Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Fish & Wildlife Guy and the Floppie Lamb - 2000

One of the first stories that I wrote for the Working Border Collie or American Border Collie Magazine.
 
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The Fish & Wildlife Guy and the Floppie Lamb 
by Diane Pagel - 2000
**The names have been changed to protect the innocent*******
 
Once again, life at DeltaBluez farm is never dull. Cougars, coyotes and toxic waste oil drums. A  typical time here. Apparently the meth lab rug folks have taken to dumping their meth drums out in the country...and I am calling the Fire Dept and other folks to clean up.
 
But this story is about the FIsh and Wildlife (F & W)  visit. Ben and I are buds. I call and leave a message "This is Diane, the sheep farmer and I have another kill". He knows from that message who I am. He is a really cool guy.
 
So Friday the dear spouse (Jeff), you know the city boy that can fix a prolapsed ewe in 5 minutes flat, well, he was out wandering the fields and discovered a half eaten sheep. I am sure after this he will never venture out in the fields again. The LGDs went off on Tuesday night and we woke up and couldn't see anything. So come Friday, Jeff discovers why...the coyotes had run a ewe into the irrigation ditch and killed her. I had miscounted my sheep and missed her. And I studied Engineering too.....hum.....
 
So I call Ben. And leave a message. "Hi, Ben, it's Diane again....another kill, except this time on my property- not the leased property"
We play teley tag and on Sunday we meet. He came out Friday but wanted to meet me and get more details. We meet at the barn and walk down to the lower pasture.
 
The ewe is ripe, very ripe in fact. At this point, standing downwind (I, too can learn) I wonder why people would want to work in a morgue. I also wonder how much soap it would take to get this stench out of my hair and clothes. Ben is oblivious to the smell.
 
We examine the ewe and decide that the coyotes are not going to come back and I volunteer the spouse to bury it when Ben requests that I bury it. I told him it was on the "Honey-do list." I am sure he was glad he was not my honey.
 
We wander back to the house and decided to look at the new lambs (about 4-6 weeks old). They are running around in the upper pasture with the moms grazing nearby when we spy one lamb doing the "Floppies" I am sure there is a technical term you fancy-smazzy sheep people have but I call it the “floppies”. She just flopped on the ground and twitched.

 
Bleated really loud. Couldn't walk, just flopped. Like my belly flop when I dive off the dive boards.
 
Ben and I run into the pasture figuring we could snag her and see what is wrong. Both of us are healthy folks and the lamb has got the Floppies. So the Floppie lamb get up and runs like the wind and we gasp and wheeze after her. We stop figuring she must have been playing with us when she Flopped again. So we run up and then off she goes. Back and forth all over the pasture, two adults being beaten by a Floppie lamb. She runs, we run, we stop then she flops. Almost like a country western song and dance. She was leading though.
 
Ok, so you would think two adults would get the Border Collie and round up the lamb but no...we are not going to let a Floppie lamb beat us...so we chase her again...and finally we corner her and snag her. Not a mark on her, no runs, no nasal problems, fat and sleek as her sister. Thank goodness, as I was ready to call the medics to revive two winded folks from humiliation.
 
Ok, so we have learned do not put the Floppie lamb down...so we get mommy Barb to follow with her twin. We put them in the stall where she flops. I turn to Ben and thank him for his help. He looks tired. Really tired. I think the next time I call him, he will send Lori who is probably lower on the food chain than him. But he is a good sport. So I guess those F & W guys are good after all. Especially with Floppie lambs. On any given Sunday He leaves, rather quickly, I might add.
 
Ben is probably screening his calls from me from now on....he seems like such a nice guy. As he left, he did say he was a grandpa. Was that a hint? I mean for a grandpa he was running pretty darn good after Floppie Lamb. I guess grandpas are in better shape that I thought they would be.
 
I call my dear friend Robin (again, last time I called her was regarding the Duct Tape prolapsed ewe) and she answers the phone. I explain about the Floppie  lamb and we both try to figure out what is wrong. Nothing in the sheep books help.  Finally we determine to give Floppie lamb a Vitamin B shot and see what happens. I hang up the phone and Robin, no doubt, immediately calls the phone company to get a new unlisted number. Or get Caller ID.
 
A few minutes later I go down with a Vitamin B shot and the Floppie lamb is fine and dandy, up and prancing around. I do not have the heart to call Ben and tell him that we have been made fools of by the Floppie lamb. There are some things better left unsaid.

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