By Mrs Sarah Foley-Smith | Posted: Thursday May 4, 2017
The story so far ...
“Hi Sarah, I’ve got this wee group of sheep I thought your class might be interested in managing.”
“Hey Austin sounds great - what would you like us to do?”
“Ok, so we have grazing spread around Geraldine and they winter over in a forestry block. Gary and I have done a bit of fencing. The sheep are quite tame and come up for silage in winter so are quite manageable.”
And so it began ...
Promises made months away from the actual doing are so easy to make!
We started with tailing in the September holidays. A thousand bonus points to Cameron, Zettlin, Mikayla and Emily from PIA and to Quinn, Patrick FS, Patrick G, Bridget, Sam and Jason for being volunteered by their parents.
The pretail, onsite get together sowed the first seeds of OMG. A quick wander round the block was followed by an in depth update of the hazard register. The small fact that any approach made by us to the animals within a 500m radius resulted in said animals high tailing it for the hills did not bode well. A plan of attack was formulated with the hope that every eventuality had been anticipated. Oh, we were so wrong.
Good character building stuff followed with a highlight being that each year mfs will have a new unsuspecting Year 11 group to be initiated to the joys of the forestry block.
So the pen was duly set up and strengthened, jobs allocated and the plan finalised.
We all set off for what was supposed to be the one and only muster, followed by tail, B12 vaccination and scratching for scabby mouth - done and dusted in time for lunch at the latest- home by 12 was the message for parents no worries.
So not true…... the first lap past the pens and spirits were slightly dampened - after the 4th 5th? A desperate wild-eyed look entered student’s eyes. The team was having a good workout, sweat dripping, Zettlin losing his voice (and his dogs losing their hearing). So the team divided into Emily, Bridget and Mikayla waiting at the pens with the rest doing another lap and miracle - the girls calmly corralled the whole mob bar 1 ewe and her lambs with the team effort of the other 8 carrying the ewe and lambs in - phew, the hard part done - just 3 ewes in the other paddock-sweet.
Not to be!
Things went from bad to worse if this was possible! Each sheep had to be individually caught and transported to the pen with Patrick FS showing off his driving skills with strict instructions not to tell dad what we were doing with the ranger!
Group hug - every animal accounted for!
6 hours to tail the lambs from 34 ewes - don’t tell anyone!
Zettlin offered to have the mob at his place through to shearing - yay, clearly a top student. Would have been a group cry if they had been released back to the forest!
Anna arrived just in time with a morning's baking followed by drinks all round (ginger beer).