Monday, November 9, 2009

Lie Down!

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the Whiteman farmstead that is...


Where in the world did that come from? Oh, I get it, "we" are herding sheep today.

The players:

The sheep. A Southdown, some Shetlands and (say this three times really fast) a Border Leicester/Polypay cross. Whew, couldn't we have just called them somethin' like Lambchop or Backstrap or Ribeye?

The rookie. A Border Collie named Gus with a zeal for herding. Only thing is --- his body gets a little ahead of his head sometimes, if you know what I mean.

The master. Another Border Collie named Nip. Nip knows what to do, does it when asked and adds a flair all his own.

The objective: move four sheep from one pasture to the adjoining pasture. The dogs will move them out one pasture gate, turn the sheep to the right and into another pasture gate. I'm the gatekeeper. Simple, right?

Dorothy, commander of all things herding, asks Gus, the rookie, to bring the sheep around. I am sure she said something in "herding-speak" like "Gus, go get the sheep!"

I didn't hear what she said, but whatever it got Gus' attention and he took off.

LIE DOWN! Gus does exactly what Dorothy asks of him. This calms him and the sheep (ever so slightly) so the gathering can be done in a manner NOT resembling a wild horse roundup.

Gus takes off again and OOPS!, the sheep have found sanctuary in the miniature horse herd. One sheep was overheard muttering under his breath, "If we just stand pretty and swish our tails as we're grazing, maybe that blasted dog won't notice us."

Can miniature horses herd sheep? Chrissy, the little pinto seems to think so. Do I hear someone humming, "Gitalong little sheepies...?"

The job needs to be done right and done now. Bring in the master, Nip.

"Wait, wait...," which I'm sure means "Don't herd the sheep yet."

On cue Nip moves in, gently urging the sheep out the first gate and recovering them when they head down the wrong lane. He conducts an about-face and sends them into the adjacent pasture. I close the gate. I smile.

And nod, "It's a pleasure to work with you Sir!"

After a job well done Nip has some energy left to play with Titus (rookie guardian dog wannabe).

Herding sheep is just a warm-up for a little rough housing with this big fella.

On the farm, life is good.

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