29 July, 2011

A place of our own...

Well, I've gone and done it. I have entered into a cooperative arrangement with a friend and leased pasture near home so we can have our own sheep. The pasture is about 15 minutes from my house, and what I save in gas alone will pay the pasture lease.

I never thought it would make "sense" to have my own sheep, but with an open dog and a pup who will benefit from frequent, short training sessions, it actually will save me a considerable sum each month to have my "own" flock.

This road won't be without bumps, but the journey promises to be fun. I went for my first work this morning with Lucy and everything went fine.

The field will be mowed tomorrow, so here are the before pictures.

Field looking West.

Use the pointy evergreen tree in the distance, just below the end of the
branch dropping into the photo from above as the "reference" point.

Field looking Southwest. Reference tree in the center,
it is about 2/3 of the way to opposite the corner of the field from this point.

Field looking south
Reference tree far out of frame to the right

Lucy driving the sheep toward the north edge of the field

Lucy lying down, holding sheep off the draw.
I love how her ears are cocked back listening for me.

Today I just went to see how the sorting goes (there is a guard llama to watch out for with the dog work), and get more acquainted with the field. I spent a good portion of the work just training the sheep a bit that they MUST move off of me, and that they must go through the gate from the night pasture to the work field. I suspect I will be spending my first several works just doing this, getting the sheep into the routine a bit. The sheep are all very nice for the dogs to work, but they are not accustomed to being pushed through gates or having their movements forced. It won't take long for them to get the idea.

The sheep belonging to the pasture owner are for sale, but still on the property (Let me know if you are interested. There are 10 ewes available, some are Romney, some are Rambouillet crosses). My co-op partner's 12 sheep are there, and my 8 sheep will be delivered in a few weeks, hopefully once the pasture owner's sheep are gone so the graze won't get depleted unnecessarily.

Tomorrow I will stop by to help finish shearing, install the tank I got today so the dogs have a watering place to dunk in and dress a few wounds on the pasture owner's ewes that were uncovered with shearing. Also tomorrow the field will get mowed, so look for some after photos later this weekend.

Overall it was a peaceful morning. I was able to go, sort, do some gate practice, work Lucy, practice Rye's recall and down, visit with the pasture owner and stop at the feed store on my way home -- all in less time than what I would have spent in the CAR before just to get to and from sheep! This is going to be terrific!

Lucy appeared to have a grand time, though she did get a little warm running through the high grass. However, that, like all problems, was easily solved with a little technology.

The dog dunk trough gets installed tomorrow.

Fortunately Lucy was clean when she hopped in so no mud in the sheep water :)
I am really looking forward to this process, and having the ability to work my dogs more often. Yes, the flock maintenance will mean some extra work, especially at lambing. However, I think the investment will be well worth it, and still be a significant savings of both time and money.


livin life said...

I KNOW I love this!!! So cool when dreams come true! And now....they lived happily ever after! I am sooooo excited for you!!!!!!!!!!

Sandra Katzen said...

Greener than the grass with envy, but also filled with happiness for you!

Anonymous said...

i am very excited for you and look forward to watching this endeavour expand and develop. 8)

Doniene said...

Congratulations!!! I'm truly glad for you. It so will take the stress of of training sessions and time to and from.


An English Shepherd said...

Looks like a nice spot for some sheep :-)

Erin O said...

Soon you will be sneaking off before work like me to go work the dogs. Lucky yours is 15 mins away!

Monique said...

Thanks guys. @Erin -- might do during summer, but during winter that will be a no-go. I work from dark to dark. Have to leave home at 0620 to get to work on time...

Lynn said...

Wow - you're living my dream!


Jeanne said...

Wow, what a great place. Congrats and many happy days!!

thequiltingdoberman said...

Clearly I haven't been on your blog in awhile! This is great news. I don't even really know anything about herding and I still think this is an exciting step. Enjoy! I love the possibilities this opens for you. Sam