Le Ark has instructed me to blog about sheeps.    Specifically, about chasing sheep thieves around farm roads in the dead of night, armed with a shotgun.  This is a result of  Ark’s blog on encountering sheeps in his neck of suburbia and I just happened to comment, hence the instructions.  (Should have kept my mouth shut).

Perhaps a bit of background info is called for here.

At the time I was living on a gem of a farm, nestled between Kerkenberg Mountain and Sterkies dam, a mere kilometre or two from the Free State/Natal border and a twenty minute drive to our local watering hole, Little Switzerland hotel, a bit further down the pass in Natal.   Above is a borrowed photograph of the district.

On the night in question we had visitors from upcountry Johannesburg and had been wining and dining at Li’l  Switz, returning home in the early hours to encounter many many sheeps, running hither and thither along the dirt road leading up to the homestead.  Amidst the chaos was  a panel van whose owners were attempting to load with said  sheeps.   Outraged, our menfolk raced into the house, gathered up an arsenal of weapons and off we set in hot pursuit, me clutching a shotgun someone handed me and perched on the back of  a bakkie (pick up?) along with our startled and suddenly very sober visitors.  As it happened,  the shotgun I got wasn’t loaded ….. I checked when one of the visitor’s nerve broke and he shrieked “Will you PLEASE get that *******   thing out of my face!!!”.   He was over reacting – I am very very careful with firearms, particularly when swaying around in the back of a leaping, careering vehicle.

By the time we caught up with the stock thieves, our equivalent of ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ had been alerted, the van intercepted, sheeps rescued, bandits apprehended and not a shot was fired in anger or otherwise.   Like magic, crates of beer and vats of Obies  (Old Brown Sherry) appeared and all settled down in the veld to watch the sun rise over the dam and chew the fat with our neighbours.

One story I recall, told by the constables, who also turned up,  (God forbid they should miss a party) was about spotting three ‘drunks’, arm in arm, and staggering along a farm road.   On closer inspection, the ‘drunk’ in the middle turned out to be a kidnapped sheep, dressed for the part in a long coat and balaclava!   Not funny I know, but at 5 a.m and fuelled by Obies everything appears hilarious.    Poor little sheeps.

So there you are.   Just another fun filled weekend on the farm.

A word of warning for any readers who may think that theft is an economical way to stock up for Christmas – beware the ‘Neighbourhood watch’.   Brothers, fathers , sons and buddied  like nothing better than to cruise around all night keeping an eye on things.    Their guns are loaded, and generally speaking, so are they.



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19 Responses to Sheeps

  1. colonialist says:

    Are you sure you aren’t trying to pull the wool over our eyes with this yarn about sheeps passing in the night? 🙂
    Most entertaining!

  2. footsy2 says:

    On form today Col. 🙂

  3. adinparadise says:

    I always thought life on the farm would be quite boring. I can just imagine you as Shotgun Annie, waving your 12-gauge around. 🙂 Glad no shots were fired, and that the sheep could “safely graze,” once more.

  4. What an absolute of a hoot you must have had with all this, stuff memories are made of….

  5. footsy2 says:

    Hi Annie. I miss the Free State and find the memories a tad painful, But it was fun :-). Maybe I’ll do a series of blogs relating to that time. UK bores me to distraction and have nothing current to blog about 🙂

  6. Gunta says:

    Oh yes, please do the series. It sounds like it would be fun. Loved this episode you did. Sounds a bit like some of the stuff that comes out of our redneck sections of the country.

    • footsy2 says:

      Almost all South African farmers are descended from the original French and Dutch settlers who were escaping religious persecution – so they tend to be closer to your Armish than redneck – but our lot do know how to party. I was privileged to spend time on farms in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas and found the Southern folk very similar in outlook. :-). Reckon farmers the world over have much in common.

      • Gunta says:

        I would love to hear more of your adventures! It’s such fun to learn of how we are the same and some of the differences around the world. I’m currently reading the “44 Scotland Street” series by Alexander McCall Smith and loving it. It’s fun, light reading (great for bedtime) and set in Edinburgh.

  7. I loved you “sheeps” story. I think you should tell more farm stories 🙂

  8. Arkenaten says:

    See? Positive response from one and all.

    Their guns are loaded, and generally speaking, so are they.

    I suspect the stock thieves today may well have AK’s, right?
    There is always an “Outback”, Ned Kelly feel to such stories.
    I don’t know the name of an SA equivalent, but I’m sure there is one somewhere.

  9. I guess with all those sheep thieves lurking in the darkness, you’d have to be counting sheep all night! I love the image of the three drunks staggering along the farm road, with one of them turning out to be the sheep in the middle!

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