Thursday, November 16, 2006
Snowy, seeking an escape route
More on the sheep: Every morning, after I drop M off, I drive over to take care of the school's sheep. Sometimes I retrieve a few kids to help me, most times I do not, mainly because I am not the best morning person and am usually running late...and it is so much quicker to go solo. They see my car and they get quite excitied, running back and forth in their pen, bleating loudly! I greet them (it's about a 200' walk from my car to their pen) and unlock their gate.
One should learn from one's mistakes. I have learned it is very important to latch the gate behind me. All day, they look at the beautiful green grass in the playground outside their gate, and they are eager to get to it. And they have gotten out. THAT is fun: me, chasing sheep around, trying to encourage them to go back in to their pen.
So I dump out their water, turn on the pump to fill it, and then go to get the hay. They're usually jostling me at this point: wooly, usually damp, through my jeans I can't quite tell what is sheep and what is wool: are they really large, or do they just need a trim? I retrieve about a third of a bale of hay from the food shed, and throw a bit out into their run, and take the majority into their shelter. They're quite happy, and ignore me. I check them out (are they lame? anemic?) and then I walk the pen (any sheep-sized holes?) and then I shut off the water, lock their gate and go home.
On Saturdays, I clean out their pen and their shelter. Up until last Saturday, I had been retrieving their droppings and bedding and bringing them home for the compost heap and the gardens. But now I am putting the mess just into the school's compost bins to heat up and break down over the winter. I use a rake and a wheelbarrow and my flexible tub trugs to clean things up. In their yard, though, I have to pick up their poop with my gloved hands, ever thankful that sheep are vegetarians. It is not particularly stinky; in fact, it smells rather sweet. I wouldn't say their pen or shelter (or me, afterward) reeks of Eau de Barnyard; I am quite sure if we had more than just two, things'd be quite different.
I can never look at nicoise olives, though, the same way.