Badger's Lambs

Robert Denlinger Jul 1, 2001

'Been just ugly humid weather -- that is, if you spend much time outdoors. We do. Along about early evening, I "thought" I'd taken care of everything and headed in, took a cool shower and grabbed that salad bowl intending to watch re-runs of Nero Wolfe.

"Lamb in the field!", comes the squawk from the UFO Centre. The latter nearly always locates reasons to thwart mealtimes. The Unidentified Field Objects observer can be anyone from Mary to Abbey, Tess and so forth. In this instance it was, non other than, the COOK! (Isn't there some clause forbidding cross-utilization of workers.

On with the boots (ghastly damp from the days sweat) -- On with the Deep-Woods-Off, as I now smelled "Clean" and, thus, an enjoyable target to those 'Evening Things That Fly'. Mary had started watching the field at dusk because, when I was in South Dakota the past couple of weeks, #215 had lambed (her first) out in the pastures with the main flock. (If you're interested in gentling Wild Mustangs, I dealt with a few score these past two weeks, in South Dakota. Pictures are under the link to 'Black Hills', located above Rosie and Ruby)

We aren't normally lambing now. In January, I got miffed at a few free-loaders who were in with the lambing flock. Thus, I tossed them into the ram area rather than have them wait till our 'normal' Ram-In time of year. Paid off, so far. So off I trudged swatting 'Deep Woods' immune critters as I went. As I neared this end of the garden, I saw a lone Ewe and, laying with her, Badger. He's the yearling rescue GP I'm so impressed with. At about 200 feet out, Badger got up and trotted to intercept me. It wouldn't be a normal case where I was in the field at this time and dressed as I was. Thus I noted, once again, Badger's attention to detail.

Mary had told me there was a single white lamb, on her feet, out here. Badger trotted ahead again and was busy licking a small black bundle in front of the mother's nose when I arrived. Hummm, twins. This doesn't thrill me for a first-time mommy. I'd only brought one Lamb-Carrier, a nylon, semi-netted, open sided, shopping bag like device. One puts the newborn lamb in it athwart her belly. Then you can walk along and the lamb's feet rather simulate walking. Mom follows the pseudo-walking lamb, licking all the while she cleans it off. I knew Mary would be 'Spying' on me with the field-glasses. So I held up two fingers then made a gesture of attempting to carry a lamb, in the carrier, in BOTH hands. I turned to squint the quarter-mile and see if she understood. She was moving away and towards the barn ostensibly to get another carrier.

Gosh it was humid. Gnats and other things were attempting to feast all over my sweaty face and back (through clothing). I turned to check on the progress of Mary and saw Abbey approaching. She'd obviously been day-sleeping over the creek-bank edge in the very cool shade of Sycamore's. Here she came --Trot-Trot-Trot --very businesslike, her tail up. Abbey arrived. Badger backed up slightly. Nothing fancy, just a gesture to indicate Abbey's 'Supreme' status. Abbey inspected the new lambs, smelled each intensely and registered them in her mental Flock-Ledger. Then she nuzzled me and gave me her best "Need Head Scratched" look. She's become very, very good at this attention getter. She doesn't run it to ground but just offers it IF I happen to be out in the field when she is there. So I scratched her head ....

Mary arrived. We did the carry-lamb-Lead-Ewe trick. Martha dutifully followed and licked. Abbey and Badger flanked us in a very noticeable guard style. On the way back, Bandit sounded off. Loudly. Right now, he's in with two Rams, in a net section and adjacent to the perimeter High Tensile fence along the two-lane road. This position allows Bandit the use of the gentle slope leading up to the plane of the road. He gains about ten feet over the pasture that way. He also gets to be in deep shade. Well, I looked over to see what he was yodeling at. Obviously it was us that he thought oughtn't to be where we were! And he was mad as heck!

Abbey noticed his "Tone" and immediately raised her tail and gave an intense warning to Bandit. Bandit doesn't "Do" GP as he is a Kuvasz and certainly above the Serfs of his Kingdom. So he continued trying to make a fierce warning with his seven month old voice. Sounded like a Swiss Yodler doing a Cough-Drop commercial. But Abbey doesn't Do "Ignore" and occasionally needs to rein in anything disobeying her orders. She spun to the right and sprinted, growling all the way.

Badger, seeing Abbey was clearly unhappy, went along at her side and barking the same as his Mistress. When they reached the Net-Edge, the Border of the Kingdom of Kuvasz, Bandit had already gotten the idea and just sat there watching. Abbey returned. But, being a Kuvasz that he is, once Abbey was out of range, Bandit started in Warning the intruders --Uh, that would be me I guess. I didn't bother to acknowledge him as he was perfectly in his rights to sound off at anything that looked amiss to him. Abbey disagreed and returned to Bandit. Badger had caught on and didn't see the need to run anywhere. He opted to return to his new lambs and check our progress. Abbey returned as we neared the gate leading to the lamb-shed and out of the main pasture. She followed us right into the lambing pens.

