There are times, as a man, that you must admit defeat and just appreciate the fact that you married a woman much better than you deserved. Sunday was one of those days. As my friend Greg once told me, the secret to a happy marriage is the ability to say; I am a man, therefore I am wrong and I am sorry. I think that is the best marriage advice I have ever received.
Sunday we had 4-H meeting and we needed to do chores just a little bit early. Added to that was the fact that a thunderstorm moving in rather quickly. We soon got the chores done except that there was no sign of the ewes. We have never had problems with predators with our sheep but I think that is because we lock them in the lot each night. However, given the condition of our muddy lots, I could not blame them for not wanting to voluntarily give up their freedom.
With the rain moving in and thunder becoming increasingly louder, the decision was made to shut them in after we got home from 4-H. After all they always come in at night and they most likely would be waiting on us at the gate. Like a lot of theories that sounded really good at the time, especially as the first big drops of rain began to fall.
Our 4-H meeting went smoothly and finished about the time we thought it would and that would leave plenty of time to corral the sheep (after all not much time was needed since they would be standing, waiting on us to come home and shut the gate behind them). Little did we know that the chairperson of the banner committee would call for a meeting after the regular club meeting (that chairperson being child number 2). No problem, since the sheep are creatures of habit and would be dutifully waiting on us.
Much to our chagrin there were no sheep standing in the lot when we finally arrived home. Daylight was quickly slipping behind the western horizon, but surely the ewes were not far away. Isaac went to look and I changed clothes and also ventured out. Oh and it had started to rain, so much for waiting for a drier time. As darkness quickly settled in, it became apparent that the ewes were not close by.
Remembering that I had found them across the creek and in the meadow on top of the hill earlier in the week, I turned my search in that direction. Sure enough as I emerged from the dark mass of timber between the hill and the creek I saw a distant blob of white. I called to the ewes and they came thundering to me. However, it became painfully obvious, very quickly that they were not going into the scary dark timber, no matter how badly they wanted to go home or how badly I wanted them too. One person against 50 ewes is not a winning proposition.
Wet, muddy, disgusted and frustrated I waved the white flag and started back to the house admitting defeat. Along the way I ran into Isaac, who was just as wet, maybe muddier and a whole lot more frustrated. It was not good, both of us were visualizing an all you can eat buffet for the local predator population. We slogged our way back into the house with short fuses and bad attitudes and told Jennifer about our plight.
She listened to us and quickly pulled her mud boots on heading to the barn with a determined look on her face. She turned the lights on the barn, got her dog , the best flashlight we had and told me to drive her to the top of the hill. When I asked what she was going to do and what I needed to do, she said I am going to drive the ewes in and you are going to be quiet, watch and shut the gate behind them.
Sure enough, in about fifteen minutes a streak of white rushed past me and through the gate followed by Jennifer and her trusty dog. When I asked what she did that I had not done, she simple said she turned the lights on in the barn to give the ewes something to run too, shined the beam of the flash light onto the path for them and had taken better help to herd them. She then gave me “the look”. That is when I hung my head, thanked her and acknowledged the truth, “I am male, therefore I was wrong and I am sorry.”