Monday, May 9, 2011

Tragedy with no hero.

Super Hero

This past week came with some highs and some lows. 
The barn addition is coming along nicely and I am very happy with the look and feel of the space.
I have a great crew back at work, most of who have been with us for up to 5 years.  This means that I don’t have to instruct them on every decision and priority; they have lots of experience and a great work ethic.  I will introduce them to you in later blogs.
Pemberton  hit 17 degrees on Sunday which is a happy number and a number should be hitting more frequently at this time of the year.
Peas, beets, carrots, onions, arugula, and much more is up.  Not to say they are ready but they are up and growing which I was beginning to despair was ever going to happen.  Rhubarb is a week or two away from first harvest and we will have a lovage and sweet cicely next week.  The hops continue to produce well as do the nettles.
On the darker side we had a series of serious dog attacks on our sheep.   We have had dog problems on and off for years although our fencing has improved to the point where these are rare occurrences.  Wednesday night however was the exception.  At 230 in the morning we were woken up by a yipping in the sheep pens.  We got up and outside to investigate and followed the yipping and growling dog noises down into the wooded North Arm channel area.   It was drizzling and dark and in the woods we couldn’t see what was going on or what was involved, if or how many sheep and lambs we had lost but it didn’t take long to discover that two dogs had somehow entered into the fenced area.  I could literally smell blood and found a dead ewe almost immediately. One of the dogs ran off into the bush right away and disappeared while the other kept after the sheep while trying to evade us.  Eventually, in the dark and the rain and using a flashlight for illumination I got a off clean shot.  
No Hero
The one that had taken off came back the next night but we scared him off and he hasn’t yet returned.  For his sake, I hope not to see him again.
All in all, they killed outright 2 lambs and 2 ewes, chewed up and maimed 3 more that have had to be euthanized and 2 ewes drowned trying to escape.  That is 1/3 of our flock of ewes and leaves us bottle feeding a dozen lambs.  I expect to lose another lamb but then again she may pull through.
I also wonder that we have to fence out the dogs rather than just keeping or own animals in. Who lets their dogs wander around all night sniffing for trouble? Too bad its the dogs and the sheep that have to pay the price.
In what I suppose is a bit of an ironic footnote, the big male “Rambo” cowered back at the barn and was just fine thank you very much.   Not much of a hero but he does look good.

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