Saturday, December 16, 2006

A thorny Question

One of my admirers has asked a question I have pondered for centuries. (what - you think this is the first time I've been here ? You think this wisdom comes in a single incarnation ? Foolish one....) The question is - which comes first ? Eating or the nap ?

Being a creature deeply in tune with nature, I have discerned that the day's cycle begins when you wake up . Therefore , you arise and eat, and then nap. Clearly eating becomes before the nap. Unless, of course, the feeder is so crowded with riff raff that you cannot fight your way through. Then you go back to sleep. But, this is against the laws of nature and can throw off one's digestion for days. Eat. Then Nap.

That settled, we move on to Raven aka Butthead and his responsibilities for the ewes. An amazing thing happened the other night. Freezing rain, high winds and Raven herded the girls in his charge into the ram shed and held them there for the night. Weeks ago, Butthead would have sprawled in the ram shed and made the girls sleep out in the rain. It is a huge jump of good sense in an otherwise primitive creature. Even Bob the lead genius let him know what a fine thing he had done. There is indeed hope for many of other of Godde's creatures if Raven finally gets it.

Furthermore, we heard the shepherd and the big guy muttering to each other that one of the big tall ewes has a blue streak on her back. That, for the uninitiated in the way of sheeps, means that short Raven, with blue dye on his chest, has successfully....ummmmm ...fullfilled his ramly duties. This boy may get to stay a ram a lot longer if the shepherd's genetics experiments work out. Whatever genetics is......

Public Notice: We need another bale in the feeder !!

Friday, December 8, 2006

I have admirers !!

Benny here, and I have a fan club ! One of my groupies asked for my advice - on a presentation on Durkheim ? My Dear Girl - can you eat a Durkheim ? If not, why are you occupying your head about it ?? Priorities, People ! Priorities !

The rodeo has slowed down in the front pasture, and I think it is because of poor conditioning on the part of Butthead. All he does is eat, sleep, get his back scratched and try to knock things over all year. Now he is presented with an opportunity to improve the genetics of the species and he isn't up to the task - he is tired chasing and sniffing ewes all day. Myself, I am disciplined to take 4-5 walks a day to keep my form. Becca says that the distance to the feeder and back isn't exactly a marathon. She is clearly hyperactive.

My advice to Butthead is "pace yourself, Brother !!" Get up 3 times a day and sniff everyone - if nothing has changed, there is no reason to get excited. Eat a bit to keep up your strength and go take a nap.

It is too foggy to take pictures with barn camera, so the shepherd has donated a picture of the view from the front porch of the big house just for ambiance sake. The view from the back pasture is focused on Butthead right now - not worth taking, I'd say.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Sheep Rodeo !

I was sooo proud of my fellow sheeps yesterday. The herders - well, the shepherd, the big guy and 2 friends - came out with the intent of moving sheep where THEY wanted them to go. Ha !! When sheeps put their collective mind to it, this can be a real circus. (See healthy girls to the left)

First, they tried to seperate Bevis and Butthead. Butthead will go anywhere that he gets his back scratched or he gets fed. Bevis will go many places where they don't want him to. So, into the fenced partition they thunder, where ideally one will go out the east gate and one out the west. Bevis did us proud - I didn't know he could move that fast since he looks like a barrel of Shetland wool on legs. And Butthead headed straight to the fence next to my department to sniff my girls. Meanwhile the herders managed to panic Bevis enough that he accidentally ran out the correct gate.

Of course, that puts him in with us where the idiot has to bang his horned little head on everyone elses like he hasn't ever seen or lived with us before. That went on for hours until he started in on the lambs. End of project. Bob the lead Genius isolated him on the fringes of the flock for the rest of the day and evening. Its funny - the lambs are a pain at feeding time, but something stirs even in my practical little heart when they are getting beat-up on.

Back to rodeo part 2: getting the three big ewes in with Butthead.

The big girls are running a round a pasture where they could pretty much out strip the Shepherd for hours, but they seem not be able to resist an open gate to somewhere they haven't been before. It took several false starts, but finally the big girls thunder through the gate and into .........yup, the garden ?? Well, that fence needing replacing anyway, right ?

And getting them out of the garden is a bit of a stretch because the garden gate - a homemade fence and 2x2 arrangement - got trashed by a drunken yearling deer a month ago, so it DOESN'T OPEN. It is really trashed now - but Shepherd didn't want to run the sheep back over the fence again, so finally out the gate hole and voila ! they went into the pasture they were theoretically headed for. Herders are breathing hard and Shepherd is muttering Thanks Be To Godde no one got killed.

Now the last piece of work is Butthead - he needs to get into the front pasture with the girls and he - after sniffing every body he could find and taking a swipe at the Big Guy, is ...eating. Can't be bothered. They wrestle him away from a flake of hay and push him through the gate and he looks around and sees - Girls !! He takes off, they run like heck, and the last ring of the circus is on. and on. and on. He gets close to one and you can see his eyes blink as he thinks "I've never seen a sheep this tall !! How in the world.......? "

He'll figure it out - rams always do.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

The feeder is full !!!!

Which means the Big Guy is home ! Even I think he looks really handsome with an 80 lb bale on his shoulder....what a hunk !! Becca says "we all know that the hay is your type, not the big guy." Duh. Maybe we'll get the barn cleaned, is warm enough for it to begin to smell like sheep. Bob the Genius mutters, Benny, you should live with billy goats and then you would appreciate sheep smell..." He is such a know it all.....

