Monday, October 1, 2012

Ewe'll be coming down the mountain..

"Oh, wow! How funny. I'm on my way and there is just some random sheep walking down the road," a co-worker said to me on her way into the office.

"Welp, can't be one of our sheep, because ours are way up in the high county and not quite making their way down the mountain yet."

7 hours later.

As I'm making dinner J says to me, "Do you want to know something pretty cool that happened today? It's amazing, actually."

I was all ears considering my husband NEVER uses the word "amazing".

He continued, "A few weeks ago, D (our herder up in the high country with the sheep) told me when I went to move camp that he lost a ewe. He told me she was sick and he doctored her, but she went astray and he couldn't find her and I hadn't heard anything since.

Well, today E (our herder here at the ranch) came up to me and asked if D ever said anything about losing a ewe. I told him that he had, but he wasn't sure where she went off too. E said, 'I think she is here.' Apparently, the sheep walked herself home! She was here on the county road just grazing alongside the fence line waiting to be let it in."

Now, who said sheep were stupid animals?
images from here and here

We did a little bit of recon and it seems like mama ewe walked about 35 miles through mountainous terrain over the course of approximately three weeks. Mama endured lonely and cold nights without her flock, and I imagine she fought off a few bear and coyote in the process. ;)

I made a map to give some perspective and to further prove that sheep are not stupid animals...or, at least ours aren't.
Why do we think this is the route she took? This is the route the sheep take off the mountain every fall when we bring them home. It's the only way she knows. 

Another question you might be thinking - how do you know it was YOUR sheep? All our sheep are marked with ear tags and this one was marked with red chalk on her back. D marked her with red chalk when she became ill so it would be easier for him to spot her in the herd. 
* * * * *
The Friday our mama made her way home, there was a picture of her on the front page of our local paper! They caught her crossing the busiest intersection in town!
image from here
Mama is now home at the ranch and will be reunited with her babies this weekend when the large herd works it's way home from the mountain!