ok. You should change that title!

June 24, 2011 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I agree. That was certain to have an unhappy ending.

June 24, 2011 at 11:19 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I've heard of some farmers who take a length of black plastic water pipe and slip both ends over the horns into an inverted U shape to keep them from sticking their head through the fence.

June 24, 2011 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Good luck Jenna! Those annoying lambs.... My two hair sheep lambs are always escaping my fence led by the goat. Its all fun at the farm!

June 24, 2011 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

CJ that is brilliant!

June 25, 2011 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

Wouldn't that be something if you could teach Jasper to free her?
;0) Hope you get more sleep tonight!

June 25, 2011 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I almost lost a ewe lamb who got tangled in the electric netting. For some reason my charger wasn't working and she figured out how to push her head through. It was bad. One more minute and she would have been gone!

I'd definitely try CJ's suggestion! You can use liquid nails to glue the pipe on. :-)

June 25, 2011 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

I would help with the fence-building in a heartbeat if I wasn't living in North Carolina. Ha - you must get tired of hearing that sort of thing... I really hope someone is able to help out. I'll cross my fingers, since that's about all I can do for you.

June 25, 2011 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I don't know a farmer without a tube of liquid nails!

June 25, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Or a roll of duct tape! Or lengths of baling twine!

June 25, 2011 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Glad Ashe is OK. One of my goats managed to get her head through the electric net when the power died, got stuck, twirled around a few times and got really stuck, and it took me what felt like hours to cut her loose (it was probably two minutes). If I hadn't been home, she would have died. In typical goat fashion, after she recovered from the terror, she went back over to the fence and started poking at it again! No more electric net for the goats!

I'm hoping to get there Monday afternoon to work on the fence crew.

June 25, 2011 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

Horned sheep are a pita for fencing. You really can't go with cheap woven wire with them- as eventually, you will lose one. Try getting the more expensive fencing that has smaller openings...

June 25, 2011 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Electric netting fence must be charged at all times, if not it won't work and you will lose animals.

June 28, 2011 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

I just knew this was not heading to possess a content ending. Man, was I relieved to study that she is ok.
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December 13, 2011 at 1:12 AM  

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