Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How To Tell It's Spring

This morning before evening chores I was sipping some coffee and checking in with Gibson. I was coddling the oaf with pillow talk in front of the wood stove, petting him while he ate his breakfast of pain medication and kibble. He slept through the whole night on the floor with me again, without any shaking or panting. Soon as he was done eating I let him into the crate while I turned to head outside to do chores without him. He knew, and seemed to whimper a little but what could I do? Doctor's orders = low activity, medication, and rest. The only way for him to rest when I am not with him in the house is crate confinement.

I told him it would be okay and turned towards the glass doors of the farmhouse. I watched a cloud fly by the large windows. A cloud of wool and horns and hooves and chicken feed thievery. Ah yes, the sights of spring... sheep escapes. I let out a sigh and headed outdoors.

It didn't take long to bribe them with some grain. I missed Gibson's assistance for sure. Gibson is no stellar trial dog but when sheep are on the move he is as useful as shoes. I was able to get them back in the fence, check the wiring, check the charger and all seemed well so I went about chores and then headed inside to work on a logo for a client. An few hours later I decided I needed to move so I suited up for a two-mile jog. So I checked on the sheep and saw them all laying down in their deep bedded hay at the base of their hill, happily behind the three strands of electric wire and decidedly not escapees. The weather was nice, if overcast, and I liked getting all worked up as I puffed up the mountain like the draft pony I am. Only when I returned to my driveway I noticed little sheep turds heading up the road in the opposite direction that I headed on my jog. Oh boy.

I grabbed another bucket and walked up the road. I found them all in my neighbor's driveway: lambs, rams, ewes and yearling. They came bounding down the mountain and walked behind me in a way that made me wish it was in slow motion, Reservoir-Dogs Style. This Time I decided it was time to up the ante with a better charger. I went into town and got a more powerful one at the hardware store and made sure it was working with a fence tester. It was! And I headed inside to get back to office work, delayed but eager to work on the second design job of the day.

It only took a few hours for Brick, my brawest ewe, to realize with her head down and good running start she could bust through the wire and barely feel a shock with her thick coat. So, I gathered them up again, said a prayer for Gibson's speedy recovery, and turned the fence from a three strand into a tighter five-strand affair. My fingers are crossed but until I see them smote by the new banjo-strung fence I am not planning on wandering too far from the property.

So, warm enough weather for sheep to clear fences? Yup. It's spring. I emailed Jim McRae (my Shearer since my first three sheep in Vermont) and asked for an appointment soon as he could fit me in!

P.S. Thank you all for the kind words, messages, emails, vlog and blog comments about Gibson. He is able to walk but he can't run without pain and of course, isn't. He's been spending a lot of time in his crate with the door open while I write or design. He is on these pain meds that I think bother his stomach a little so he sleeps much of the day. By the end of this week I will know if he needs X-rays or blood tests. We (the vet and I) think it is a sprain but if it is related to his anaplasmosis then it may require more bloodwork or meds. I am hoping this is all a matter of time, rest, and healing.


Blogger Tomas said...

Gibson is truly a great friend and a special dog. Best wishes for his full recovery. Also, please contact me. Thanks. Tomas

March 31, 2015 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Mel Baker said...

Thinking of you, Gibson. Get some rest and you will be better in no time.

March 31, 2015 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger renee said...

The problem with sheep is that it is mind over matter. If they think they can go through a certain place in a fence - they can. Good luck with keeping them in

April 1, 2015 at 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I love those sheep. lol You're life is never dull with them around.

Glad Gibby is doing better. Maybe some yogurt would help his tummy.

April 1, 2015 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

I can sympathise with sheep escapes. I use FOUR strands of electrified wire on strong posts just to watch each sheep squeeze between strands, take the shock, and wander off to look for better grass. Even after they're sheared, some still take the hit and go for a wander. Sigh. Get well soon Gibson, the sheep need you.

April 1, 2015 at 5:55 AM  
Blogger Lilac Hill said...

Hope Gibson is on the mend.
Escaping sheep are a trial.
After lambing and weaning last year, I culled the escape leaders and had a much easier season. This year I need to make sure the new lambs are trained to the fence. My new fence tester should help with my effectiveness. Honestly I'd rather work with sheep than shovel snow and chop ice out of the sidewalk. ;)

April 1, 2015 at 7:47 AM  

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