Friday, January 2, 2009
Working Sheep Dog
You might think that all I do is bum around with my buddy Dangerous Doug (DD) while he rides and hikes. Talk to his wife, and she will tell you that's about all we do. However, once in a while we are pressed into work. Ole' Dangerous swaps animal tending duties with his long time riding buddy Kent. Since there are sheep involved, I sometimes get to help. Unfortunately, DD is a better wanderer than herder as the following letter explains. Kent now calls on me when he needs someone to watch his sheep.
October 13, 2006
Since I won't be around to greet you and Diane, I thought I should leave a report -- a farm stewardship report. As you probably already know, I have been accused of poor farm management.
It has been reported that I killed Les's sheep. Well, that's the way Les is telling the story, but I thought he was a pretty sorry sheep the day we picked him up. You might have been facing a Hawaiian earth quake, but I had to bury a 200 pound sheep. The Miller's and your other neighbors were grateful that the weather was cold and that I had a shovel. However, they weren't interested in helping with Jack's funeral. Jack is the name I gave the buck. I thought Jack was an appropriate name for an old buck turned out with a bunch of young ewes. Your neighbor was going to play golf. I asked him to hang around to dedicate the grave, but he thought I was trying to con him into shovel work. I tried your kids without success. Eric told me to bury him where he fell, and that's what I did. Jenny called after I had already planted him and offered to help. I thought about calling Paul, but I didn't have his number in Finland. Since the other two are military officers, I knew they wouldn't know how to use a shovel. I know how kids are. As you know I have two.
Burying the sheep wasn't as bad as breaking the news to Less. He was heart broken over the loss and agreed to help me with the funeral arrangements. By the way, he mentioned something about the sheep costing $1,500 at the auction, but I thought I would let you work that out with him. Les arrived about the time I had the grave dug. He will probably want credit for our work, but it was me that insisted that Jack's life earned him something more than a shallow hole. Les figured the hole was deep enough, but I didn't want Jack's pointy feet sticking out of the ground through the eternities. Les suggested that we cut off his legs to save digging, but out of respect for the dead I insisted on a deeper hole. I will admit that I made the mistake of putting him into the ground with his head facing west. I take full responsibility for him wandering around confused on the morning of the first resurrection even though Les is a former Bishop and should have caught my mistake.
Don't be confused by the buck wandering your pasture. No matter what people say the dead don't come back to life. Les felt so badly for your ewes that he found you another buck. I call this one Doug because he jumped directly into action when we unloaded him from my horse trailer. Be careful with this one. He belongs to a rich guy in Alpine, and wants Doug back alive. If this one dies, you might have to move permanently to Hawaii.
I have to own up to another farming indiscretion. You had a raccoon in your live trap, and guess what? I let him go. I didn't have the heart to shoot him, and I didn't want to watch him die of thrist, so he got a second chance. I know! I don't have the intellect or skills to be a farmer. I don't even think I could herd sheep if I owned a smart dog. (I heard that, Rosie)
The last I looked Hawk was still alive. If he had died, I don't think the Gunthers would have let me bury him where he fell. If i had killed him too, I thought about hooking a chain around him and towing him to Hansen's place. As alert as Hansen is, he probably wouldn't have noticed until the Gunthers, Taylors, or Greenwoods caught a deep whiff of decomposition.
Well I am glad that you made it back safe. When I return from Grover, I will want to hear all about your Hawaii trip. How did the cutoff Levis work on the beach? Did your temple garments hanging out the legs give you away as a lapsed Mormon?
Talk with you Saturday,