Martha had been bred to Sambo, a very large black Hampshire ram. His progeny always contain at least one solid black lamb if there are more than one born. Martha had a motley and a black. Oddly, when we milked Martha ( a little) she had Chocolate Milk!!! No, really! No lie! Never seen it before and I was worried if there was some internal problem with Martha. After all, she was on the cull-list for not getting bred in two cycles. But I guess it's OK because, this morning, the two lambs are alive, not appearing hungry, and well.

Anyway, I put Abbey in the X-Pen since she was nearby. I've been doing this for a couple of months, at night, because if she is out, at night, when Callisto is out, Abbey will always patrol the hillside across the two-lane road. This means she is also crossing the road several times. We have repeatedly checked the mile of fenceline for obvious crawl-through signs. None found. There just seems to be no where she can get through. But she does. So I lock her up at night. Not efficient but sometimes she'd also leave when just Badger is out there IF there'd been certain levels of intrusion attempts by the predators. With her safely sequestered, we went back to attending the twins.

Then suddenly Callisto, Bear, Badger and Bandit started screaming! Now, that's a very large area enclosed by that many LGD's. So I knew there was something in the Triangle that REALLY wasn't supposed to be there. I left Mary and went to check it out.

Frog-Giggers! Good Lord, I forgot about those type people since last year. They go along, in the dark of night, using spotlights from tiny dinghy and look for big frogs. Whatever. But it really disturbs the LGD's.

Well, I had Thomas, our QH Stallion, in the back yard. He mows it for us. It's a wonderful place for him as he can see "His" mares, has a large rain-barrel to drink from, good eating and shade. But he's right next to the creek/river. And the back deck is part of the back yard. Bear sits on the deck. Callisto goes there to survey the creek and triangle area. Normally the two are immune to horses. But if I am around or there is an alert, they always bark/lunge and otherwise seriously pester any horses here. I've tried everything but busting a 6x6 over their heads to stop it. Can't. So, I was "In Motion" and they did the mock-attack on Thomas.

Now, I have to both be calm and request the Stallion to approach me and let me lead him. AND I have to be a genuine tyrant to repeat the oft-used phrase "NO HORSE!!!" -- Which mental state does the prey-animal Stallion read? Yeah, you guessed it. Everytime. Well, I got through the narrow part with Thomas calmly in hand and aimed him at the horses barn using the "Thomas - Grain" phrase that he understands to always mean go to his stall and get his grain. It does. He did.

I'd forgotten, though, that someone from PA had brought in a Stallion Mustang this afternoon!! Jake, as he's called, was in a corral by the lambing barn and in clear view of Thomas. No one had been able to gentle nor touch Jake in two years. Thus they brought him to me so I could fix the problem. Made good progress in a couple hours by the way. Got as far as massaging his Withers. He "Thinks" he may like that.

Whoops! Here we go again! I can call Thomas off a Mare. Thomas listens. But, at the moment, he and Jake were screaming and striking at one another through the metal rails that separated them. I headed that way at a fast trot. Yup --- my personal guardians noted that two horses must not make such a clamor. Yup -- they also noted I was "In Motion". Callie was right up to Thomas' hind legs, trying to make him desist from such carryings on. Bear was on his other side. I was trying to get around and drive Thomas away, tears to his barn.

I'd drive, Thomas would listen and move, but Bear headed him off every time -- and drove him back onto me --it's like these idiots think I am on a hunt and Thomas is the prey. Now, I have to be fierce with commands to the LGD's in question and orderly with the Stallion ---- gee haven't we been here before? I've tried, by the way, the gentle but firm approach with the LGDS'. In time, they'd ignore that and only respond IF they thought I really meant it -- Like, if I was a Wolf, I'd have grabbed them by the scruff and given them a healthy scare. Well, I've done that with my hands but that's not quite like a set of fangs I imagine.

Got Thomas up and went for the Lamb area. Walked by Abbey's X-Pen and noted she'd popped the chain-link and escaped. Likely she did that when all the real screaming was going on about the Frog-Giggers. Can't fault her for that because she runs the place. So, I put Callisto in there and fixed the break. Rather have Callisto out because she WILL stay on the farm and she is lightning fast and ever aware of what is happening up to 3/4 mile away, down pasture. But can't have them both out.

This morning, I noted that Abbey was across the road laying in the grass awaiting my arrival. She wants me to open the gate and let her back in rather than go to her "Secret" place and come back in. So she was out despite Callisto being locked up. Bandit had been pretty upset about something on the hillside across from his net and across the two-lane. I assume she was remaining out to defend from the bobcat or other coyote pack up on the mesa. Dear oh dear [shaking head] - what'dya do, what'dya do