Category Archives: The Bellwether: Dunkin

Pancho and Lefty

Alejandro with Pancho, the pet sheep and Lefty, the puppy


Here’s Alejandro at his winter camp near Powder Wash. Pancho is a bum lamb who is well on his way to becoming the new bellwether. He has big hooves to fill to replace Dunkin. We’ll just have to name the puppy Lefty.

The horses are wintering well

Alejandro with his Border collie puppies


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Docking 2017

Belle helping the humans

Go that-a-way!

When most of the lambs are on the ground, we are faced with the next big task–docking. This is a major job which involves handling each and every lamb which has recently been born–giving it an earmark, castrating it if it is a male, judging if it is replacement quality if it is a female, vaccinating for enterotoxemia and tetanus, cutting the tail, and last, but not least, stamping on a paint brand. This operation involves a lot of moving parts with a lot of coordination of critters and people. It calls for all hands and the cook!

Heading into the corral

Bringing up the ewes

Docking crew ready to go

McCoy, with the docking crew and the Dinkum Docker

Siobhan taking a break

Rhen and Tiarnan–the happy dockers!


Tyler, German, Juan and Rafael at the docking board

German holds lamb while Kimmy castrates

Jaime putting a lamb into the Dinkum Docker

Tyler and Jaime

the multi-talented Kimmy vaccinating

Rhen branding for Pepe

Brittany counting tails

After the docking

Luka supervising lunch

Time for rest and contemplation of tails




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Adios, Dunkin

Pepe and Sharon with Dunkin

Pepe and Sharon with Dunkin

I am sad to report that Dunkin, a sheep of much renown and many adventures, has gone to that great pasture in the sky. He led a long and interesting life, especially for a cross-bred, parrot-mouthed wether. Here he is with his patron, Pepe, who found him as a newborn lamb at the side of his dead mother. He was a friend to dogs, sheep and people, and will be missed for his skills as a bellwether.


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Dunkin on security detail

Dunkin surveying the barnyard

Dunkin surveying the barnyard

Dukin with bulls

Dunkin checking out the bulls


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Dunkin redux

d Dunkin is enjoying his retirement

Dunkin is enjoying his retirement, but he was disappointed that Sharon didn’t bring him a treat.             photo by  Sam      “Thirsty Land”






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Dunkin taking a break

Here's Dunkin taking a break from his busy schedule of hanging out with the 4-H lambs.

Here’s Dunkin taking a break from his busy schedule of hanging out with the 4-H lambs.


Dunkin with a lot of responsibility

Dunkin with a lot of responsibility


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Dunkin: Life is good!

Dunkin–Life is good!

After Dunkin the Bellwether escaped from his abductor last summer and returned to us, he spent the winter in the corral at the Home Ranch.  He thinks it’s a pretty cushy life.


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Dunkin, Beulah and Maria

Dunkin and his shadow

Dunkin and his shadow

Dunkin in the Cow Pasture

Dunkin in the Cow Pasture

Maria is one year old, and taller than her Mom, Beulah.

Maria is one year old, and taller than her Mom, Beulah.


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Dry season

The days unfold–one warm dry sunny day after the next.  The neighbors gather and talk of only one subject–when will it snow?  We all have tales to tell.  Only two years ago, we were lamenting because we had to start feeding hay two weeks before Thanksgiving.  This year, some of us still have some rough feed we can use for the cows and horses–the tall dry grasses left under the trees that couldn’t be reached by the mower during haying season.  Some have been feeding hay for months, after the summer pastures came up short and the fall pastures were used early.  Some have shipped animals out because of the lack or expense of feed.  Drought in the corn states and demand from ethanol have made corn–the staple of livestock feed–prohibitively expensive.  The government’s mandates, and lack of action on disaster programs mean that the livestock sector has been sacrificed as farmers are being encouraged to grow fuel in place of food.  Cattle and sheep, but also dairy (especially dairy!), poultry, hogs, and even catfish are being driven into loss as corn prices soar.

We continue on, unhampered by storms or ice or cold.

the Hampshire bucks at Powder Flat

Bucks drinking from the tank at Powder Flat

Filomeno and Antonio with horse they are breaking

Dunkin with ewe friends

Maeve, ready to load truck

wagons at Cottonwood


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Dunkin is found!!!

Dunkin is found!!!

Faithful blog readers may recall that our bellwether, Dunkin, was lost last May.  After shearing, he stayed with our yearling ewes at the Badwater pasture, some 40 miles north of our lambing grounds, near Dixon.  Except that he didn’t stay. He disappeared, and we assumed that he was trying to trail himself down to join the ewes and lambs. We looked for him along the trail, requested that the trappers look out for him, asked our neighbor to keep his eyes open when he flew his plane to check his cattle, and even wrote an article for the local paper, in case someone spotted him. After a couple of months, we gave up and assumed that he had either fallen prey to coyotes, or perhaps to a human with a taste for really fat mutton.

A few weeks ago, Pat came home and said, “I have really good news!  Dunkin is in Joyce’s pasture”.  Our neighbor Joyce lives right on the Savery Stock Driveway, and strays often collect up in her pasture.  Pepe, Dunkin’s original patron, went to collect Dunkin and bring him home.  Joyce’s employee, Percy, said that Dunkin had been there for a couple of weeks.  Dunkin was probably 50 miles from where he had last been seen, in Badwater.

Pepe was furious, because Dunkin, who had a fresh paint brand (a Banjo) when he was lost, was wearing the brand of another sheep producer.  He had even been earmarked, which was surely an outrage to Dunkin.  He apparently escaped and found his way to Joyce’s.  Dunkin is very happy to be home, hanging out with his sheep, dog and human friends, and we are glad to have him home.

Dunkin, thinner, but glad to be home, with Meghan and Pepe.


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