Each year, the new lamb crop has to learn some things. Not to dive through the Electronet. How to flip up the lid of the mineral feeder. Where all the gates lie, the routine of opening up the hotwire to a new graze, and how we move from place to place in orderly fashion. That people are generally good, and that hoof trimming only lasts a minute and is not a big deal. That the guardian dogs pose no threat and should be ignored. And that the border collies should be respected and obeyed.

This last one, I swear, each individual lamb has to test out for him- or herself just once.

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MaggieSometimes when I need to do a simple chore with one sheep, I’ll just take my crook down with me when I feed, and try to snag the single sheep with the crook while she’s eating. At those times, I prefer not to bring Maggie with me, as her presence anywhere on the property will make the sheep bunch up in anticipation of being moved. So if I want them to otherwise relax and eat, or spread out so I can look at them, she is not helpful to have around.

But often once I get down there and try to catch the wanted sheep, I can’t. You have one shot with a crook to get them, and once they know you’re after them, they are on guard and you don’t get a second chance. So that’s when I call up to the house on my cell phone, and ask Kirk to send Maggie down.

The first couple of times I did this, she was a little confused about the scenario. Usually we all go for walks together: the two humans and the two dogs. Kirk sending her out solo made her spin in front of the porch with a questioning look, until she heard me call her, then she’d shoot down to the field to assist. She can get from the house to the field in about 2.2 seconds if she knows there is sheep duty! She blasts down there, full throttle, squeezing under gates and sprinting in a frenzy to go right to work.

It didn’t take her long to figure out the pattern. From the window, she can see me in the field with the sheep. And I think she can see me struggle with the crook and not catch a sheep. She knows I need her help. And she is ready for the phone call.

So nowadays, Kirk says, when his phone rings in this instance, she perks up and goes to the door and looks back at him with expectation. She says, it’s for me, open the door. Open-mouthed smileClever border collie!

And here: here is household repair chore #2 for the week. Last week, we came home to the sound of our washing machine, a front-loader which sounds like a 747 engine when it’s on the spin cycle. Only, the washing machine wasn’t on. It was the furnace in the crawlspace. Going crazy with vibration. We had a good clue what might have caused this fan imbalance, because the night before, Maggie had declared, I removed the floor grate on the furnace air intake duct with my pawz, cuz I diagnose, der is a mowse in der! MaggieGrate

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Collar

I ordered Moses his own collar, and it arrived last week. I suppose this is one sign of permanency. He was wearing a collar from his former owners, along with a tag containing their phone number. Enough assurance that if he did somehow escape and got into the hands of a rescuer, that there would be traceability to someone who could retrieve him and take responsibility for him until what-to-do-next was sorted out. I was waiting to spend the $20 on a new collar until I was sure things would work out. Once he proved himself with the ram lambs, ordering the collar seemed logical.

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IceMakerf Our relatively new "French-door style refrigerator is awesome, and we love it. But it has a design flaw in the ice maker tray. You know how automatic ice makers have a wire thingy on a spring, so that when the ice level goes down, the wire thingy goes down, and this triggers a switch to make more ice?

Well, ours has one of those, of course. But when you pull open the drawer that has the ice bin, a few of the ice cubes on the top layer will hit the wire thingy and not come forward with the drawer. Instead they get knocked backwards and fall behind the drawer. They slide down the inside back of the freezer and shoot out from the bottom front just like coins from a slot machine! And the odds of winning are much better than at the casinos.

And this is where Maggie says, “that’s not a bug, that’s a feature!!!” 😀

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