Monday, October 21, 2013

A Day (and a Night) in the Life of a Shepherdess

I know it has been a long time since any of us has posted, but this story warrants posting.
The latest additions to Swan Bay Farm

Look at this beautiful wool

Isn't this just a face you want to kiss?
       Last Saturday was the Fire House Roast Beef Dinner night in Port Republic.  It is an important event for everyone in town, so Gary and I knew that when we set out to Salem, NJ, (a 1 1/2 hour drive each way) to buy a new sheep for our flock, we would have to be back in time for our roast beef dinner.  My friend Carol Winchell, has a breed of sheep different from mine called Wenslydale which have curly shiny locks rather than soft wavy wool.  I have been looking forward to adding some of these sheep to my farm and Saturday afternoon seemed to be the best time to go.
     Once we got to Carol's farm, I immediately fell in love with the shimmery gray/brown wool of this full grown female and another beautiful white sheep that was cute enough to kiss on the lips.  We loaded them in the truck and headed back to Port Republic, stopping at the fire house for our takeout roast beef dinner.  By this time it was 6:30 and beginning to get dark.  I told Gary to start eating and I would quickly unload the sheep and be right in.  The little white sheep came out of the truck easily and went right into the pen.  The dark sheep was not as cooperative.  She jumped off the back of the truck and proceeded to run through my yard.  I quickly ran into the house grabbing the only lantern we had and started to follow this sheep, up and down the road (about 2 miles), praying that God had a better plan than I had to catch this elusive sheep.  She would either have to tire out before me, or get caught in something.  I did not care what the plan was, I just did not want her to get hit by a car, or go somewhere where I would not be able to see her or find her.  She was so black and when I shown a light on her, I could really only see her eyes.
     She was faster than me, and weighed more than me.  The sheep from my flock come when they are called.   My sheep come to me if they hear the feed bucket full of food, but this sheep was not used to my ways, and I certainly was not used to hers.  After about one hour of running up and down the road and back and forth through my across the street neighbor's field, the sheep turned into my neighbor's driveway and then turned again into the woods, crashing through limbs and briars until she got stuck and could not move. 
     I was able to get through the briars and start untangling her curly locks from the briars.  As I was untangling her, I was getting tangled too, and knowing that I was not strong enough to pull her out of the woods by myself and no one knew where I was, I just started to pray that some how we would both be get through this.  When you put a sheep on their back they are powerless to run.  I was able to flip her into that position, stamped down about 3 feet of briars, and drag her by her front legs until I got to a spot where I needed to clear out more briars.  All of a sudden, I heard the fire alarm go off echoing through the town.  It immediately occurred to me that the firehouse dinner was still probably going on and that all the firemen had to leave to help someone's house from burning down.   I could here the sirens and then through the trees I could see one fire truck, and then another go down my road, and then a few pick up trucks.  I was hoping and praying that my house or my relatives houses were not burning down.  I continued stamping down briars and dragging the sheep 3 feet at a time, doing this for about 50 feet until I reached my neighbors driveway. 
     I started to yell for Fred or Denise, but they did not hear me so I started to shine the flash light in their windows from a distance, hoping that they would come outside.   They finally came out and I asked them to call Gary to bring the truck down so I would not have to drag her a quarter of a mile back to my house.  He would not answer the phone, so Denise drove Fred down to my house to bring the truck back.  She came back saying that Fred could not get the truck out of my driveway because the fire trucks were at my house.  A few minutes later Gary arrived in the truck, more worried than I had ever seen him.  When he could not find me anywhere, he was afraid that my mean ram, Merlin (the one with the big horns) had gotten me.  He had called the fire company to light up the field to see if I was laying there.  Later I found out that the call went out to the fire company for a "light up"call and a possible goring.  About 20 minutes later the State Police showed up asking where the runaway bull was.  It is funny how stories can change.
     The next day I had been planning to teach my Sunday School class about the story of Abraham, and how God provided a sheep which was stuck in a bush as a sacrifice so he would not have to sacrifice his son.  (Genesis 22)  It is so amazing to me that God used a bush and briars to entangle this sheep too.  I am also so grateful to live in a town where people truly care for each other, and did not seem to be bothered to leave the fire house to help find a lost shepherdess.