Wickedly Windy

Snow sculpted by the wind
The wind blew relentlessly today. It roared, howled, whistled and sculpted the new snow that came with it. The more it blew the colder it seemed to get. It seemed a good day to spend inside with my drawing pencil.....

The dogs and I still took our usual just-before-sunrise morning walk; there isn't much that causes me to miss a walk. After that I was off to tend to the sheep.

The sheep did not follow me out to pasture. I went ahead without them and rolled out feed. They still had not moved when I came back. I decided to leave them, thinking their stomachs would lead them out when they were ready.

Next I went over to the barn paddock and opened panels to the front of the barn so the animals there could come in out of the wind. We keep them out of the barn otherwise but this weather called for some shelter.

Trail to pasture blows in quickly
At noon I was back outside to see if the flock had found the feed I rolled out. They had moved but only into a different sheltered spot. No one had been out to eat.

Thankfully I had thought to bring Jayde along with me. A little push from a Border Collie was all it took to start them on their way out. Then they followed the Ranger the whole way. I lifted some of the swath of hay with a pitchfork since it was now buried in the snow. Once the sheep were started on it they did fine digging the rest out.

Then off on the Ranger again, this time to load up a few square straw bales and drop them off in the night pen area for the guard dogs to use tonight.

Later it was out for the second walk with dogs, duly needed when living with kelpies and there is no extensive stock work.

Shortly after that it was time to bring in sheep for the night. I thought they would come willingly as usual, and besides, coming in meant moving with the wind which is much easier than going into it. I left the dogs at home rather than subject them to the cold and wind. Since the sheep only had a half days worth of feeding they were reluctant to move away from the hay. I wanted my dog.

I was tempted to leave the sheep where they were; they would be okay and would bed down on the hay. But I felt I had to follow routine so I pushed them home and was appreciative of the work stock dogs do. They make it look effortless.  The sheep traveled through the night pen (gates are open to allow access to water) and to the same bush they had found this morning. Again I found myself tempted to leave them there.

Feed the guard dogs and make quick straw beds for them next to the wind break in the night pen area. Head back to the house to get Jayde. Move the flock out of their bush and into the night pen area and around the wind break, out of the wind. Wait a moment to be sure guard dogs find their beds. They do and instantly curl up in them.

Head over to the barn paddock and move the sheep there up in front of the barn. Take a distant look across the pasture and spot the ewes lambs. They have ample shelter from the wind in their spot so I don’t bother walking out to check on them. Dark is very near, it’s time to go in for the night and call this wickedly windy day done.