It sounds like, from listening to the shepherd, that we are going to get Bevis, aka Buddy the Shetland wether, in with us very soon. What is she thinking ??? There is barely room for 6 of us at the feeder, let alone 7 and even now I have to push the lambs around to get adequate nourishment.
Then there is the personality of Bevis. He will have to ram his pointy little head against everyone else like he hasn't ever seen us before.

Two summers ago, The Shepherd decided to let the hens run loose for a while. Pretty soon, she yells for the Big Guy to come help. Bevis concluded that the big black hen is a terror threat and started using her as a soccer ball. Big Guy comes out and they stand in amazement. The hen is pushed into a little crevice of the wire fence and Bevis is standing back about 4 yd., front feet spread, head down, with black tail feathers sticking out of both sides of his mouth. Shepherd shakes her head, says something about never have a camera when you need one, and pries the terrified hen out of the fence. The hen was laying the next day, so evidently no damage, but that tells you all you need to know about Bevis.

Couldn't I have been born on a congenial estate in the East ???

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Icicle dance

So, this morning the shepherd comes out to throw hay around because the rapidly becoming spoiled ewes are lined up watching the house for any sign of life and OUR FEEDER IS EMPTY ! EMPTY !! This is neglect !!!

Bob the Genius says "calm down Benny - she can't lift 80 lb bales anymore and the Big Guy is not home this week. She has to throw hay in sections for us until the weekend." Well, it may not be neglect, but it does mean that I have to scrounge for hay on the ground with the riff raff aka the lambs. Becca the Brain Trust says that since I stand over my share of the hay like Colossus of Rhodes and am about as easy to move, that there clearly isn't any problem with starvation. No one understands me.

Then there is Butthead, whose feeder is still full, and who has spotted the ewes and thinks they should be with him. Thus the huge gatepost on his pasture is beginning to lean outward as he thumps his little tiny brain against it again and again. Don't tell him I said that - he has horns - big ones. Its amazing this place runs at all given the current management...

Anyway, back to the icicles. Shepherd comes out this morning to change out the water for the hens which has frozen solid over night. She pries the hen house door open, which is pretty stiff in the cold, and sticks her head in to grab the frozen waterer. Backing out, she catches a 12 inch icicle or two on the back of her head, breaks it off and it slides down the inside of her barn coat. Such Language !!

My delicate sensibilities are still recovering....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I need a blanket !

Whatever am I supposed to do when it gets this cold ?? The wind howls, the temperature is below zero and the shepherd is where ?? Out piling up bales of straw to protect the ewes. Ewes Schmues - I have the prize winning fleece here !

Shepherd rubbed my chest last night after all the bale piling and tells me what a splendid long and dense fleece I have this year. Becca, my companion, snickers and says - that isn't all that is dense....She is real piece of work and smarter than the average sheep by a long ways. And she'll remind you of that in a heartbeat. Too bad she is such a weird combination of genetics and not a PURE BRED like someone here.....

So perhaps I am in no danger of freezing, and with the freezing weather, the barn is smelling a lot better. Life is such a series of trade-offs. And the 3 acquired ewes really are looking a much healthier - so next month they go into the front pasture where Bevis and Butthead live. Bevis comes in with us to be obnoxious and stir things up. Shetlands can be such idiots. And Butthead,
officially named Raven, gets a chance at producing more little black lambs.

Don't even get me started on the manners of rams.....

oh, and Becca's big head is right next to mine in the main portrait of Bennyness.....

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am writing this in hopes that the shepherd will read it - YO, Woman ! The barn is dirty !

I don't know how a sheep with prize winning fleece is supposed to maintain his dignity in these conditions. The water bucket has 3 pieces of hay floating in it, the lambs pooped in the place where I sleep, and it smells like a barn in here. There are ladders hanging on the wall - what if one fell down and hurt me ??? And its cold this morning.

True, the feeder is full, the water is not frozen and I get my chest rubbed every night at treat time, but the dumb dogs sleep on the bed, in the house. Bob, the lead genius in the flock says "Benny - so be a dog next time".

Well, I didn't choose to be a dog this time - they don't have something to eat 24/7 and I would not be the dignified presence I am without a full feeder.

Then there is matter of the rehab pasture. Yes, I KNOW the 3 ewes she got were in abysmal shape, and needed worming, good food and some TLC. But if you ask me, they are looking pretty good 3 weeks after they showed up. Not anywhere as good as me, of course. Ratty fleeces full of burrs, hip bones sticking out, one so weak she had trouble running. But they have filled out and they still get fed twice a day, grain in the evening, sung to by the shepherd. When is the last time I saw grain ????? When she was using up the end of a bag that the ewes had almost finished. I am going to write the Humane Society.....

Bob, the genius says, "Benjamin - you are technically a food animal - do you know how badly you need to neglected before the Humane Society in Montana can do something ??"

What's this "food animal" stuff ?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Intro to Benny

The shepherd says that since I have such strong opinions, for a sheep at least, that I should have my own blog. All sheep have opinions, but mine are undoubtedly wiser than most. And then there is the REALLY good looking aspect of my personality. Why else would she have named her business after me ?

So, I am Benny - 200 lbs of CVM Romeldale wether (that means boy-who-isn't-a-ram) and I live with 10 other sheep of varying levels of charm and brilliance. When the shepherd has time, she will help get my picture up - the hooves just don't do the keyboard thing. But for now I am am astute observer of the passing scene, and the passing scene came up wet and white this morning. The lambs - now 7 months old - have not seen snow before and they are loving it. They are big balls of black fleece on skinny legs, frosted in white and they look silly. The lead sheep, Bob, cautions me not to spoil their fun by pulling my "sheep are supposed to be dignified" routine. The shepherd says that at my weight and size, looking dignified is all that is left to me. She should talk....