" Eye ^didn't do it!"
Note: there are no photos of the actual event in question, because at the time, this shepherdess was too busy thinking of new curse words to supplement the ones already in free-fall from her mouth....seriously, I think I heard a collective gasp, and felt the warmth of the blushing faces from the truck-drivers at the Iowa 80 Truckstop 12 miles down the road.
When I went out to feed my lovely flock this morning, I was already in a less than jovial mood. It was already hot and sticky, and I was thinking about all that had to be done to get ready for tomorrow's farmers' market. I was also dreading the possibility that we might be dealing with some flooding in the downtown area where the market is held because the towns North of us, along the Mississippi River, got about 15 inches of rain on Wednesday, sending a deluge of water down river. In addition there are two major events going on downtown this weekend, which will make parking a nightmare. So, while my mind was aflutter with deciding whether or not I wanted to even bother going to market, something caught my eye. I saw several chickens wandering around the horse pasture, and then my attention was drawn to a few more chickens in the sheep pasture. I immediately panicked, thinking that some predator had gotten through the chicken fence and had scattered the frightened chickens. As I rushed to the gate, expecting to find chicken carnage all over the place, I was greeted by several of my sheepie friends....IN the chicken run. Yup, it was better than chicken carnage, but still, this couldn't possibly be a good thing.
There is a gate between the sheep pasture and the chicken run, to which we have been intending to add a more secure latch....intending to...for months. Somehow my crafty little fuzz-butts opened said gate and had gotten into the chicken run. Upon discovery of this troubling situation, my first thought was for the safety of the sheep. Was there anything they could have gotten into that might have harmed them? Did anyone get stuck in a fence, or the chicken coop? Then as I surveyed the area, my concern for my little ovine friends turned to shear anger ( this is where the bad words came in..I will spare you the particulars).
First I noticed something different about my Honey Crisp apple tree. I planted the tree three years ago in the chicken run to help shade the chicken coop and allow the chickens to eat the windfall apples that I couldn't use. Something was strange, the tree was looking all shiny. Now, normally I am drawn to shiny things so, of course, this captured my attention. What I was seeing was the shiny trunk, devoid of any bark.
At first glance, you might think, as I did, that this doesn't look so bad.
But, upon closer inspection....no bark, all the way around, as high as my little darlings could reach.
As if this weren't bad enough, they did the same thing to a newly-planted Cleveland Pear....a tree that I have been carrying buckets of water to, every day, during our drought, in 120+ heat index.
....and they ate a Pussy Willow all the way to the ground. Side-note; Apparently chicken wire fencing only works for chickens.
The Pussy Willow should be find, but the trees will die. The bark brings the nutrients, gathered by the leaves during photosynthesis, down to the roots to feed it, so without the bark, the trees will starve. Now I am going to have to find some replacement trees, at the end of the season, while the garden center's stock is all depleted...and carry buckets of water to the new trees. D@mn sheep!
They also discovered a tasty treat in the chicken coop. I have been buying these mineral blocks for my chickens and I really like them. I just bought this block the day before this incident, and I was going to mention how well I like them in one of my chicken-related posts, but I guess the sheep can tell you how wonderful they are, they have reviewed them, and they give them two enthusiastic thumbs, or hooves, up.
I fed and watered my woolly, little, tree-killing sheepies this morning, but I am ignoring them for now, until I am less angry. I guess I should be mad at myself. Rest assured, that new latch is going on the gate this weekend for sure!
" What do you mean, 'it was my job to watch the sheep?' They told me they were going to surprise you by pruning your trees for you!"