Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rain stopped play

The sheep proved a bit difficult to get in last night. We did it in the end, in the dark, in the rain, well mostly. Half a dozen of our prized pregnant ewes made for the open hills instead of coming home on a stormy evening. It wasn't their normal behaviour making every tiny move, every step in the right direction and every turn towards the yards So Very Difficult. It was those darn Camel-lads.

Ori and Siri have never been out of the paddocks closest the house before. They've bonded rather well with their girls and protect them in a manly fashion from foxes, dogs, cats, magpies, and anything unusual. What they haven't done is realise that they won't be crutched. Alpacas have no need for it. We were just taking them along for the ride so they wouldn't fret about being away from their flock for 24 hours. Instead they fretted about going into the yards and wouldn't. Not even when all their ladies were munching happily inside. Us dancing about on the hill above them, lunging like mad tennis players every time they saw a gap and waving our arms like scarecrows in a hurricane did nothing. The yard was scarier than we. In the end they took so long that Belinda the black ewe and five of her cohorts legged it out through the open gate before we could scramble down the hill to stop them.

A very long time of climbing steep, slippery hills in the dark, breathing very hard and shouting at each other, the sheep and the alpacas ensued. We navigated by the movement of the white sheep, finding our way by trees (walking into them) and rocks (falling over them) and the sheep obstinately kept moving the wrong way. The alpacas thought it was marvelous to be out and free and kept going to the tops of hills to have a look. In the end we gave it up for the night. In a rather bad temper.

We'd collected two mutton carcases from the butcher that day and still had a kitchen full of meat to trim, sort, bag, label and freeze so we went back to that job for a couple of hours. We had discovered that it would only fit in our collection of freezers if we did trim, sort, bag some and cook some instead of just throwing it all in willy nilly as was the preferred and tired option. At least the dogs were quiet with their surprise bones. Having been completely immersed in sheepiness for too long we had fish for supper.

The weather forcast kept getting worse. So did the actual weather. After a night of raging storms I got up early as usual to find SO, out earlier than I, trying to fix last evening's mistake by crooning to the wayward ewes, who had come back to find out where all their friends were and why they didn't have breakfast. He looked pleadingly at the open gate, and pleadingly at the ewes and pleadingly asked them to Just. Go. In. Quietly nipping round behind them up a clay hill in my gumboots and raincoat - so not very quietly really - we managed to get them all in and shut the darn gate.

After we leaned on it just breathing for a while I went off to feed the other animals and SO went to answer the phone which was ringing. At 7:30am. It was the shearer. The rain was belting down hard where he was, the rain radar showed two fronts approaching and the forecast was for more of the same so he couldn't operate his portable shearing plant in this weather. He couldn't do any crutching today and he wasn't coming.

We let the sheep out and went inside by the fire instead.