As a 4-H student we were encouraged to have several 4H “projects” each year. In addition to raising chickens and selling them as fryers and learning how to sew so I could make a sale for my old town canoe (using “lee boards”). I was studying electricity. Another project was raising sheep.
It seemed easy enough to buy a baby lamb and bottle feed it until it gets old enough to eat on it’s own. I bought a big one-hundred pound sack of lamb food. That’s a pretty heavy sack that my dad helped me get it out of the station wagon over to the lab shed. I would feed them every day and make sure they have plenty of water. Pretty soon I had a lamb big enough to take to the 4-H show at the county fairgrounds or at least that was the plan.
One day I went out to see the lambs and they were gone. There was a dead one out in the yard. It was pretty upsetting, but my dad helped me figure out that there was a pack of wild dogs that came around that’s how the Lamb’s got killed.
So I started out all over again and got another lamb, but of course I had to figure out how to prevent the dogs from bothering the sheep. I came up with closing off the shed and putting up a gate so that I could lock up the sheep at night and keep them safe from the pack of dogs. We lived on a 3 ½ acre flower fire outside of Fresno mostly surrounded by large fields of grass and not too much else.
So now I had a shed with a lock. I really didn’t want to get up early every day to let them out but I would hear them going baaah baaaa out there and I knew that they wanted out.
I made a spring loaded release for the gate. I ran a long pull wire from the gate release up to the second story window of my room. That way I could let the sheep out of the pen without having to get up early and get dressed and put on my shoes and go outside.
This worked pretty well and I raised a few sheep in a typical fashion on a farm in Fresno in the years around 1957.
© 2014 John Alan Peters