Friday, June 21, 2013

Baa-ing Before Breakfast {and a Bloglovin request}

The past two weekends (at a time that is way too early to even mention) Jesse and I, our herders and two of our most awesome friends oh, and 2100 sheep headed up to the high country aka summer range.
In years past I've always walked and front flagged the trails heading to and from our summer range. When front flagging you can't see the chaos of the herd; you don't see everyone working their butt off trying to keep the sheep on the road.

When front flagging you enjoy the beauty around you, the birds chirping, the deer roaming - you get the picture. In case you don't...

If you can imagine the very opposite of such a peaceful state, that is what herding the back of the herd along the road feels like. Complete and utter stress and chaos.

Imagine herding 100 cats. Impossible, right? Exactly.

This year I had the great pleasure of pushing the back. Jesse pushes the front group, two people the middle group and about three people push in the back aka run like crazy chickens trying to get these ewes and lambs back on the road. No offense to chickens.

Even with all the bodies there are challenges. Challenges that include rolling ankles or having to channel your inner mountain goat and climb up the sides of hills to get sheep back on track. Or getting heat exhaustion (which happened to one of our helpers this trail). Or getting sheep dung flung onto your face. Um, that happened too. Or, my favorite is being the lucky herder that gets to chase that one lamb through an open field with nothing but hope he/she will go where you want it to, all the while having everyone watch, wait and hope as well. It's a little humiliating to have your sheep herding skills on display like that. After all, we have a "leave no sheep behind" policy.

Or...getting peed on by this little guy. Don't worry, it dried pretty quickly.
The first of these two trails is a hard one because not only is it 13 miles while gaining elevation it's the first long trail for the lambs. This means they are tired and haven't learned to stick by mama and follow the herd.

This picture below was a great portion of the trail because there was fencing along this stretch and the sheep were a bit easier to keep on track. Keep reading and you'll see what happens when there isn't good fencing.

This was right about when things went completely haywire! I mean...clothes even came off!

Lambs are mischievous little suckers. They frolic into every field, up every hill, every garden. It's no joke. This picture below is a great example of lambs misbehaving. The horses in this field actually charged at the lambs and helped us out a bit. The quality of this photo is horrible, but it was the best I could do while running. ;)
The sheep cheering squad was nice....this was around mile 5 of 13 on the first trail. First time in 20+ years we've had signs! I love my community. Two weekends later the sheep are now on our first permit of the summer, but this doesn't mean the work is done. Just this week J got a call from his friend that saw a small group of sheep running up the road. Again, mischievous little suckers. Needless to say there have been several trips up and will be many more to search for the group on the loose (click here to read about our ewe that walked herself all the way home!). Oh, and did I mention it's haying season as well? My husband works too damn hard. He deserves a vacation!

Happy First Day of Summer and please keep our beautiful state in your thoughts as we have many fires burning and a lot of firefighters risking their lives to save ours. 

And another important announcement in case you didn't know - Google Reader is going away July 1st, y'all.
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