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.