Catherine Friend
Catherine Friend

Well, That Didn’t Go Well…

I’ve changed into dry clothes, and have calmed my nerves with Diet Coke and pretzels, so now perhaps I can write about this morning. 

It was time to move the sheep, so I walked up to the West Pasture (we’ve named everything). For the last two days I’d been walking up close enough to check the level in the sheep’s water trough. 

I needed to check because a few days earlier the automatic refill part broke (it’s like the gear in your toilet tank, with a big float.) The float came off and I couldn’t figure out how to put it back on. This meant I had to keep the trough disconnected from the water supply, and manually hook it up once a day. No big deal.

But this morning I was a bit alarmed. The sheep hadn’t drunk anything in two days. This time I stepped close enough to see that one of them had pooped in the trough. No wonder they weren’t drinking.  I yelled in disgust: “Someone pooped in this water trough and ewe know who ewe are!” (Anger brings out my clever side.)

I emptied the trough and dragged it into the Driveway Pasture, bringing the sheep with me. I felt like Bad Shepherd for not finding the poop earlier, but luckily the sheep didn’t seem on the point of death from lack of water.

I realized I should probably clean out the trough before refilling it, so I walked all the way back to the barn for the bottle of bleach. But then I realized I should really scrub it out as well, but the scrub brush wasn’t in the barn where it belonged, but in the front basket of the 4-wheeler where I’d left it, way down in the shed.

I will confess to another Bad Shepherd moment: I didn’t want to walk all the way down there. But then I remembered I was wearing my fitbit (high-tech pedometer) and that I would get credit for all those steps. So it was the thought of all those steps toward my daily goal of 12,000 that sent me down for the brush, not the desire to be a Good Shepherd and scrub out the trough.

Back to the Driveway Pasture. The broken mechanism shoots water horizontally into the trough, so I plugged into the water supply, expecting that to happen. Instead, something inside had shifted and the water shot 4 feet up into the air, landing outside the trough and drenching me. I shrieked in an un-farmer-like fashion, unhooked, tried to fix, couldn’t. 

I had no choice but to let the water shoot up like a geyser and catch it in a bucket. Windy day, by the way. Water everywhere, not much in the bucket. Spraying glistening in the sun, sheep grazing contentedly nearby, me sputtering in the middle of this geyser, feeling like an idiot, which, actually, I am.

Got soaked. Finally got the trough filled and unhooked the water supply. Stomped many steps back to the house. 

Good news: I passed 5000 steps before 10 am!

Bad news: I have to fight the geyser again tomorrow. And I ate so many pretzels that all those extra steps were for nothing….

6 Responses

  1. I’m guessing it was a wee bit on the chilly side for an outside shower first thing this morning, no? Never the less, you sure do write an amusing (to your readers) post! Hope you can get the tank water filler thingie fixed soon. Otherwise, you’re gonna run out of dry clothing. ;o}

  2. Mama Pea, here’s my plan. I leave tomorrow for a writing conference. On my way out the door, I’ll leave a note for Melissa:

    “Oh, BTW, float thingie is broken. Sheep will die of dehydration unless you fix while I am gone. Thanks!”

  3. It’s amazing how we can convince ourselves to do something so that we can reach a goal ie: 12,000 steps.
    Being a “new farmer”, of goats and alpacas, I cannot understand the whole poo thing with goats and sheep. They will starve to death or dehydrate because of the poo factor in their food or water. But, they will pee and poo all over a pasture and continue to nibble away?! I don’t get it! Thanks for the smile when I envisioned to dancing under your “new” sprinkler!

  4. You think that’s fun, try pigs, I had to take sheeps 100 gallon trough and give it to the pigs cause they kept dumping their water bucket, twice now right after dumping washing out the mud the pigs got in an peed in the clean water, not just one pig does this they both do. And I am not sure that is just mud in the bottom that I hosed out.

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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.


Occasional Newsletter

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.