Annmarie and I had just finished dinner when the call came in, the sheep were up in the CRP above the house. One of the neighbors had found them on the road and chased them into the CRP then called our mother-in-law. Around here, animals getting out is fairly common. I have now had to shift gears to fencing and more fencing. So I took the trusty sheep dog, Zeke, put on some slippers and headed up the hill. Annmarie put on some boots, grabbed a halter for one of the horses and went to get the errant horse. Hogs would not come back to the house and was standing up on the hillside near the fence and the other horses. Mika, (other horse) was down at the house whinnying nonstop for Hogs. Zeke was constantly being distracted by voles. He loves catching them and had to be constantly reminded that we were doing "work" and he could play later (he is only 11 months old). I was able to tell him to find the sheep and he took off toward the road, scaring up 3 deer. I had to make him lay down (120 yards away from me) until the deer ran off. He then ran into the CRP and the sheep were herded back to the hole in the fence. You just keep a little pressure on them with the dog and they just wander back the way they came. There is a veritable highway crossing through the fence in that location. It needs to be fixed. The fence from there to the bone yard needs to be tightened.
Once the sheep and horse were in the ram pasture we started looking for the cows. No cows! We started trudging up toward the upper pasture (I am starting to regret my choice of foot wear about now). I called Zeke from the house and he ran out to meet us and then run across the field harassing voles. We had to walk all the way to the end of the field before I spotted a brown side, I said cow, Annmarie said no, she thought it looked like a creek diverter (made out of old metal barrels for flood irrigation, located right where it should be). The brown spot was not moving. Once we got a little closer the cow stuck her head up. The other three were down in the dry creek bed hiding. Zeke refused to be of any assistance. He was tired and did not want to do anything. I had to run across the field in my slippers to head the cows off from sneaking behind us once. The field had a lot of thistles. I never did get the upper field sprayed as I concentrated on the hillside and the lower fields. The upper field had already budded out and the spray guys told me it was too late by then. So instead of putting expensive spray on the ground that wasn't going to control the weeds, I will wait until next year and hit it earlier. Everything is ready and working now so it should go smoothly.
The cows came home with us walking behind them. All was good and the sunset was gorgeous (thanks to all the wild fires). Zeke was outside just before bedtime running around, when he started to bark. I then smelled skunk. Luckily, the dog did not get a full spray to the body from the offending skunk, he only caught a small backlash. The front bushes caught the brunt force of the spray. Zeke still smelled like skunk so he had to sleep outside. This is new to him as he normally sleeps in a kennel. So he barked frequently throughout the night. It was not very restful for all involved. On a much larger note, I am betting the skunk has been eating my chickens. The automatic chicken door still works but the human door has been having latching issues and has been open the last few days. Definitely, time for a chicken roll call this weekend. I am betting the count is going to be off. Damn Predators!