Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trolling for lions

Last Tuesday, Brian and I went over to the other side of Gosport to pick up our new ram and a few ewes to add to our little flock of Shetland sheep. For once things went smoothly and we arrived early. While waiting patiently for Gail to get home from work, we reintroduced ourselves to her kittens and her LGD.

When Gail arrived, we set out to the paddocks to look over the prospects. First we caught the new ram, Jeff, haltered him and took him out to the trailer. Not a difficult feat, Jeff is very friendly. Then we started looking over the 100+ head of sheep for the few we wanted to purchase. Imagine a sea of wool in every possible color swirling around you.

Gail asked if I saw anything I thought I wanted. I admitted my head was swimming a bit from all the milling around.

Gail said, "Well, since you are here. . . " Being a farm girl I new what that meant - we were about to become assistant sheep sorters! Brian just looked puzzled.

First we sort out all the lambs - males in the far stall, females in the near. Brian was catching them 2 at a time and putting them over the fence to me and Gail. Then Gail had us catch each of the rams, halter them and secure them to the fence. After 23 rams, I thought I just about had the rope halters figured out!

Now it was time to lead the rams into a new pasture. Brian handed me the lead. The ram bounced along a the end of the lead like his feet were made of springs. The next couple led nicely. And then there was a little grey ram. The minute I touched the lead he laid down on his side and refused to budge.

"Just PULL" Gail yelled. She chuckled as I pulled and slid that grey ram on it's side all the way across the paddock. When I handed the rope to her, she said, "A friend of mine calls that "Trolling for lions!"