In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shepherding day

The shepherds came on the island again this week. They wanted to de-worm the sheep for a second time to increase their chances of staying healthy and strong. We asked if they needed any help gathering the sheep from the lighthouse. "Sure," they said. So we set off from the lighthouse with about forty ewes and lambs.
At first the sheep tried to run off into the woods. But once they had been gathered, we walked behind them and beside them to prevent them from leaving the rocky shoreline.
Their other option was the deep blue sea.
The border collies did most of the work, and the d'Entremonts, Mary
and LeRoy. Greg and Blake walked behind the flock. The rest of us walked beside them. Mostly the whole walk was calm. We stopped to rest a few times.
The rests were for the sheep. They were working hard to walk along the rocks for so long, in the bright sun. The shepherds enjoyed the rests too. The sheep were quite sneaky. Every once in a while a ewe and her lamb would quietly attempt to run for it.
But the dogs were on top of the situation.
Mary and LeRoy's daughter Anna is a terrific shepherd.
Anna took this picture of Mike Andre and Amanda Huron, two shepherds visiting from Washington DC.
Anna took Blake's picture, too. Blake's grandfather owned sheep on the island back when he was the lighthouse keeper. So Blake is following a family tradition.
Even when the dogs are resting they never take their attention from the sheep.
The flock is almost to the corral now.
The tide was quite high when we finally arrived at the corral. The flock did not want to cross through that water. They hemmed and they hawed. They looked for alternative routes, and one feisty lamb made a serious break for freedom. Finally one or two of the ewes set off through the water, with LeRoy's encouragement. Then the others followed.
They seemed relieved to join the rest of the flock inside the corral after their long journey.
Us too.

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