“This is our ninth season and whenever I am feeling a little smug about our progress, the farm finds a way to humble me. We went out for dinner on Wednesday, and got home past our usual bedtime, looking forward to sleep. But as we pulled into the driveway, two lambs greeted us, outside the electric net. I had left the sheep in their paddock an extra day, to try to get them to eat some unpalatable weeds. These two must have been nosing under the net for better stuff, found the charge on the fence low, and popped out.
We grabbed headlamps and as Mark opened a gap in the fence, I tried to herd them toward it from behind. They spooked, and squirted out around me like two wooly balls of mercury. In the old days, I would have persisted in trying to push them against their will, but nine years in, I know better, and decided to attract them instead of repelling them. I got inside the fence, and called the rest of the flock to me, walking toward the opposite side of the pasture. I hoped the babies would find the gap and be sucked through it by the magical power of the flocking instinct. Somewhat to my surprise, it worked on the first shot.
With everyone contained, Mark and I began to move the perimeter of the fence out a few yards, to give them enough grass to get through the night. Sleep was mere minutes away.
“Aren’t you glad we have gotten so good at moving stock?” I said to Mark. Just then, Number One, an old battle-ax of a ewe, saw the smidgen of succulent grass we’d exposed, and with a great deep BAAAA!, charged the fence….” (Continue reading about Kristing Kimball’s Essex Farm.)