Saturday, May 16, 2009

I acquired a few more gray hairs this afternoon.

Like I mentioned, we needed to make another pen for the girls, since their original spot was grazed right down to dirt. Madman had most of the fencing up for the new pen, before I realized what he was up to, so I hurried out to give him a hand. I helped hold the last post while he hammered it in with a sledge. He was giving it one last tap when disaster struck.
The sledge slid off the top of the post, skittered down the side, and whacked him on the thumb.
Now Madman is a model of self-control. He didn't scream, he didn't swear (and where he got the fortitude for that, I'll never know!) He did, however, clutch his bleeding thumb, and do what any normal human would have done under the circumstances.
He did the Oh-My-God-That-Hurts dance. We've all done it. It mostly consists of stomping and jumping. When I do it, it usually involves swearing, as well, but Madman is made of sterner stuff.
Our sheep had apparently never seen the OMGTH dance. They went into complete panic - running and milling and jumping. Simultaneously.
The worst was when they both jumped straight up into the air at the same time, collided, and Odetta bounced off the top of the fence, flipped, and landed Outside The Fence.
Madman and I gasped so hard, I think we sucked up all the available oxygen in the immediate area.
Odetta (now oxygen-starved...) started running in circles. Madman tried to get behind her to block her from taking off cross-country while I tried to simultaneously move-slowly-in-order-not-to spook-the-sheep and run-like-a-madwoman-for-the-grain-bin-for-bait.
We've started the taming process, but are nowhere near finished. Odetta certainly didn't trust us at that moment (we might be sheep-eating-monsters, after all) and she couldn't figure out if she should run for the hills, push herself back through the fence, or stand in one spot while having a nervous breakdown. So she alternated between the three.
Goldie, in the meantime, was having her own issues. The only thing she asks out of life is to stand next to Odetta. With Odetta outside the fence, Goldie had a complete meltdown. She was running in circles in the pen just as fast as she could go, bouncing back and forth in the corners, then taking off again. We were afraid she would hurt herself or escape, either of which was a Very Bad Thing.
We kept trying to keep Odetta in our yard, working ourselves around, and crooning to her, trying to keep the panic out of our voices. She'd run around the pen, run 20 feet away, run back, pause, and repeat. She took off at one point, and ended up down the hill in the neighbor's yard - the neighbor on the corner by the road. The road with cars that would either kill a sheep, or panic a sheep even worse than she already was.
Gasping again. She ran around the neighbor's pond, then luckily turned back up his driveway instead of heading out into the road. Madman got behind her again and urged her back up the hill to our house.
Eventually, just before we both collapsed with heart-attacks, she accidentally ran into the new pen - which was still open in two places. I slammed a pallet against one opening, and Madman guarded the other spot while working the old fence loose long enough to scoot Odetta through into the old pen.
Goldie basically welded herself to Odetta, and the two did a two-step around their pen, while Madman and I tried hard not to cry from relief.
The only thing that saved us was that Goldie didn't get out at the same time. Odetta kept coming back to be with her flock (Go Goldie! You're a flock!) If the whole "flock" had gotten out, we'd have to be hanging "Lost Sheep" posters on every telephone pole in the county.

I had to sit down and spin to calm down. A beer was good, too.

And, are you in the mood for some irony? At NH S&W last Saturday, my MIL and I were watching the sheepdog demo (as we always do) and I said "We only have two sheep and they're pastured in our front yard. I don't really think I need a sheepdog."
This afternoon, I would have sold my firstborn for a sheepdog...


pacalaga said...

Oh my goodness! I bet you will laugh about it later. The line about sucking up all the oxygen in the area cracked me up, because I'd just gasped audibly myself reading your post! Good thing you guys quit smoking so you had the wind for that escapade.

Anna M said...

OMG, what an adventure! I'm soooo glad it all turned out well in the end. I don't think ONE beer would have been enough for me though *g*

I read this to my husband and we both think you need a Corgi *g*

Laurie said...

It's funny after the fact, but it sounded stressful beyond stress. Maybe four feet isn't enough (as in fence, not sheep).

Maia said...

Whew! My heart is still pounding! Glad everything worked out in the end.

Dogs are always good additions! With that said, mine would probably try to have a lamb chop instead of herding it back into the pen.