Sunday, March 06, 2016

We Bought a Farm: Just call me Little Bo Peep

I'm not a farmer. 

I call myself a farmer's wife because honestly, farming is not my passion. I love it and am loving it more and more everyday, but I don't lay in bed at night drawing up the plans or planning the next big thing. I often say I am on a need-to-know basis with the farm. Tell me the next thing to do, and I'll do it.

To call myself a farmer would be like a bat boy calling himself a baseball player because he is out there with the baseball players. You aren't a player unless you are playing. I'm a bat boy here. And I'm fine with that.

I received a comment once that I shouldn't call myself a farmer's wife. I get that. But I honestly don't see myself as a farmer. It isn't running through my veins. I'm a writer. I'm a mom. I'm an athlete. Those are the things I am truly passionate about.

And so understanding that, please go with me to early this morning. JB left for work at 6:15am. Around 7:30am, I put all the kids in front of a Daniel Tiger, assigned Isaac to be my babysitter (this means you follow Hannah anywhere she goes and step out the door if she gets out of line) and headed out to do the animals. On a good day, I can knock this out in 15 minutes and am right outside of the house so that the kids can just walk out onto the front porch and call me for any emergency that arises. (Honestly they are so sucked into the TV that this never happens.)

So 7:30am I head out to the sheep. We have separated them from the pigs now so that the pigs can majorly destroy the area we are going to seed our garden in. I go to their new area and two of them out. JB had just moved them to this area and used a barbed wire fence as one of his "walls." Obviously they outsmarted the barbed wire fence.

I attempt, without success, to get those two back in. Instead, three more sheep get out while I am trying to get the two lost lambs back in. I cannot express how frustrating it is to attempt to get an animal where you want it to go when it doesn't want to go. High blood pressure. Sweating. It's so frustrating.

I decide to implement a new strategy. I will let all the sheep out in hopes that I can get them to follow one back in. They always stay together. Everywhere. So this seems like a reasonable attempt on my part.

It failed. Those darned sheep could care less about the awesome hay and feed I was bribing them with. They simply wanted to do what they wanted to do.

At this point, I am majorly stressed. I don't like to leave the kids without me for more than 15 minutes. It's cold. And I'm clueless as to how to fix this. I know my husband could fix this in mere moments. But I can't. I have no idea what to do.

So I start walking back to our house. 

And they follow me. 

And I decided, well, I'll let them follow me into the yard. 

And they do! 

(Why I couldn't get them to follow me into the pen is still beyond me.) I figure, well, if they are in the yard, which I can close off, at least they are all in a safe place until JB gets home at 4:30pm.

And so, this is my current situation:

The sheep are safe. The dog coexists with them very nicely. The kids are outside playing and doing their thing and the sheep are happy as can be eating everything in sight.

Just call me Little Bo' Peep.


Anonymous said...

Frustrating to say the least. Have you ever considered getting a herding dog or two? Border Collies are awesome for this job (there are other breeds that are good too - I'm partial to Borders). When I lived on the farm our Border always took care of getting the sheep back in - we had a jumper or two. He also herded our wild turkeys away from the cars (they liked to perch on top of the cars and then poop).

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

We've discussed dogs. The issue with the dogs is that they can be a lot of money and time and then not fit the bill .... right now since we rotate paddocks it is working okay. Dogs are excellent because they offer protection but you need one that is safe with kids too. So hard!