Monday, February 21, 2011

Moving Camp

A few weeks ago I helped J move camp. Isn't as easy as it sounds especially when you actually help rather than watch which is what I've been known to do in the past.

We lease Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land for our winter range. The winters are milder there and we can move to different areas on our permit land every week or so to ensure new feed. Our herders are from Peru and are really good at what they do. They stay with the sheep in the sheep camp. They will doctor the sheep when needed, keep them in the right area so that our sheep don't mix with neighboring sheep bunches.

This morning we had to get out there before the sun comes out. If we wait until the snow melts everything is muddy and it's harder to move camp.

Our herder and sheep are already gone. They start to graze over to the new area early in the morning. We hook up the camp (using a ridiculously scary piece of equipment called a Farm Jack), load up all the wood, and anything else that is lying around and head on over to the new spot. Hooking and packing up camp takes about a good hour and a half.

We head over to the new camp which is about a 5 mile drive (but feels like 10 miles since we have to go about 10 miles per hour). We unload and I plow snow out of our way. We use the ridiculously scary piece of equipment again and I find myself closing my eyes. If it breaks and the sheep camp hitch falls to the ground and topples on J I sure as heck don't want to see it happen.

Right as we were taking the last salt block out of the bed of the truck we hear a bell. The sheep are here! We walk over and soon see the dogs Embre, Wito, Skip and Chili and here comes our herder.

We chit chat for a while and give the pups a treat. J and our herder talk about the next camp and when they will move. They have to take into consideration how much feed (or lack thereof) is here at this camp - that will determine how long the sheep can graze this area.

I can say the sheep are lookin healthy, our herder is in good spirits and the 4 dogs are happy! Things are good.

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