After a big day, I always like to compare my pre-event anxieties with the things that actually went wrong. Today was the first time I tried to move my flock to another property with the new truck and trailer, so my list of pre-move fears was long and detailed. I was particularly happy that the sheep-handling part of the day went much better than it might have, largely thanks to Bill Fosher’s advice and Cass’s increasing savvy with the sheep. It turned out that my fears of driving backwards with a giant trailer were well-founded; more practice is in my future. And I was not nearly worried enough about the truck itself, which ended up dumping its entire load of automatic transmission fluid in the road in front of my house between runs. Here are some snippets from the day, with more to trickle out over the next few.
With help from my friend Dale Broholm, we got electronet and metal panels set up to guide the sheep into the trailer, and with Cass’s help, it was pretty easy to move everyone down from the pasture to the trailer.
The only catch was that a certain long-haired neophyte shepherd failed to close the gate to the main field as the sheep went through. When they saw that there was only a big metal box, rather than yummy new grass, at the bottom of the laneway, they turned around and went right back.
With patience and a bit more foresight, Dale and I were able to get the sheep back down to the trailer. They were initially reluctant to go in, but as soon as I convinced (read pushed) one sheep to go in, a mad panic ensued to get into the trailer. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing.
At my neighbor’s property, around ¾ of a mile away, the unloading was smooth as well, with Cass providing all the impetus the sheep needed.
We were able to load about 40 or 45 sheep in the first trip, and as we were returning to my house to pick up the rest, I discovered just how hard it is to back up from a winding road onto a narrow, twisty driveway. I made several awkward attempts, abandoning each time to let another vehicle go by (it seemed that 75% of the day’s allotment of traffic passed during the few minutes that I was trying to get in the driveway). When I noticed the transmission fluid pouring onto the road, it felt a bit like a welcome reprieve. I called Bob, mechanic friend and mentor, and we figured out that the gasket sealing the transmission pan (the part with the Ford logo) was leaking.
Bob suggested that a bunch of new transmission fluid and a more experienced driver would allow us to finish the move despite the leak, and he pulled it off. Cass and sheep behaved themselves the second time around. Repairs commence tomorrow.
Later in the afternoon, after the drama ended, I got a chance to introduce my host, Peter Miles, to the flock. He and his wife Dorothy are being incredibly generous to take a chance on the new guy in town.
Bravo immediately decided that Peter was his new best friend, and Peter didn’t seem to mind the attention.
It feels very strange that my sheep are no longer grazing on my pastures, though my back field is nearly as far from my house as Peter’s place. Bravo and Cleo are with their flock, and I double checked that the electronet had a good, hot charge tonight; I’m trying not to worry, but I’ll be very happy to see all the critters again first thing tomorrow morning.