I came home Wednesday to find the sheep all over the farm. They were in three different groups all separated by fences. Annmarie had told me she would lock them up for me, so I knew they were not where they were supposed to be. Instead of doing the things I had planned on my drive from work I went back to fencing. I had three large holes, all on hillsides and near water. So I spent the next three hours installing more fencing and tightening fencing that I had installed last year (for any future fencers out there, you need to wrap the wire around the pole a couple of times then wrap it back on the incoming wire and put ONE staple in that is it!! No more. I had to take out four staples on each one I had to re-tighten. I was not taking into account the animal factor and their ability to loosen fence.) Now mind you on the way home I stopped and got some really, really long rubber gloves. One of the young ewes had miscarried and had some afterbirth hanging out and I thought I was going to have to go fishing. I know, I am squeamish, but you really can get a few skin diseases from the sheep, hence the glove purchase. Once Annmarie came home we caught the ewe in question and luckily for me, she had passed everything, no more hanging out stuff. I will save the gloves as I am sure they will be needed at a later date.
I went outside to work on the rose bushes today. The Winter was not kind to our roses. All but one froze to the ground and one died. the roses were so big I had to use the Sawzall to cut them down (that and I couldn't find the loppers). My large bush rose was almost four inches across at the base and it died to the ground. I had a blooming tree in the corner of the yard that was sagging so I tried to prop it up today and it broke off at ground level. It was dead and had rotted off, surprising since it was alive in the Fall. I also cut down about 200 thistles out of our yard. They are coming back with a vengeance this year.
Again, I could not find the sheep in the pasture so I figured I had another hole!! So I spent another three hours fencing. This time I worked on the gates (place panels to the gates so the sheep cannot jump between the bars) and added a panel gate to the exit of the loading chute. I found one more spot on the main fence line and I nailed in a 2x8 to cover that section and used wire staples to attach the sheep wire to the 2x8. I still have not seen the sheep. I pulled a pine tree over to the burn pile with the pickup (forty foot tree) and spotted the sheep out in the CRP (of course since they are not supposed to be there). If you were a sheep would you leave all that tall green grass to go out into the scraggly tall brown grass? I wouldn't, but apparently I would not make a good sheep. So I herded the sheep back in to the main area of the farm and tightened the machine access gate, an old wire and pole gate. I had to add a couple of fence posts to hold up the panel on the other side of the gate. This is were I learned the value of twisting the barb wire and not putting in four staples. I just had to unwrap the wire from itself once I used the fence tightener and just wrapped it back on itself. NO staples at all. This makes this very easy to do.
I am fairly certain that at this point the sheep, cannot in any way, get out of the ram pasture. I do realize that this is a bold statement, but my arms are killing me and I am almost certain that the sheep cannot get out now. We will know in a few days.