Free-range animals and birds are all the rage in the local, humane, natural, organic, and/or more-ganic food movement. In other words, let the critters roam around, eating what they would normally eat, and don’t feed them a bunch of highly processed, chemical- and antibiotic-filled so-called feed.
Well, Vincent and Richard gave new meaning to “free-range sheep” Friday morning.
I looked out the kitchen window at 6:30am that morning. No sheep in the pasture below. However, there’s a small patch to the right that’s out of view so I figured they were over there.
Until Vincent and Richard walked from left to right… almost across my landscaping beds to the south of the house… um, outside their fence. And Ron was following them a dozen meters behind, trying to get them back inside the fence.
Suddenly the deer tracks I saw around 9:15pm the night before after a talk and dinner on campus took on new meaning. They weren’t actually deer tracks.
I figured it would be easier (note: easier, not easy) to herd them back into the fenced pasture with two humans–not to mention a well-trained border collie, but we don’t have one of those. I took one sip of my tea, put on warm outer layers over my pjs, and headed outside.
Turns out we spent the next 45 minutes trying to get the sheep back into the pasture.
Fortunately it was a lovely morning, much nicer than the weather reports had predicted: cold, but sunny, no breeze, still snow on the ground, a pretty sunrise. I even thought: gosh, it wouldn’t be bad to go for a run in these kinds of conditions. How about the herding free-range-sheep-who-aren’t-supposed-to-be-that-free-range-sheep workout instead?
After 45 minutes, we managed to get the sheep back into the fenced pasture. And it made for a good story at work later that day.
In case you are wondering, how did they escape? About 100 feet of the fence fell over at some point Thursday afternoon or evening, probably during or after the snowstorm that day. Not sure if it was the wind or the snow or the cold temperatures freezing the top few inches of soil and pushing the fence posts out, but a big stretch of fence simply toppled over. Oops.