I don’t really know why nightmares are named after horses, they should be named after sheep. I do however know exactly why the derogatory term “sheeple” refers to sheep. The past week has been sheep hell, for us and for the poor sheep. Some neighbors informed us that a pack of dogs had chased the sheep across the river, and sheep hate to cross water, and were seen chasing them a few miles up the valley. By the time the guys had gotten there it was obvious that the sheep had turned up off the road, way up into the steep mountains. The guys pursued them on foot, with Luit running up the mountain as if he were a sheep. The dogs had scattered them and had many of them cornered and after a session of rock throwing the dogs finally backed off.
One of the 24 year old Dutch helpers later informed us that men peak at 18 with their hormones and it is downhill after that. I asked him if this was why my husband was able to leave them in the dust, running straight up the mountain after the sheep.
Luit laughed and it was quiet after that, for approx. two minutes.
Natanielle and I arrived on the road where they had turned up and cresting the hill was a monster. I thought it was a wolf from afar because it was bigger than even Ajax, our Great Pyrenees/Akbash livestock dog. It was one from the dog pack that had the sheep cornered up on the mountain and was panting and sniffing and huffing trying to find the trail of some of the scattered ones.
Unfortunately two big lambs had been killed at the meadow, and by the time most were back, which took quite a long time coaxing them off the precarious mountainsides, three were still missing.
That night we surrounded them with electric sheep netting so the dogs or coyotes could not get to them, in hopes that the missing ones would stealthily creep back to the flock, when the coast was clear.
The next day was stressful for all, as sheep don’t exactly want to hop on a trailer when asked politely, and three loads had to be made to take them all back home where they would be safer. Extremely quick reflexes, endurance, thinking like a sheep, and paying close attention are required to be a good sheep herder. The patience of Job including the inclination to blame God for everything, or Satan or both might come in handy.
“Now get along there, you, you, big BUTT HEADS!” If only Babe had been there.
Our dear neighbors came to help and considering not all the members of our team had the above qualities, the fence fell and Judy was badly bruised.
One lamb passed quickly through a hole and exasperated everyone to the breaking point.
One of the Dutch guys screamed in a tirade, “@#$((*^TJHGVUY BLKUGCK” or however you say that in dutch and huffed off, hitching a ride on the long dirt road home to escape the hot sun and said he could not take all the commands, or the work or the heat, or the bugs…
Judy said, “I do have a gun, in case that will help.”
The lamb absolutely would not return to the herd, so it was left to it’s own defenses until we could all return the next day with a plan. We did not want to prematurely take Judy up on her offer and wanted to give the lamb one more chance.
The little lamb had bravely crossed the river in the night and was safely with the Highlanders and Becca & Siegfried. We took the last load of sheep and put them in the corral, made the entire perimeter sheep proof and then coaxed the cows with the renegade lamb into the corral.
Everyone was calm and all went very well. The lamb gratefully joined the remaining herd and they all jumped on the trailer.
Whew! Everyone took the rest of the day off.