Bruce was one of two dogs we saw training to be shepherds. I once knew a border collie (Sparkplug by name) who could not stop chasing and herding. It was really great to see a trained (mostly) one doing his job. My video didn’t come out too well, but I’ll post it anyway. I did trim out all of the boring parts.
We also saw another dog, one much earlier in the training process, who still needed a lot of practice. It was not a border collie, but another breed of shepherd. The farmer and his wife and one of their sons helped with the demonstration. They told about taking the sheep up into the mountains in the spring, and about bringing them down again in the fall. On January 12th of every year a vet visits to determine the pregnancy situation amongst his ewes (which they pronounce “yos.”) At birthing time, starting in March, the females carrying multiples are brought to a barn where they can give birth in a warmer, more protected environment. The only predator is the fox, but, as we all know, they can be sly. Mom can defend one lamb, but two or more may be lost. They keep several hundred adult sheep, and a group of younger animals as replacements.
Sorry. I cannot resist puns.
But Wait, as I seem to be fond of writing lately, there’s more!
We visited the sheep farm in spring, before the sheep were moved up the mountain. That meant that there were new lambs in the barn. And new lambs in the barn mean new lambs that may be held. Of course, the bus interior smelled like sheep after, but for Tami, it was worth it.
Well, that’s pretty cute. I scratched the lamb’s ears a bit, but didn’t hold one. Several were offered for holding, and they were passed around for about ten minutes. Times like this I completely ignore the facts of what goes into a lamb stew.
Take it all around, I learned a lot on this bus tour. I learned that Braveheart wasn’t filmed anywhere near Scotland. I learned about the Irish sheep industry. And, most important of all, I learned that Shawn the Sheep is Irish!!!
Well, at least it looks that way.
The next post will wrap up this series. I’ll return with something about writing itself next Wednesday.
It’s Shawn the Sheep, It’s Shawn the Sheep,
He even mucks about with those who cannot bleat.
Keep it in mind, he’s one of a kind!
Oh, life is sweet with Shawn the Sheep!