I moved the sheep today uphill today, in preparation for possible flooding. The National Weather Service has been doing a big press push to notify everyone of almost certain “major” flooding in our valley, since Friday. The flood gauges have been climbing slowly, but it’s not clear if we will flood for sure, when it’ll happen, or if it will be “major.” But they are saying that there is a lot of rainwater and snowmelt headed our way from the mountains, plus more rain here. So, in any case, I am ready.

Moving the livestock went really well this time. I kicked the sheep into “the channel” and locked the LGDs behind in the pasture. The llama had a moment of indecision about this maneuver, and I had visions of her doing another little swim like she did in 2008. But with some careful maneuvering of the sheep group using good ol’ Maggie, and giving the llama some time to think, she eventually joined them. Once she’s in there, I can attach a long line to the fence at her chest height, and slowly back her into a corner and grab her dog collar. Llamas and Alpacas, as clever as they are, have a “dumb spot” in their brains that prevents them from realizing that they can easily dive under a thin, chest-height long line.  Open-mouthed smile I haltered her up and away we went.

She gave me some trouble at a muddy spot, she doesn’t like unsure footing. But I was able to drag her through it. I penned the sheep in their Electronet enclosure up top. The exercise only took a few minutes.

I led the two LGDs up on leashes- boy, it’s nice now that Bronte can reasonably walk on a leash. She had a trauma going over the 4’ wide foot bridge, but another tugging session solved that. Then they both drug me up the hill to join the sheep like they knew what they were doing. They seem reasonably accepting of their new location, and respectful of the 3’ tall hotwire. They seem to feel that as long as everyone is together, wherever they are is fine.

It took me another couple of hours of ATV and tractor trips down to the field to gather up all the stuff- water troughs, mineral feeders, grain troughs, garden hoses, dog houses, and metal garbage cans that hold feed. I had more stuff down there than was needed, which , of course, I regretted today. But it is done, I am ready. Now we’ll see if it really floods!

Originally they were saying dike overtopping by 1pm today, then later, 6pm. Now the graph implies that 9am tomorrow morning, the river will crest. But at 29.28 feet, that is a skosh shy of overtopping the dikes near us. So we may miss it by a hair. But it pays to be ready, in any case. Moving sheep in the dark is hectic, so I’m glad to have it done in plenty of time.

Snohomish River at Snohomish