Saturday, December 27, 2008

Feeling sheepish?

The last week seems to have dissolved in a blur of not-much-ness. After our victorious CBC, followed immediately by a huge party with 50 or 60 of our closest friends, I went in to serious Slug Mode. For a few days I've been wrestling with a little bit of a cold. It has never gotten the upper hand, but neither has it given up and gone slinking back to the morass of germs whence it came. Still, it's been a good excuse to sit on the sofa reading mystery novels and watching Star Trek reruns.

Christmas Eve we had a lovely dinner out with friends, and Christmas Day we spent bundled up in the house making such a feast for two that we have leftovers to tide us for at least a week.

Oh, yeah. We're slowing-moving non-vertebrates, alright.

It's a good thing I had our penance for this time-squandering and caloric indulgence all lined up.

Each winter the local Division of Wildlife baits bighorn sheep in order to administer lungworm meds. Alfalfa hay and apple mash are put out each day... think holiday cookies for sheep. Once a goodly number of sheep are coming in to the site, meds are added to the apple mash and voila! Everyone gets dosed without the stress of trapping or darting.

We're fortunate here in our area, because volunteers are allowed to help with this daily "chore," and I've been able to participate in the project for several years. This year I was really excited to be able to bring the DM along A) to have the experience and b) to help.

Yesterday was our first scheduled day to bait, so of course when I got up it was snowing and blowing and miserable. It's a 25-mile drive up the valley to get the truck, the hay, and the apple mash... so just GETTING to the site might prove challenging. (sigh) Not precisely what I had in mind for the DM's first bighorn adventure, but whaterya gonna do?

The weather stayed, in the DM's words, "funky" all morning. A little ice, a little snow, a lot of wind. In places we were driving through 18 inches of untrammeled snow, and twice I got us nearly stuck. A little digging, a little swearing, a little calculated effort and we made it back out to the main road. Whew!

But, hey.. it was worth it. I was delighted to see 14 lambs among the 46 sheep that came in to the Chalk Creek site, and 2 more among the 18 sheep at Cottonwood. It's still pretty early in the season, so probably more sheep will come down in the next few weeks. I've got my eyes peeled for one in particular: a young ewe I helped tag two seasons ago. Could be she's gone off to new territory, could be she's gone off to the great sheep herd in the sky.. but could be she'll stop by for a bit of nostalgic apple mash tippling and we'll get to catch up on the news.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Elev.... dangit.
One, Two, Three...

Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?


  1. I was joking with D about petting the sheep ... but I had no idea! Also, when you put 60 people in one room, a hall, and a kitchen, you necessarily are with your 60 closest friends. Nevertheless, it's nice of you to say. Nice photos. They put a whole new meaning to Bah, Humbug.

  2. I seem to be playing "blog tag". I find myself hopping about between Susan Tweit's blog, your blog, and now your David's blog. :-D What fun!


    BTW - It is cold, windy but sunny here in the Sonoran Desert. At noon it is still in the 30's and the wind chill makes it feel colder.

  3. What a great way to spend a day! Just the sort of thing I'd be into.(For me, it was raptor rehab, there being no Bighorns in my part of the world!)

    And as this post loaded, I thought, before the text came up, that you were doing a reduction cut of the top picture. ;)

    Happy New Year to you!

  4. I'm not trying to denigrate the top photo, but it's a perfect Xmas card pic. That one sheep looking at the camera is perfect.

  5. Hi, everyone!

    It IS a lovely thing to be able to mingle with the sheep, and this year it's a real treat to see so many ridiculously cute lambs.

    But, OOPH! A reduction of that image? Idle, I can make some crazy choices, but YIKES! You'd have to certify me for that one.

    TW, I added the Salida Library to the sidebar links... just so you have one more place to "visit" when you're homesick.

    And Jeff... I suppose that image for a card would require a caption that said something about naughty or nice, since our friend in the middle looks sheepish.

  6. That is such a better idea then trying to dart them, so much less stress. Would be a great thing to see in person. Love the horns on that ram in the last picture, even if he looks like he is eyeing up the guy there o.0

  7. We are finally getting a little snow this morning but the only wildlife I've spotted is next door's cat!

    Beautiful photos and such a treat to share in your experience. And I too am looking forward to the reduction print!