Another crazy 24 hours here at the Ruit Farm. Yeesh! It hasn’t stopped since 3 a.m. Yesterday I separated the last buckling from his mother, so when I went to bed at 10:30, there was some calling and baabaa-ing and maa-maaing, but I ignored and went to sleep. Around 2:30 a.m. I began to come to consciousness and realized that something was not going well outside. All the mama ewes were bellowing and sounding frightened, and the goaties were chiming in with their chorus of noises as well. By the time 3 a.m. came around I was really alarmed and got my husband up (I am sure he appreciated that!) and we debated who should go out and check on what was happening while he diligently got dressed and picked up the big flashlight. I watched from the bedroom window as he walked the 100 feet up the driveway to the turn-off into the paddock area. When he immediately turned around and started back down to the house, coming along pretty fast, I knew something was up. All the ewes were out and Zorro the llama was very agitated and on patrol. I initially thought it was just a chance breakout, but we have since found out that the coyotes have been very active on this section of the road in the past few nights. We now think that Zorro pushed his way through a cattle panel that probably had some less than new baling twine holding it together, in order to go after a coyote. He left a lot of his fiber on the fence so we know that he went over and/or through it. The ewes were initially happy to have gotten into a section of grass that I was saving, but then began to be afraid, I guess. They met John as he walked up the driveway, and he said that the field of weirdly fluorescent eyes were a little scary! As soon as I went up the majority of them followed me right into the paddock, back in with their lambs. Only a couple needed to be seriously baited and rounded up. Zorro refused entry and spent the night on patrol. He wouldn’t even come in this morning, he kept patrolling the perimeter fence all day. Around 4 he finally walked into the paddock area and went very sweetly into the fenced section. It was exhausting. Wish I had some photos… the moon gave us some light, but otherwise I basically stumbled around with a grain bucket in my hand, trying to lure the ewes back. Raven was the only one I had to catch by the leg and put a halter on. Pretty scary, but thanks to Zorro, not one ewe or goat was sacrificed. It sometimes feels like he is a superfluous presence here (and a crazy eating machine as well!), but I really do appreciate him! He needs a llama treat :*)
As for the rest of the day, I worked on getting our roaster chickens into the section of grass that the ewes cut down during the night, and then my son helped me get the majority of the ewes into the pasture, a half mile down the road. Then I walked the donkey down to join them. I am absolutely all done in! It is way too hot and humid for me. I guess I have to put up with it for the rest of the week, so I hope things let up a little bit! We missed the Round Pond 4th of July parade again, but with the heat and humidity, I am not sure that I would have enjoyed it anyway. Sigh! After all the water and electrolytes I drank today, I think I may have a glass of wine. The chicken that I had intended to barbecue is still in the oven, my husband is in bed, and I suspect that I am soon to follow. Tomorrow is another day.