My Husband the… Farmer on Call?

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is a new teacher. This is his first year working after completing his education degree last year. As is usual around here, he was hired as a teacher-on-call. We’re feeling very blessed and a little lucky that he is getting lots of work!

Today the Mr. did a half-day in a kindergarten classroom. I was working from home to keep an eye on the new puppy. When he arrived home at 2:30 I noticed that he took a little bit of time getting in to the house, but I was busy so I didn’t pay too much attention… until he came in to tell me this story! It made me laugh, and we can all use a good laugh, so I thought I’d share. For sake of forming a picture in your head, do keep in mind he was in his work clothes. He can write it better than I can, of course, so here it is in his words:

I pulled in to our driveway this evening after work and looked down towards the barn to see three sheep (two lambs and their mother) staring back at me as they wandered around idly on the driveway. There was no one else in sight, and so I went down to see if I could find someone. There were no farmers to be found, but inside the barn I found an old hockey stick leaning up against the wall by the steers’ enclosure. I’d seen a farmer coaxing a pig to move with a walking stick once and, I thought, a hockey stick does look a bit like a shepherd’s crook! So I grabbed it and walked back over to where the sheep were grazing. I never got close enough to them to use it as I had intended, because the minute they saw me coming they bolted and ran up the driveway toward our house. Apparently I’m much more intimidating when I’m carrying sports equipment.

I moved slowly toward them with the stick held out lengthwise in front of me so I could block them if they tried to get past me. They ran back toward the barn, but stopped outside it. The lambs moved in closer to their mother as she began looking around for an escape route from the crazy man with the stick. Apparently she wasn’t willing to give up her freedom just yet. I kept creeping closer though, crouched like a stalking predator and she finally relented and went in to the barn, the lambs trotting behind her. I went in after them and closed the sliding door behind me.

Now I had to figure out which pen they had come from, because they couldn’t be left free wandering around in there. I spotted an empty pen at the far end of the barn from me with the plywood used to block it knocked over. I figured that was theirs. The problem now was that the ewe and her lambs had moved to the opposite corner from their pen and were cowering in a corner with me…  in the way. They needed to go down a narrow run to get to their pen, and they wouldn’t move unless I chased them, but it seemed like me that the ewe, hefty as she was, might knock me over as she ran past. I didn’t relish the idea of being knocked on to the floor of a place where livestock are constantly relieving themselves. I went for it anyway, and to my relief I was able to move far enough over to let the ewe go by as she and her babies ran for their pen, their last hope of getting away from this crazy, scary man with a hockey stick. I propped the plywood back up and went home, the sheep staring at me in bewilderment as I left. I made sure to close the barn door tightly behind me as I left too, since I had no desire to match wits with any more sheep.

So there you go.

My husband the teacher, and occasionally, farmer-on-call. I guess there’s nothing like learning on the fly! And of course, every good FOC needs a dog who is acquainted with the sheep. Cora, on our little walks, has been startled by the noises they make (though she does like the horses). I thought it was probably a good time to get her used to them, so we all stood by the fence for a while. I think she… in fact, I think WE… are going to be just fine.


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