Today is our third day on the farm (I am writing off-line and will post when I next have internet access). I am getting into a very nice rhythm that both the dogs and I are very much enjoying. As I am on my own schedule, there is no need to set an alarm. I get up when I wake up, let the dogs out to play in the yard and make breakfast. After I eat, I bring in the dogs and feed them. Then I get dressed and do a few things around the house while they digest in their crates. Once organized, I load all five up into the van I have been left (I am caring for two puppies in addition to my crew) and drive down the road to where the sheep live.
Once there, I let Ross out to help get organized. He has become my “chore” dog, a role he seems to enjoy very much. He follows me over to turn off the electric fence, and then to do the rounds of looking for escaped sheep and checking water buckets. I then bring him back to the van where he hops in on his own and kennels up in a crate with the other dogs. The reason I say Ross seems to enjoy this is because he has never ‘kenneled-up’, hates riding in cars and hates going into crates. So to see him happily jump into the van and go into his crate while I’m still 20 feet away tells me he really likes his new job.
Next I take Hannah out and we move the working sheep into the medium sized field where we train. This is to let them have a change of scene from the small holding paddock they are currently living in, and to eat grass elsewhere to make what they have the rest of the time last longer. This also gives them a chance to spread out all over the field and make gathering them a challenge for me and Hannah a little later (more on that in a minute).
Once the sheep have been moved, I tell Hannah ‘that’ll do’ and take her back to the van where I let Ross & Mira join us. We hike the full length of the big field west of the main flock so they can shake out their beans. I then put Ross and Mira back in the truck and take Hannah to train. By then the sheep have moved to the far end of the field, making for a nice outrun.
After training, I leave the sheep out and put Hannah up while I walk the two puppies and Mira (who gets two walks since she doesn’t work). Next Hannah comes out to put the sheep away, and then Ross comes out to do the rounds of checking fences, gates and water buckets. By the end of it all, everyone’s tired and happy, and we all go back to the house for lunch. The dogs go to sleep and I get down to my academic work with a clear mind and calm body.
I think I could do this daily for a long time and be very content.