Flying Solo

I have taken over the reins on Bill and Janice's place for a few days while they are away and they have been a busy and jumbled few days as I settle into flying solo with all the chores.

The longest part is exercising dogs, cleaning kennels and feeding.  Then off to take care of sheep, mules, horses and chickens.  There are more chores here than I have at home, making me question the sanity of my choice of a holiday. :-)

And can you believe it, a ewe died already!  I'm feeling pretty downtrodden.  She came in from pasture, laid down and died shortly thereafter.  She was very, very full (too full) and was the only one to look so full, yet I'm not convinced that this was bloat.  There was something else going on that I could not see and diagnose in time.

A flock of sheep moved onto the pasture across the road and there are two guardian dogs with them.  It reminded me so much of home, I rode out there, parked on an approach and took photos.   It is seldom that I get to photograph dogs other than my own.  It lifted my spirits.

Today was a big shearing day at a local rancher's place.  Somewhere around 700 head of Targhee sheep.  I took BJ along but she wasn't needed, as there were many extra hands.  I was employed as sheep painter (marking the shorn sheep after they were vaccinated and wormed).  Later I moved over to help shift sheep in pens.

This was an international shearing day.  The shearing crew hails from Montana, England and New Zealand and there was some connection to Australia in the mix too.  Some of the folks helping were from Hungary, and me from Canada.  Much of the conversation revolved around "where are you from?"

The set up was another portable shearing trailer although this one was larger size with a raised alleyway inside, exit chutes on one side and fleece being collected by the packers on the other.  The wool packers travel with the five shearers.  It was quite the unit.

I took many photographs of shearing and sheep and sorely wish there was a way to share them.  I have some gorgeous photos of shorn sheep grazing with the snow covered Bear Tooth mountains in the background.  Amazingly they do not use guardian dogs at this place.


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