Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Update on the Sheep

I haven't had any sheep related posts the last few weeks so I thought I would give ya'll an update.

The sheep are currently up in the high country and will be there until early October.
You know...when I help trail them down aka my unintentional half marathon last year!

I was able to take my family up there a few weeks ago. It just so happened J needed to move camp while mi familia were in town and I jumped at the opportunity. We also took an unplanned trip up there the next week to pick up one of our herders. More on that in a sec.

The sheep look good. Really good. They are grazing away, loving their lives.

It's beautiful up there.
 Here comes Gringo to say hello!

Let me give you an idea of what it is like for our herders up on the mountain. They have no running water and the water they use is freezing cold. They sleep in tents in the middle of the forest and are  frequented by bear and coyotes (thank goodness for our awesome guard dogs!).

Now while they do have cell phones, the service is spotty and their battery has to last until the next "move". This is when J will bring their cell phone home and charge it. He takes it back to them the next move.

Their job up in the high country is to keep the sheep in a certain area (we'll go over this in a bit) and tend to them as needed.

Our Forest Service permits allow us to be at certain places on the mountain for a certain amount of time.

When our time is up (or there isn't enough feed) we move camp to the next location. "Camp" consists of our herder's supplies and sleeping quarters (tents). J goes up every week, takes our herders supplies and moves everything to the next spot. It's really a tedious process.

For instance, today J moved camp. He left at 7:00 this morning and spends hours on the 4 wheeler taking in supplies (since obviously we can't drive right to the "campsite"). It was a long day for him.

It's 11pm and he literally just walked in the door.

Some trips he'll trade out dogs. Today he took Nell to the mountain and brought Sage home. Duke and Nell, our newest pups are spending their first summer up on the mountain. Hopefully they learn the ropes!

J also brings me an update on how things are going. He is sure to tell me how all the dogs are doing - Wito, Embre and Gringo are the guard dogs currently up there. They are doing a good job keeping the bear and coyote away. Daniel says we've had bear and coyote almost every night. Yikes!

I am proud to say that I've gotten him in the habit of putting some treats in his pocket for the dogs on "Camp Moving" days.

If only I can get him in the habit of packing a lunch and a Nalgeen. He came home super dehydrated and starving.


Gail said...

It is good that you have use of so much pasture.

TexWisGirl said...

a hard life, but hopefully a rewarding one for your hubby (and even more so for the herders!)

Cindy said...

I love your blog, very interesting and love learning about your sheep ranching. Very cool!

Brittany said...

So, I just caught up on all of your posts and I miss you dearly. Things look like they are going good at the ranch. I seriouslty can't imagine all of this 'physically' hard work it requires living as a farmer.
I love your new pups. They are cuties.

Stephanie said...

Wow! I can't even imagine what life must be like up in the mountains. Sounds like a whole other world!