The Fourth Escape

On Friday midday I went to Victor Harbour for the afternoon. And it seems inevitable now that they were gone again when I returned around 4.30pm. Haven't seen nor heard them all weekend – despite a long back-of-paddock look yesterday with A & M (grasses and rape are well over my head) and alone Saturday. They are serial absconders, boundary breakers. As long as they have food and water and no dogs attack them they are ok. Lack of water could become an issue, as could dog attacks, or people nabbing (apparently they are desireable as breeders—anyone who know sheep will work out they are castrated and no good for that, and as meat). A sign at the general store HELP Missing Sheep. X two Dorper wethers, tagged. Please call if you've seen them. 

   8:11am I placed the ad on the notice-board at the Post Office next to the one for the 'Missing Black Bull - branded' then I looked again up at the end of Luke Rd, tracked some poos that look like theirs at the top - then nothing. I wonder if they've been taken? Sheep-napped.

 

8:11am I placed the ad on the notice-board at the Post Office next to the one for the 'Missing Black Bull - branded' then I looked again up at the end of Luke Rd, tracked some poos that look like theirs at the top - then nothing. I wonder if they've been taken? Sheep-napped.

Poo tracks

the paddock where they are not

Up the paddock back shaking lupin bucket singing 'Here boys!' kind of 'hearBooooyeees'; cleaned and filled their water trough.

The Third Escape

Here they are, on the road: looking at me, me looking at them. We both, all three of us (they are always two), stop dead in our tracks. Me with the red bin and the yellow bin behind at the bottom of the steep driveway: them — who knows what they are thinking (Lupins?)  — there ON the ROAD — coming up the even steeper rise (as steep as Avian Crescent in Lane Cove) — there right by the gate. It's late, I know the garbage truck will be here in a sec. No time to think, bins left where they are I turn back up the drive and tell them to follow me, smacking my arse as I go. Without hesitation they follow, having missed their morning lupins because they were not in the paddock they are easy enough to entice, and Walid and Jeffrey are used to me now. Wall and Jeff I reckon it can be. I wanted to title this the 'Wall and Jeff malarky', something about this dorper domestification saga incites the kind of humour the Irish do so well. Stopping by the car to pick up the buckets I'd left there earlier because they were absent from the trough, we make it to the paddock gate right by the cottage. I go in, together they stop, turn their backs on me and put their noses to the rocky ground, 'We like it better here, not coming in, what you got?'. Forget it, i reply, you have to come inside to get lupins. I carry the buckets further in and place them on the ground, leaving me enough room to get past without exciting them. They quickly bolt in, heads into buckets. I leave shutting the gate behind me. Where did they get out?

The patched-in image was taken the last time Walid and Jeffrey came back from their travels — this is about where they were. What I want to convey is the shock of the moment, not sure this quite does that: here we are, interspecies looking at each other, sizing up the situation. 

The last absence was six nights, and that was after the previous six nights absence. They'd been faithfully, happily by the water trough or thereabouts since last Friday, thats another six nights. What's the significance of 6 I wonder? Is that the boredom threshold, gotta get outa this place? This breakout could've only been an hour or so, I saw them from the bathroom this morning. After they were back behind the gate I went back to place the bins were they needed to go on the opposite side of the road. I met the garbage truck reversing up the hill, those sheep could've been dead meat.