Some people bungey jump, others dive with sharks…here at the homestead we find our adrenaline rushes in other ways.
First you need a few pics to understand the story. Here is a picture of the stall we see when we first step through the barn door. It is our large sheep stall, and it has two gates into the birthing stalls. One of them is open in the picture, right by the dog, the other is closed to the right. And the door on the left to the barnyard is open during the day and closed at night.
Here is a picture from the other side of that stall, you see the birthing stalls, with that same big sheep stall to the left. The door we walk in is just to the left out of the picture.
Now, on to the story…
In the evening, before we eat dinner, we do barn chores. All the animals are closed into the coops and barns for safety overnight. Whichever goats/sheep are close to birthing or have just birthed are closed individually into the two birthing stalls, which are about 5x5ft. Since Gretchen’s kid died at birth, she has recently moved out of those stalls and back into the big stall with the sheep, and two of the sheep (Violet and Rianna) are each put into a birthing stall because they are due in the next 10 days or so. So we got the animals all closed in, Violet and Rianna each in a birthing stall, 3 sheep and Gretchen goat in the big sheep stall with Tundra the farm dog, and Heidi with her baby Fern in a stall that is not in any of these photos.
Later in the evening Mtn Man goes out to milk Gretchen and Heidi. It’s dark outside, but the barn light is still on. He walks into the barn and glances into the big stall and all he sees is Tundra sitting in the center of the stall wagging his tail at him. ALL the sheep and the goat are GONE! Sudden adrenaline rush!!! He says he had instant freaking out. Where the heck are the 3 sheep and the goat!?!?!? All the barn doors are closed and latched, the stall doors are all closed and latched, and yet the 3 sheep and goat are gone! Where did they go!?!?
Then all of a sudden he sees Gretchen goat pop her head up over the stall door that goes into the birthing stall. What!? Gretchen wasn’t put in the birthing stall!?!? He runs forward to get a view of the birthing stalls and he finds ALL 3 sheep PLUS Gretchen PLUS Violet (the sheep that was supposed to be in that stall) squeezed together stuck in the 5×5 birthing stall! 4 full grown ewes and a doe all packed into a 5×5 stall. They could barely move and were pushing and shoving each other around.
At this point the adrenaline rush gave way to hysterical laughter. I SO wish that Mtn Man had taken a photo for me to share with you all, but he was too busy trying to figure out how to get them out. Why? Because the birthing stall doors open INTO the birthing stall, so with them all cram jammed in there he couldn’t open the door to get them out! 🙂 So funny. He contemplated lifting the smallest ewe, Toffee, up and out and over the wall in order to make enough space to open the door, but he couldn’t figure out how to even fit in there with them to get her up and out. He shoved and wiggled and finally ooched them all around enough to crack the door enough for one to get out, and then the rest followed. It was like a clown car, or back in the day when college students crammed themselves into phone booths. It was crazy.
So….what happened? From what we can figure out Gretchen was unhappy to have been evicted from the birthing stall (where they get fed alfalfa and some grain as opposed to the grass hay fed in the main stall). So she somehow broke the latch and went into the birthing stall with Violet. Being that there was alfalfa in there the rest of the flock followed and somehow while they were all jostling around in there they got the door closed behind them. And then, since the door opens inward, they were stuck and couldn’t get back out.
Always an adventure!