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Tag Archives: Border collie

The long journey to the wintering grounds

Ewes coming to the road

Most years, we set out on the sheep trail to the wintering grounds on about the same date. It is usually about a five- or six-day trail from our late fall pasture at Badwater to our winter grazing permits in the Red Desert. We leave around Thanksgiving time–grateful that the ewes have come south on the same trail in the spring, met the shearers. trekked to the lambing ground, borne and raised lambs, grazed on the forest, trailed back to the Home Ranch corrals, weaned their lambs, and now head north to winter pasture. It is usually a time when we can take a breath. We pray that the winter is not too hard, that the dry grass is enough to sustain the ewes, and then the rams, as the cycle begins anew.

following the tractor

This year, back-to-back blizzards hit soon after the first two bunches of sheep set out. Some days they have been stranded on the trail and it has been all we can do to reach the sheep and the herders with supplies. The Interstate has been closed, with multiple wrecks and even some deaths. We crossed two bunches in between storms, but have struggled to move them north, breaking trail with the tractor. The weather has paused between storms, allowing us to make progress. We are grateful that the storms have not been unrelenting.

We had to turn south with the last bunch. Their winter pasture on Chain Lakes is snowed under, and we’ve found another, more open, allotment to the south and west. We are trailing down the highway, which must confuse the ewes, whose instinct and habit is to head north. Since we are on the highway, and not the cross-country trail, we flag, fore and aft, to slow the oncoming traffic. Locals are also not used to seeing livestock on the road this time of year, and non-locals are mostly interested to see the sheep, the dogs, the herders and the family members.

The sheep north of the interstate are still struggling to get to Cyclone Rim. They have finally made it to a plowed road, but it is slow going due to all the trucks stuck as they try to reach the energy development in the same areas.

Eamon and Guillermo bringing up the sheep

almost to the gate

Eamon, ready to trail

Wagon, waiting for the day

View from the rear flagger

Wilber and Guillermo putting in at the 18 mile marker

 

 

 

 
 

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What the shepherd saw

Sunset when the sheep got into the haystack

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2019 in Animals, Dogs, Nature and Wildlife, Sheep

 

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One-Eyed Dog

 

 

The One-Eyed Dog sounds
more like the name of a bar
than my girl, Cora.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Animals, Dogs, Poetry, Sheep

 

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Sorting Gate Haiku

ewes heading for the sort

 

Ewes through the dodge gate,

dart left, duck right, straight ahead—

Destiny awaits.

Edgar at the sorting gate

guard dog hard at work

Avencio catching a ewe

 

in the corrals

Rhen helping Avencio and Oscar to doctor a ewe

crossing the Battle Creek bridge

 

 

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Cora and puppies

Cora practicing patience!

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2018 in Animals, Dogs

 

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To lamb or not to lamb, that is the question

If it’s March, it must be time to pregnancy test. We breed the best of our Rambouillet ewes to Rambouillet rams, thereby ensuring a new crop of replacement ewe lambs, as well as their brothers/cousins. Since purebred whiteface lambs are more vulnerable at birth, especially the twins, we pregnancy check the moms so that the ewes carrying twins can lamb in the sheds. The rest of the Rambouillet ewes are bred to our Hampshire rams. Their lambs have hybrid vigor and usually do fine with drop lambing on the range. Our friend Geri Parsons from Optimal Livestock Services comes up each March at mid-pregnancy to check the ewes and call out “single”, “twins”, “open” and even “triplets”. Meghan and her crew appropriately marked the ewes with a paint dab on their heads to signify their status for later sorting. Geri usually braves chill winds and long drives for several days to accomplish this task. Here’s some photos of this year’s pregnancy checking.

Ewes, waiting for the verdict

Pepe at the chute, Geri’s office in the tent

 

It was REALLY MUDDY!!!

Chris bringing up the ewes

Pregnancy testing crew–Sam the Border collie, Modesto, Maeve, Meghan, Pepe, Tiarnan, Geri, Chris

 

the view from Eagle’s Nest, looking east

 

 

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Bucks leaving

Pepe, Meghan and Sam with the bucks

Pepe, Meghan and Sam with the bucks

 

Mid-December brings true love to our ewes and rams. The rams, at least, have been waiting in the wings since, well, last winter. Mid-January brings rest to the bucks, who have been working hard for a month. It is time to bring some of them home. Here are Pepe and Meghan loading bucks for the trip home. You can see that it is deep winter on the Red Desert. We were worried about not having enough snow for the ewes to eat for water. Now we are worried about too much crust on the snow for them to graze. Pepe and the other herders feed them corn every day to keep them strong. And pregnant.

Waiting to go home

Waiting to go home

Meghan hooking up the horsetrailer

Meghan hooking up the horsetrailer

Dos Amigos

Dos Amigos

 
 

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Wrangling

Horses ready for a day's work

Horses ready for a day’s work

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2016 in Animals, Dogs, Horses

 

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Dog paddle, calf paddle

Chica bringing a calf across the Little Snake

Chica bringing a calf across the Little Snake

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Animals, Cattle, Dogs

 

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…’til the cows come home

Here come the cows!

Here come the cows!

In the winter, some of our cows go to the balmy environs of Laramie, AKA “Laradise”. It’s almost spring, and time for the cows to come home. In a few weeks, they’ll start having baby calves, and you’ll see pictures of them on this blog. Usually, we have more snow on the ground, but the easy winter means we have plenty of hay.

photos by Siobhan

 

 

 

through the gate...

through the gate…

headed down the hill...

headed down the hill…

Chica supervising...

Chica supervising…

Eamon, dogs, cows

Eamon and the dogs put the cows into the…Cow Pasture.

Done. Pat, Tiarnan, McCoy and Maeve, with a little help from Belle.

Done. Pat, Rhen, McCoy and Maeve, with a little help from  Belle.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Events

 

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