Shepherd : 4 , alpacas : 0

For the last four afternoons in a row, I have let the alpacas into the front yard to graze. This was not something I did for pleasure, but because there is literally nothing green left in the back.

The alpacas in our small herd have been getting supplementary feeds but that stuff is dry, and they crave fresh, green stuff. With the back so bare, it seemed cruel not to let them graze on the half acre of green out the front. Remember that figure – half an acre.

So, about two hours ago I let the mongrels out the front and began my job as a shepherd. For comfort I had my Kindle, a cup of coffee, a deliriously happy dog and two wary cats. Oh and I also had a light, plastic rake.

Now, for a short description of my front yard. Unlike the back, the front has a gentle slope, and only drops by about a metre and a half over the 35 metres from the front gate to the carport. By Warrandyte standards this is almost flat, unless you’re walking up hill pulling the wheelie bins. Then it feels like Mt. Everest.

The house itself sits in a sort of flat ledge cut into the slope. To soften the site cut, I had a trench dug along the top and filled it with good soil. Into this trench I planted all the beautiful roses I had been carrying around from one rental property to another for the previous ten years.

Three of these roses are very special because three of my most beloved pets are buried beneath them.

Unfortunately, alpacas seem to have an obsession about roses, and my four Mongrels are no exception. I cannot take my eyes off them for more than a few minutes at a time because if I do, they casually browse closer and closer until they can reach the roses.

The Alpha Female is particularly cunning, and marshals the other three to distract me. While I’m chasing one of the other alpacas away from the rose bed, she saunters down and starts tucking in.

Knowing all this, I was prepared, and the Mongrels only managed to snatch the odd rose leaf. What I wasn’t prepared for was that the Alpha Female would learn my patterns of behaviour over just three days. Today, after letting them graze for an hour as usual, I began to round them up. Only this time they were not co-operating.

I think half of Warrandyte must have heard me screaming at the alpacas as I chased them round and round that 1/2 acre. I shudder to think what I must have looked like : grey haired old lady charging up and down, red in the face, yelling at the top of her voice,  and ineffectually waving a plastic rake around like a spear…

I got them into the back, finally, but it took an hour! Now I’m hot, sweaty and exhausted. And not at all happy. The only funny moment in this whole schmozzle was seeing Mogi darting around trying to herd the alpacas. Despite being a pint-sized chihuahua cross, she thinks she’s a sheep dog, and was in her element.

Needless to say the review I had planned for today’s post did not eventuate so you’ll have to make do with this one.

Now I’m off for a coffee, a sulk, and a long hot shower. But at least I saved the roses!

cheers

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

18 responses to “Shepherd : 4 , alpacas : 0

  • metan

    😀 I can just imagine the alpacas last night, plotting against you.:D
    Just as well you saved your precious roses today, but I hate to think what tricks they have in store for you tomorrow…. You’re gunna need a bigger rake 😉

    Like

    • acflory

      Hah! I’m going to think long and hard before they’re allowed back in the front again. I may just try to barricade them into a small, relatively untouched corner by the gate. Now where did I put that barbed wire and landmines?

      Like

      • metan

        Have you tried spraying the roses with a mix of chilli and water? Maybe they will back off if the first leaf melts their tongue…. Keep the bugs off too 😉

        Like

        • acflory

          Actually I did try that a few years ago but either the chilli wasn’t strong enough or they have strange taste buds because it barely slowed them down. 😦 And they seem to /like/ the taste of garlic.

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        • metan

          Bugger….. Sounds like you need some Blair’s Death Sauce! Jack likes the hot stuff too. Our other dogs have been stymied by tabasco spray but I bet she would just lick it up!
          Good luck with the minefield 😉

          Like

        • acflory

          lol – thanks. I’ve asked my neighbour about installing an electric fence, just around the roses.It may work out to be too expensive but I’d rather write than be a sheepdog. 😉

          Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    Ah such visions of you chasing them brandishing your weapon, a light plastic rake, my, you could have combed their hair for them if they had misbehaved.A rampaging little barber-Wow.

    Like

  • Jennifer

    Love that vision there and the above comments, pretty funny… Have fun over the next few days. 😉

    Like

  • jorobinson176

    Hilarious picturing the rake and the screaming! 😀

    Like

  • Candy Korman

    Now, will Mogi’s unexpected herding expertise inspire a new science fiction creature? I think so. There’s an expression about the impossibility of herding cats, maybe Mogi, a pint-sized dog, has the solution. Umm… something to think about.

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – the cats taught Mogi almost everything she knows. She’s a cat-pecked dog, no mistake. This herding instinct really did take me by surprise. I may have to create a new creature for Vokhtah. 😀

      Like

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    lol. Meeka 0, alpacas – 1. Too bad one of the dogs isn’t a herder. I once had a German Shepherd that just naturally kept sheep, and even turkeys, herded together – even when they were supposed to be free to roam. And she had never been trained – at all – for this.

    Like

  • EllaDee

    I dispute your score. I’d call it a draw with the option of a re-match. For a single Mongrel you could use a hobble or tether but for 4… I guess you were a little outnumbered but you and Mogi put in a heroic effort. When you cut the roses back can you give the clippings to the Mongrels as a consolation prize?

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – Thank you, Mogi and I do feel quite valiant! I may, /may/ let the alpacas come in to prune the roses once they start getting ready for winter but until then I don’t want them to get any more ideas. 😀

      Like

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