Pete and Sage spent the weekend away, helping my dad and sister put up wood for the winter at the cabin.
Lupine and I stayed home to care for the flock.
Things didn't go quite according to plan.
I woke on Saturday before sunrise. As first light came across the valley I scanned the pastures and discovered that we had a security breach. Our sassy sheep Catkin had headed to greener pastures.
Catkin is our problem child, a bottle lamb we adopted on a whim.
She would be a pet, we said. We would use her wool, we said. It would be fine, we said.
It turns out Catkin has a special gift for growing her wool pre-felted (yes, really!) so it's useless for fiber unless you're making a vegetarian sheepskin rug or stuffing a very solid dog bed.
It also means she's immune to the electric fences.
This is a newly discovered superpower, something she has been exploiting on and off all summer. If she's persistent enough and pushes hard enough against the wire, the whole valley is her domain.
She will occasionally lean into the fence so hard that she breaks insulators (like this weekend) or pull fence posts right out of the ground, electric current be damned (also this weekend). When she does she can bring a friend with her on these walkabouts who normally wouldn't brave an escape.
Lupine and I caught Catkin three times out of the pasture on Saturday and I awoke to find her out again on Sunday.
We caught her again and fixed the fence. And again. And again.
We needed a better plan.
Lupine suggested we divide the flock and move the sheep to a fresh pasture. That should do it! With her help we sent the goats one way and the sheep another.
(Be aware that when I say we 'sent' the goats one way and the sheep another, that this act looks more like a chaotic barnyard mosh pit than anything. Regardless, we were successful.)
I set out two empty pails to fill with water, turned around to find the hose, and turned back to find this.
Oz the ram lamb had become a walking, bumbling mascot for my sheep care skills.
As I headed over to remove his bucked I discovered that Melissa the goat was out.
Oh, goodness. I'm not very good at this.
I caught the goat while Oz wandered the pasture wearing his new hat. I tiptoed over, pulled off his bucket, and filled their water pails before anyone else could get stuck. Finally we could have breakfast! And coffee. Please. Coffee.
As I went to the kitchen sink to wash my hands I looked outside to see…
That's right. Catkin. In the garden.
Lupine was pulling on her boots without even being asked. If it weren't so funny I might have cried.
Finally Lupine came up with a solid plan. We would lock Catkin (and her co-conspirator Quinoa) in the pen in the barn reserved for birthing mamas. It would be their prison cell until we could figure out a better strategy.
And it held! As of this morning those naughty sheep are still in solitary and the others are happily grazing in their pasture.
So there you have it. Another utopic weekend on the farm.