Monday, June 22, 2009

In a new window

This foggy morning our little sheep flock ran away through the woods, down a valley side, across Potash Brook, and up the other side. They managed to stick together and made it to the top of the ridge. At 5 a.m. they arrived at the remote homestead of our neighbors the Bernier/Minehan clan. Chris Bernier recalls hearing their first "ba-a-a-a!" from bed. His wife Meg woke up too. She said threateningly, "they BETTER NOT be in my garden." So they went to the window and saw our ewes and lambs standing at the edge of their garden looking forlorn. Meg let them off the crook with a reprimand for trespassing. And Chris, a wildlife biologist and farm enthusiast was kind enough to herd our flock home with his Honda. He said they followed the road pretty good except at a round-about, which they went round 3 times. "Ba-a-a-a! Chris knocked on our door at 5:30. Lucy was long gone to work for milking and chores. So barefoot and sleepy, I speculated with Chris that to travel so far would suggest that they fled for their lives. Chris left, I finished getting dressed and made my way through the thick fog toward where he saw them last. However grateful I was that our sheep were home safe, I worried that maybe I would find a bloody mess made of our other animals by coyotes on this suspiciously still morning. My vision was very poor but I came up on those sheep in the fog and it was... well, imagine a cloud in a dream and you're watching a flock of white geese drift in formation, except they're sheep and they're walking in slow motion, and the only sound is the soft chewing of the lush green grass on the lawn.

There was no loss of life that day. No trace of coyotes. No wild animals did that. We had only ourselves to blame for two minor oversights that would've cost us our sheep. Thank heavens they didn't eat Meg's garden!.. or any garden for that matter. Chris called that evening to check in, as a wildlife expert he had some good advice for protecting our chickens, and we may have determined that the hawk who was caught poaching was probably not a peregrine falcon. More likely it could be a cooper's hawk, athough we have a friend who thinks it's an immature bald eagle.

Whatever it is has moved on from here and we're on schedule to process chickens July 11.
If anyone wants to come that day, they should bring a cooler! We're not sure what time yet. More later.


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