Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This Is Why

1) I always carry a knife in my pocket when I am at home. I never know who will need rescued. I used to always carry a knife in my pocket, period. But I often go into schools as artist in residence & coming in fitting their definition of armed & dangerous is frowned upon. I also have a good pair of scissors hanging on a nail in just about every building on the farm. You just never know. I even keep a tiny pair of stainless surgical shears for cutting little shreds of baling twine out from between the toes of chickens.

2) I walk the farm frequently throughout the day. This silly girl had only just gotten herself wrapped up in a mess of baling twine while sampling a new round bale that was not supposed to be eaten quite yet. She had not yet realized that she was going to be in trouble so had not started to struggle & pull at the twine that was still attached to a 750+ pound bale of hay.

3) We spend lots of hands-on time with our animals so that they do not panic when we do have to work with them. Many, in fact, will come running to us when they can or at least call out to us when they have a problem. I know it sounds hard to believe but it happens frequently enough that I know it is not just a coincidence.

It took me just a moment to pull my knife out of my pocket, cut a few wraps of baling twine, look the gal over to be sure nothing was still wrapped around a hoof or ear & then let her go on about her day. I also trimmed up the remaining bits of baling twine dangling from where she'd gotten into trouble.

Years ago we sat in on a lecture with a goat expert who started his presentation by stating that a goat gets up every morning & the first thought that goes through its little goat head is, "How can I kill myself today?". I don't think sheep are as intentional as our goats when it comes to getting themselves into trouble but that certainly doesn't mean they don't find plenty of ways to do it. Which is why we take this shepherding business quite seriously!