Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sheep Devil

Yesterday was a rather hectic day. The local organic mineral supplement / dewormer for farm animals sales woman stopped by the farm. The woman stayed for an hour and a half selling her products and talking about everything under the sun including her pool that’s shaped like a bean. She talked a mile a minute (in French) with the local accent. In the afternoon, I went to the local 2 hour French class for immigrants with Louisa. Then we picked the kids up from the school and Harmonie was bitten by the village dog! After the chaos, I was rather looking forward to a quiet afternoon all alone on the farm while Louisa and the kids took Stuart to Auch, so that he could head to the airport for a weekend trip to England.

After some time on the computer, I went outside to enjoy the view and read my book. As soon as I got outside the donkeys, goats, and sheep saw me and assumed I was there to feed them. They all lined up along the electric fence, which is just in front of the house, and got that sort of crazed hungry look they get before each feeding. I hadn’t been out there for more than a minute when I turn around just in time to see a sheep run straight through the electric fence and then stare at me with an expectant look on its face. I had time to say “Oh shit!” before one more sheep charged through. I thought for sure the whole herd was about to follow at any second.

What's wrong with this picture?

My mind was racing thinking what the hell am I supposed to do? I tried shooing them back in, but they were more interested in the grass. Rosie the goat was already on the wrong side of the fence, so she came over to see what was up. Rosie always jumps over the fence to hang out on the human side. She just wants to be a part of whatever fun the humans are up to as well as eat the greener grass. So anyways, I had three animals on the wrong side, although I wasn’t worried about Rosie because I knew she’d go back when she wanted to. I didn’t trust the two sheep though, and all the other animals (donkeys, sheep, and more goats) were still staring at me. Neddie the donkey kept baying at me, and the sheep were breathing super heavy. I tried to think of what food I could grab the fastest to lure them back into the field – carrots! I ran into the house and grabbed some. Rosie was very interested in the carrots and was all over me, but the sheep couldn’t have cared less. I gave the carrots to the goats and the donkeys.

I knew the only other option was to grab a bucket of corn. I grabbed the feed bucket and ran around the back of the house to the garage to find some corn. Then all the chickens saw me. After only a few days they now associate my legs with food, so I had about ten chickens following me and of course a few followed me into the garage. I grabbed a little corn and then coaxed the chickens back out. When I came back around the house with the bucket of corn all the animals were totally alert and watching my every move. The escaped sheep started walking towards me and followed me up to the edge of the fence. The fence is the first electric fence that Stuart and Louisa set up. They tried to do it on the cheap, so it’s a total mess and a pain to deal with. I’m typically not supposed to open and close the fence because it’s so difficult to keep the wires from getting tangled, so I really didn’t want to open the fence to put the sheep back in. I threw some corn over the fence, thinking the sheep might run back through. They just looked at me like I was crazy and went back to grazing. Rosie on the other hand, was quite excited and kept trying to stick her head in my bucket. I kept pushing her back, but she got more and more aggressive. She started trying to head butt me, so I started yelling at her and pushing back. Since she wasn’t getting her way she then reared up on her hind legs. She’d done this to me a few days before though, so I knew she was only trying to scare me. I kept yelling at her and using the bucket as a shield from her horns. She did this about five times, so I eventually gave up and gave her a little pile of corn. What a pain!


After much deliberation, I decided I’d just have to open the electric fence. This consists of unhooking four long wires from a post and trying to not get them tangled as well as not get shocked. Opening it was the easy part, and the sheep followed me right in. Even Rosie followed me in. I dumped the last bit of corn in the field and hurried back out. I started trying to put the fence back together, but of course, the wires had somehow gotten tangled already. I got one line of wire back in place when another sheep barged through! I was thinking you’ve got to be kidding me! I was out of corn, and didn’t want to get more with the fence open, so I just kept working on the fence. I got the rest of the wires in place, but it was totally tangled, so it didn’t much resemble a fence.

The other damn sheep that escaped was grazing away not paying any attention to me. I couldn’t shoo it back in, and by this time I was fed up. I decided I’d just sit and watch it. I sat on a rock for a few minutes watching the sheep. They are really bizarre creatures. They never stop grazing, so they make heavy breathing noises in and out of their nose. They sound sort of like lawnmowers. After a few minutes, the sheep walked up to me and sniffed my face for about 10 seconds and then went back to grazing. Bizarre. I was getting bored, so I tried to shoo it back in again, which miraculously worked this time. Thank goodness! I had all animals back inside. Now the only problem was the mangled fence.

Sheep Devil

I could’ve just left it, but I was worried it would be too easy for another sheep to walk through. The anal side of me was also taking over. I decided to just try to fix the wires a bit and hope I didn’t get shocked. Of course I got shocked, and it hurt! I got the wires mostly untangled, but the last one somehow got totally screwed up to the point where I couldn’t get it latched back on the post. Great! I could’ve just left it in the first place, but no, I had to fiddle with it. Now I was left with an even worse gap in the fence, and I got shocked again. I didn’t know how to turn off the electricity to the fence, so I just said screw it. I read outside keeping an eye on the animals until it got dark. By this time they had gotten over all the excitement and were scattered through the field. Louisa eventually came home and wasn’t worried about it in the slightest. She didn’t even bother to fix the fence until the next morning. She did have a good laugh over the story though.

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