Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome to Stalag 13. Colonel Hogan will escort you to the escape tunnels as soon as he's done goofing on Colonel Klink.

This is getting ridiculous.
This week my days off were Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday I'd planned to spend weeding the garden, but as usual, rain kept me indoors.  (It always rains on my day off.  I don't know why.)
So I was puttering around indoors when I heard a really loud noise from the neighbor's house up the hill.  Apparently the house has sold again, and the new people were working on some project that involved a lot of banging on metal.  I looked out the kitchen window to try to see what was going on, and saw Merlin and Orion in their pen, raptly looking up the hill as well.
Unfortunately, Goldie and Smoke were standing nearby, also staring just as raptly.
They are supposed to be in their pen on the other side of the house.
Just as the first bad word was coming out of my mouth, Onyx appeared with the Terrible Trio in tow.
Bad words started gushing out of my mouth...
I ran out the door, trying desperately to come up with a plan.  Madman was at work, miles away, and totally unavailable for sheep-chasing.

Okay, then.

Step 1:  Check the pen to see how they got out.
Step 2:  Fix the problem.  There's no sense in putting them back in the pen if they're just going to get out again.
Step 3:  Catch sheep and put them in pen.

So, the fencing that was (allegedly) holding the ewes and lambs forms a big pen that is divided down the middle by fence and a gate, forming 2 paddocks  (We alternate them between the two, giving the grass time to recover in between.  They started in paddock 1, then were switched to paddock 2 a couple of weeks later.)  The problem - the corner post of paddock 2 had collapsed, taking down one end of the pen.  The sheep had just walked right out over the fence.
Step 1, done.
As far as step 2 - there was nothing I could do to fix the corner post.  I'd have to wait till Madman got home.  So, I decided to put them back into paddock 1, which we were planning to do this weekend anyway.
I opened the gate to paddock 1, threw some grain into a food dish and left it inside, then grabbed the other food dish, filled it with more grain, and headed out to attempt step 3..
Luckily, they were easily lured by the grain.  Though still apprehensive about the clanging noises from up the hill, they followed me all the way back and into the pen.  (I just had to stay ahead of Onyx, who was trying to climb into the food dish.)
I closed  the gate, breathed a sigh of relief, and went back into the house.  The rest of the day was much less exciting, with only thunderstorms for entertainment.

Wednesday dawned clear and bright, so I finally got to head up into the garden.  I spent several happy hours weeding, occasionally chucking some grass over the fence to Merlin and Orion since they were amused by grass falling from the sky.
Then Orion started blatting.
Now, Orion is usually a pretty quiet sheep.  (And when he does speak, he sounds like he's battling laryngitis.)  It's totally unlike him to blatt more than a couple of times.
He blatted a lot more than a couple of times.
I looked up from my weeding just in time to see a little black hairy butt flash through the garden.
"Hey!"  I yelled at the lamb.  "What are you doing out?!?"
Just then Onyx peeked around the end of the greenhouse, with a "Who, me?" look on her face.  And another lamb leaped over the lettuce and beelined for the broccoli.
I headed down for the grain again.  Goldie and Smoke were still down by the galvanized trash can that we keep their grain in, trying to figure out how to get it open.  (Damn that lack of opposable thumbs...)  I lured them inside with grain, then set off to get Onyx and her crew.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
This time they'd scaled the fence between the paddocks (and just why is it that we have the only sheep in the history of the world who climb fences?), pushing it down, then had gone out through the end of paddock 2 that was still down from yesterday's escape.
I did some fence magic with posts, props, and cussing, and went back to my gardening.
Madman was equal parts amused and exasperated when I told him about the latest escape.  "Damn sheep," he muttered, shaking his head.
I thought the sheep were settled for the day, but I should have worried when Madman ran into town to pick up a couple of things at the store.  After all, they always wait till he's not around...
Let's do this one more time for luck.
This time, they'd figured out that if they pushed at the lower corner of the gate between the paddocks, they could juuuuust squeeze through..  And since that damn corner post was still down, they could walk right out again.
So, as Madman drove up the driveway, he saw me with my frowny face on, holding up the corner post to keep the damn sheep in any pen at all, while trying to find anything to wedge the post up with.  At that point I had Goldie in paddock 1, and everybody else in paddock 2.
Between us, we got the post up, and after a lot of confusion, all the sheep back into paddock 1.  (As we were getting Onyx and all the lambs from #2 to #1, Goldie crossed from #1 to #2.  And got too upset to go back.  Because she's Goldie.)

No wonder Colonel Klink was always so grumpy.


Anonymous said...

Geez, girl! Who knew sheep were so exciting. And crafty.

kmkat said...

Is it wrong that I LOVE THESE POSTS?!? Because I do, I really, really do. You describe everything so well that I can see the sheep in my mind, cursing their lack of opposable thumbs and plotting their next move(s).

Is it possible that you guys have mutant sheep, the only ones in the world clever and crafty enough to be capable of these antics?

Bullwinkle said...

I don't believe you. Sheep are too dumb to plot anything ;)

Or so you tell me.

Cookie said...

Oh, honey. Be thankful they aren't SMART sheep. Or you'd never get anything done.

Laurie said...

I don't think sheep are dumb, as Bullwinkle suggests. They spend 24 hours a day plotting liberty. It's like squirrels and feeders. They put more time into it than you do.

Ruth said...

Wow. I want to get a goat, but I'm not sure our family can handle it.

TariC said...

I have to say, that as irritating as it is for you to have Houdini sheep, it is endlessly amusing to read about their escapes. And here I've always been told sheep were dumb. :)