Posted by: Talie Morrison | July 30, 2010

Sheep Ranching 102

I passed “Sheep Ranching 101” just fine – but class 102 has been a bit more difficult!

One of the last things Myles told me before he left was, “When you have “live stock”, you also have “dead stock”.   Yikes – surely NOT on my watch!   But when a sheep is ready to go to the “paddocks in heaven”, there isn’t much stopping her.   So what I have discovered, sometimes a sheep just won’t stand up – even when I pulled her onto her feet, she just collapses back down into a sitting position.  (I knew something was “up” when Poppy went up to her and licked her in the face and she didn’t move!)

She just won't get up!

I tried everything to “prop” her up.   I used a “cloth” sling  (hey it is “trial and error” here) which I tied into a nearby tree – nope.   I tried a couple of boards that I propped on top of an old chair and some blocks of wood – nope.   Hum….     I would let her rest, and then try again – nope.   So when Jo (Myles and Margaret’s daughter) came out to say “hi”, she and I put Ms. Sheep into a wheelbarrow and carted her back to the shelter of the hay shed.  Poor sheep, it was very embarrassing to be upside down in a wheelbarrow (but she didn’t even complain).    For 6 days, I cut grass and put it in front of her (she is still sitting all this time) and put water next to her.   She would just sit there and look around, but I couldn’t get her to get up.   While this is going on, ANOTHER sheep out in the paddock sits down and won’t get up!   Yikes!  I decided to leave this sheep in the paddock and see if she did any better.   She had grass all around her (but she wouldn’t eat it), and I put water next to her.   So what did my little experiment prove?   The sheep in the paddock died 7 hours before the sheep next to the hay shed. There were multiple phone calls and emails back and forth between Myles and me (they were in England during all this time).   Myles says that some of the sheep are old, and they just can’t handle the physical stress of being pregnant and producing lambs.   They just sit down and die.   Well, I am a believer of that now…   Ah, the learning curve on being a sheep rancher is not always a smooth ride!

All those lovely green hedges in the summer, loose their leaves in the winter!

So other than dead sheep – all is well down here in New Zealand.   The days are getting just a little bit longer, and some of Margaret’s spring bulbs are starting to poke through the dirt.   On my walk yesterday, I saw my first Dandelions!    It still goes down into the 20s (Farenheit) when it is clear, but when it is cloudy it is not so cold.

My friend, Dianne, from Auckland will be coming down to visit tomorrow (7/31).   So I have lots of hikes and fun stuff planned for her visit.   We are even taking a train through the Southern Alps to the West Coast and then back again.   Hope for a clear day on Wednesday!!   And then the day she leaves (Aug 6), Myles and Margaret return.   That’s when the real fun will start – LAMBING!   🙂

Here are more photos – visions of New Zealand in winter – Now WHY would I take a photo of a rainy day?   NOT!   So all my photos seem to be on sunny days!  🙂

School kids performing downtown in Christchurch

Forests that grow in rows? Tree farming in the hills!

Hiking the Bridle Path down to Lyttleton

The Southern Alps from above Christchurch

Poppy - Sheep Dog Extrordinaire!

Another beautiful day for a hike (notice I AM wearing my down vest!



  1. Thank you for sharing Talie 🙂 xoxoxo Mel

  2. That was a sad but interesting story Talie. Thanks for keeping us all up to date on your adventures.

    We have just hiked the Juan de Fuca trail and now we are off to hike Forbidden Plateau. We expect some snow to still be on the ground there.

    Take care! Judy

  3. dearest Takie, so nice to finally get into this blog so I can hear your tales and share with you.
    you are a good writer and I am loving the writen word.
    since our summers here in cb are so short, I have been relishing mine and this weekend it is already arts fair.
    I will continue to enjoy your words.
    thinking of you
    love andrea heller

  4. This is one of my favorites so far, Brody

  5. Talie,

    We have been enjoying your blogs. You will have to get yourself another badge to wear, from down under. “Sheep herder extrodinaire”

    Tim announced on Sunday that Langdon had passed on. A blessing for him, I am sure. We assume that you are not coming back here for the service, any time soon. Perhaps the service will be postponed until your arrival. He is pure positive energy now. A good thought… I am on my way to SMB and will pass the word on. You may get some vibes from us…

    Thinking of you often,

    Parry and Bob

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